At the Beauty Envision Awards 2021, the opinion that was repeatedly shared among attendees, judges and organizers was “We’re just so happy to be together again.”
This idea of connectivity among stylists is one that Wella Company CEO, Annie Young-Scrivner applauded the professional beauty industry for. “If we came together to overcome this, we can overcome anything,” she enthused.
Beauty Launchpad caught up with Young-Scrivner to discusses the COVID-19 industry standards that will become commonplace, how Wella Company is tackling sustainability and the marketing changes that will help bring more clients through your salon door.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): As we slowly begin to emerge from the pandemic, the impact of COVID-19 is still evident in salons. What changes in consumer demand, as well as safety precautions, do you think will remain for the foreseeable future?
Annie Young-Scrivner (AYS): Safety will always be number one. The cleanliness has been amped up everywhere and that will continue. Depending on where you are in the country, the social distancing could have different rules as well. I think that all of these precautions are good for the industry.
What will also remain is digital technology in terms of connectivity. Today, what we are seeing are things in real-time. We're recording content so people across the globe can experience it as well. With technology, things are going to change faster because the world is so much smaller. This means that trends, innovation and ideas grow much faster.
BLP: There is a growing need for businesses of all sizes to become more environmentally friendly. What is Wella Company currently doing in this area?
AYS: Wella Company has done a materiality assessment, which is when external experts come in and perform an assessment on where a company is at and how it can get to a path with net-zero green gas. We are very focused on that.
Another focal point is on water, because, for the salon industry, it's not just about putting less water in our products to determine the weight, it's about the products' rinsability, too. What Wella Company is asking is "How do we partner with salons to ensure that we are saving water?"
The last part of our focus is on product packaging, specifically with recyclability and upcycling.
BLP: In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that hairstylists and salon owners are currently facing? How is Wella Company helping to address it?
AYS: The biggest challenge at the moment is getting clients back into the salon. Communicating the safety portion is really important, but also inspiring people to come back in. One of the things that we, as a company, have not done a good job of is helping to direct people back into the salons. In the United States, Wella has always focused 100 percent of its communication directly to the professional versus directly to the consumer. It's different in Japan and Brazil where Wella advertises looks, which helps to bounce people back into the salon. During the pandemic, I was talking to salon owners and stylists and asked if this approach is helpful. Absolutely. So we're changing and working with hairdressers to do more of that.
BLP: Though it has been a challenging year and a half, what positives have come out of the pandemic for the professional hair community?
AYS: The industry has recognized its resiliency; that's really powerful. If you can't connect physically, the digital environment helps to trade ideas and have important dialogues. It really has been a digital transformation. The new world that we live in will be more of a hybrid world of the digital and physical.