Adelaide’s hottest new Haircare Australia Head Office attracted more than 250 guests with an opening party that fittingly celebrated a lifelong commitment by the Gauvin family to develop the best haircare distribution and product business in the country, writes Cameron Pine.
‘When Haircare do events they always do them well’, is commonly the resounding voice from many industry leaders who always feel forever valued by the Haircare Australia family – and Sunday night February 5 was no exception.
The hair affair began back in 1974 when Jan and Geoff saw an opportunity to launch a salon only wholesale business servicing just SA and NT alone – quickly growing to a portfolio of over 20 brands and expanding into other states. The well recognized company has now added a UK division to its distribution base and masters a clear brand vision – reflected throughout the custom built facility and it’s on-trend décor. Its Scandanavian design meets a distinctly pragmatic approach to the modern day working environment, infused with some quirky points.
One of their biggest success stories now is their own brand, Evo – the vision of the first of the three boys – Garth entering the business in 1999. All three sons (Brad, Ward and Garth), present and even some past Haircare Australia staff were in the festive spirit and notably proud of what they have achieved.
Flying in from New York where he looks after the international distribution side of the business, Brad opened the speeches by sincerely thanking clients for their part in supporting the Haircare Australia business along the way. “You, of course the staff, clients suppliers and a great spread of guests and friends, are the core foundations of the Haircare Australia business that have been firmly entrenched by Geoff and Jan who are of course the heart and soul of the business – inspiring Garth, Ward and I every step of the way,” Brad said.
“They have been extraordinary entrepreneurs and parents. It’s a unique and powerful partnership that complements everything we do. Geoff the consummate salesperson and Jan the passionate workhorse with a meticulous control of the purse strings, as a lot of people here would know.”
Family has always been the centerpiece of their lives and efforts – despite the impressive growth and size of the business, family still runs through its heart and soul. Strong partnerships and mutual growth strategies have allowed the Haircare Australia brand to flourish and become the top distributor in the world for various brands. In attendance on the night and all the way from Israel was the Morrocanoil CEO Haim Lampert, as well as John Costanza from Babyliss Canada as well as a host of other managers and partners from Sydney and afar is testament to Haircare Australia’s invaluable relationships in the industry.
“Every one of the suppliers are family run suppliers, many of the hairdressing salons are family run businesses and out of the 200 staff we have, 70 of them are hairdressers – we are like a big family,” Geoff said.
“Our three boys keep pushing our business along – they are really very motivated and the business today wouldn’t be where it is without all of us being in different areas of the business. Garth had the vision of creating this centre. We were operating out of about 6 different warehouses and it was a very hard business to operate,” he said.
The result was finding a block of land to build something from scratch right near the city – no easy feat for something as large as 4,500 square metres for just warehousing alone. This impressive facility consolidates a previous seven warehouses into one single site – 28 staff in the warehouse alone.
The facility has storage for approximately 2,400 pallets and approximately 6,200 picking locations – roof skylights have been incorporated into its design that assists in providing natural light. The offices also boast an improved workflow process and operational layout – standing tables and break out rooms all add to Haircare Australia’s ability to adapt.
There’s a certain cheekiness that pervades the Gauvin family, and a tongue in cheek Geoff, made particular note of this family dynamic throughout his speech – looking back to Jan who always has a word or three of her own to add to everything said. Collectively this is the heart and soul of a business the Gauvin family have put their lives into. There’s a story behind everything and an underlying current of going above and beyond – just down to their partners putting in the effort to find two blocks of land that included a smaller block owned by a man who collected a lot of scrap metal and seemingly a lot of cats. Bonding with him in order to convince him to sell, is just one example of the lengths the family went to for the facility.
“This state of the art facility is helping us to excel to a new level. Featuring 1,000 square metres of offices, 1,000 square metres of education and showroom facility on top of 4,500 square metres of warehouse space – featuring a warehouse management system, motorized conveyers, wireless barcode scanners, resulting in fewer mistakes, better lead times and much better customer service,” Garth said.
Over 190 orders are processed through the facility per day and their own brand, Evo is now in 35 countries and includes an international team of 15. All of Evo’s production, marketing and design is developed in Adelaide – still working with original design partner, James Brown from Mash design.
Haircare Australia managed to move a team of 100 staff, three warehouses and a cash and carry all in four weeks without one single day of closure. “There has been so many people that have supported our growth – the investment into this building is just one small way to give back – by creating a great work environment and state of the art training facilities for our clients. This building and our new corporate image represents 40 years of hard work and shows how serious we are about the hairdressing industry and the future direction of our company,” Garth said.
As Jan Gauvin re-affirmed they really just wanted everyone they’ve worked with and all people they’ve done business with to celebrate with them in their new facility. “We wanted to ensure that everyone who comes here sees the passion that we have and use this facility to really see what we are all about,” Jan said.
“With so much going on in the world and so much happening online, for us this will always be such an important part of our business – education and loving our industry is so important,” she said.
All guests were divided into coloured groups and taken on a tour through the office by various Haircare Australia staff – timelines from inception to now grace the walls and points of difference are in every corner from beanbags to an impressive boardroom – it really is every part the office of dreams. Beyond the restrictions of a traditional head office there’s even a staff games room kitted out with table tennis, a pool table and a dart board – just another reason for staff to engage in some lunchtime activities. Jan’s grandmother Ollie who gave Geoff and Jan the security against her house to start their first hairdressing business would no doubt be proud of what they have achieved today – a plaque on site is in memory of the company’s family ethos.
From a de Gauvin hairdressing salon to a facility as iconic as the brand – there’s no doubting that Haircare Australia is one of our industry’s greatest success stories.
For more information visit haircareaust.com
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