Long-time employee of Wahl Clipper Corporation Bo Langley passed away on January 31, 2015. He was 67. He is admired and remembered by the 2,500 members of the Wahl Clipper Corporation Family.
Mr. Langley was a member of the Wahl Clipper family for 17 years before retiring last May. He spent most of that time as the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Professional Division at Wahl. In 2012, he relocated to South Carolina where he handled Kayline by Wahl, as well as the Wahl 5-Star Series and the company’s Mexico distribution.
“He looked forward to putting his feet up and relaxing in South Carolina,” said Jim Wahl, Executive Vice President, Wahl Clipper Corporation. “We let him do it two years earlier which turned out to be a Godsend.”
Langley and Wahl met in 1997 when Wahl was looking for someone to help with marketing. Wahl called Bennie Lowery, the Vice President of Sally Beauty and said, “I’m looking for somebody to handle a little bit of sales, but mainly internal marketing. Do you have anybody in mind?”
Heading north from Texas was Langley. He was a teddy bear of a man, with a southern drawl, who used to be a judge in Atlanta. It may have seemed unlikely on the surface, but Langley quickly proved to be a perfect fit for Wahl’s company, and being new to the clipper industry, he brought revolutionary thinking.
“He just had so many great ideas,” Wahl said. “He studied law. He ran a beauty store. He spoke several languages. But when he got into a product that he hadn’t worked with before, his creative juices went wild and he was just excellent. When you get into something new, you don’t realize what can’t be done, so you do it. He had a dozen or more patents. He was proud to put those little Einstein stickers all over his office. The engineers loved him because he was so creative.”
Langley was hired for the job of internal marketing, but was given license to explore. As a result, he made huge contributions that accelerated Wahl Clipper Corporation into its current position of prominence in the industry.
Langley pioneered Wahl’s 5-Star line of ethnic-oriented barber products, including the introduction of ultra-close-cutting trimmers like the Detailer and the Hero. During the past two years, one of Langley’s jobs was to grow the 5-Star line. He communicated with stylists through social media, and created buzz about how to use the products.
Langley had a keen focus on clipper blade innovation throughout his career and was instrumental in patenting Wahl’s 6x0 blade on its Balding Clipper, which boosted sales of Wahl’s zero-overlap surgical blades on several units. He also recognized crossover appeal and began to repackage products marketed to barbers for hair stylists. Langley would even disassemble Wahl clippers in his spare time to find ways to improve the designs or develop a new tool. “He’d be so psyched about clippers he would go home and take clippers apart in the garage,” Wahl said. “He loved getting his hands on things.”
Before retiring, Langley helped recruit Jim Wahl’s son, Lance, into the business. Langley took Lance under his wing. He mentored him on everything he knew about the industry, including the importance of personal relationships and always being yourself with customers. “I learned a great deal from Bo on how to read people and help them with their goals, but at the same time always keep Wahl's best interests first and foremost,” said Lance Wahl, Director of Sales and Marketing, Wahl Clipper Corporation Professional Division. “He was very competitive and knew how to repackage old school concepts into a new marketing approach. Even though he could play the role of a good ole boy, he was one of the most intelligent and sharp-witted people I knew.”
In addition to all the ideas, Langley was also blessed with the “gift of gab.” He could strike up a good conversation with anyone and treated everyone with respect. Friends joked that even his competitors couldn’t help but like him even if he was stealing sales away.
Langley excelled at whatever he did. Rising from lawyer to judge, and climbing the ladder at such companies as Belson Products, Save-Way Beauty Supply and Wahl Clipper Corporation.
“I had breakfast with him almost every morning for fifteen years. He was my best friend,” said Jim Wahl. “He had so much potential. The life he lived, he lived 67 years of burning the candle at both ends. It would have taken the rest of us 134 years to do what he did. He was that good.”
Langley is survived by his wife, Michelle, five children and 6 grandchildren.