Once just a cult following of leading beauty editors and clients wanting a cleaner colour solution in a Paddington Sydney salon, Original&Mineral was ahead of the clean colour curve and has experienced healthy double digit growth even through a pandemic. We chat with O&M founder Jose Bryce Smith and their new team about this escalating success, writes Cameron Pine

Original&Mineral is now stocked in more than thirteen countries, while continuing to roll out further expansion plans to meet the demands of overseas distributors.  Complete transparency and a pioneering role in the ‘hair colour is a health choice’ tagline is no doubt reaping compounding rewards for the brand.  

We recently caught up with the newly structured team at O&M, experts in their areas and true rule breakers as well as pioneers of clean haircare. A purely Australian company that has weathered its ups and downs and remained on high on the radar in the hair industry for the last decade, the team have focused on expanding their reach and salon presence, while simultaneously making waves in luxury high-end retail with the likes of Net a Porter and Sephora.

For Jose and her love of the industry and hairdressers, the brand’s true success has come from offering salons a complete solution from colour, to care and retail – not to mention a constant onslaught of education and digital content.  The vast majority of O&M’s packaging is now recyclable, some products use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) packaging, and the brand has eliminated single-use plastics.

With a recently launched new website that heroes clean, kind luxury haircare, the Original&Mineral brand message has never been clearer – in an age where health is the new wealth and consumers are more conscious of consumption, asking for O&M is increasingly becoming the norm.

“Behind every successful brand is someone who is in love with it. I’m in love with this brand,” Jose said. “Our core has been to provide a healthy, environmentally friendly product within a chemically driven world, we will continue to blaze a trail in the green beauty space. Health and wellness are the heart of our brand and we see sustainability not so much as a challenge, but part of our evolution.”

“I know I may not seem like it but I’m actually a bit of a hippie – a tree hugging green loving hippie. I feel lucky to be doing what I’m doing, I’ve always been passionate about low-tox living and health is my number one value and hair colour and hair care is just my small area of the planet where I would like to make a difference,” she said.

O&M have come through the challenge of the last six months still in growth. Despite salon closures differing in each state, hairstylists have for the most part been deemed an essential service and O&M have stayed 100 per cent committed.  Jose was fast to react and put an action plan into place in March when everyone was first placed under restrictions. 

“Everybody reduced hours by 20 per cent which allowed us to maintain our full structure.  This meant that our entire sales team could keep in contact with and support our salon network.  We also setup a daily Zoom call to keep our teams connected and quickly converted our social channels to a wellness focus.  I was also in my backyard leading regular work out video calls to keep us all moving.”

With a decade-long partnership with their customer base serving as the backdrop, O&M is focused on pushing the boundaries of Clean Colour Technology and being a stalwart for the clean haircare movement. 

“Whilst we understand our salon customer’s number one priority is the product’s performance, we appreciate they now value products that will not compromise the health of themselves, their team or their clients. We want to give back to our professional customer by continuing to invest in innovative technology, research and development in clean hair products to ensure salons can offer the best beauty and professional experience for their clients,” Jose said.

O&M was one of the first haircare companies in the world to produce professional-grade ammonia, PPD and Resorcinol-free permanent hair colour – first launching CØR.color in 2013. It didn’t come without it’s challenges, some of which have taken years of evolution to iron out.  The brand is serious about low-chemical solutions for today’s conscious clients and committed stylists and CØR.color is both an answer to an industry-wide problem of increasing chemical sensitivity, as well as a compelling marketing story in a world where consumers are constantly on the lookout for ever-more effective and safe colour solutions.

There is a comprehensive range of grooming and styling products to support the CØR.color range  and although there have been delays in getting new products to market as most brands have experienced this year, there are exciting new developments pegged for early 2021.

“The biggest launch though for 2021 will be around sustainability and advancements with our packaging,” said Jose.

To support the growth ahead for O&M, Jose has restructured her leadership team.  Matthew Kilty has been appointed as head of International Business Development where he is focused on expanding on the 13 countries that O&M is currently distributed in.  Newly hired Aygun Sana hails from many years of hair experience now leads the local sales team in Australia as National Sales Manager.  Jose appointed a new COO, Jodie Matthews who comes from an extensive background with major beauty brands.   Alongside the Creative Director, Janelle Chaplin based in New York, Jodie is leading a dynamic new marketing team to provide support to the salon business and attract a new customer to the brand by powerfully telling the brand story.

“We have a number of marketing initiatives in progress to support our salon partners better, including a B2B website and additional brand assets to help salons market to their own customers and tell the O&M story,” Josie confirmed.

Tackling the challenges of 2020 and moving into their next phase with important technology, their crucial brand ethos and an impressive team, the future is bright for O&M.

For more information visit www.originalmineral.com.au