Three days spent at Muk’s recent sales conference awakened us to the Muk movement, congregating like-minded individuals from all over the world to network, learn, discover new and enticing innovations from the brand and, most importantly, forge a family. As Muk grows, both in inventory and in global reach, it’s warm, family-first DNA remains intact, and the connections and ideas formed and shared at this conference are a big part of the reason why.

“The one thing I want everyone to take away from the conference wouldn’t be a product thing,” said brand owner Mark Gariglio, a major statement considering the wealth of launches on offer – more on that later. “In my ideal world I would hope everyone walked away from here with a real sense of belonging, and being part of a global community with a global extended family, that would be my dream. I know I have.”

The conference discussed the heart of sales, the difference between manipulating and inspiring a purchase and, significantly, having those sales come from the ‘why’ of the brand, born from a true belief in its ethos and purpose. The concept comes from Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ – which asks salespeople to, perhaps counter intuitively, pitch and sell first from the ‘why’ of their company, before expanding to it’s ‘how’ and ‘what’. As Simon says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

This ethos extended to the many launches for 2019, ushering in yet another dynamic era for Muk. Chief among these launches was the Vivid Muk range of 13 shades and a pastel clear tone, the result of which is infinite colour opportunities. This launch utilises ground-breaking micro-pigment technology for consistent, even hair, as made in a PETA approved, vegan, cruelty free manner.

This innovation wasn’t launched alone, it was released alongside inspiring creative materials as developed with hair colour and style stars Razor Dolls Salon and the inimitable Clive Allwright. With editorial material and technology to inspire, attendees learnt the practicalities of this new must-have range of hues.

“I think all the launches are strategically really important – they’ve been my babies, you usually carry babies for nine months, I’ve been carrying these as more like an elephant with the gestation period, I’ve been carrying some of these for 3 or 4 years in development,” Mark laughed. “The most challenging launch, from a technical standpoint, was Vivids, so that’s been the most personally satisfying.”

Continuing on with these bold innovations, Muk also released keratin products, by way of their Muk Keratin Smoothing Treatment Forte. The formula mirrors the Vivid colours in its use of micro-keratin technology, used to penetrate, restore and strengthen the hair, with renwed elasticity and equalised porosity for reduced breakage. The Keratin Smoothing Treatment Intensifier Forte can be used to top-up this treatment as an additional salon service and product category, and is entirely salon exclusive. The comprehensive smoothing system duo works by adding protein and keratin to the hair for any texture to tackle issues of frizz, humidity and more.

Three days of innovations finished with a major launch for the brand, an entrance into the men’s space with Mr Muk. The men’s care and styling products are decidedly modern and simple, with one luxe fragrance to the entire range and a suite of products that extend from style to a hair, beard and body wash all in one, with specialised shampoos and beard products as well. The newly added products make for a comprehensive range, monochromatically designed and offered exclusively to barbershops along – an important factor for the brand.

“The launch I’m most excited about conceptually is Mr Muk, that excites me because I believe we’re going to set a new benchmark in terms of commitment to the barber industry, and the offerings we are going to give them that will be exclusive and not for unisex salons or retailers,” Mark confirmed. “By doing that we are going to hold back market share, where generally the thought process of most companies is to create product and sell it to everyone that wants that, here we will be focusing on 30 per cent to give them something that’s just for them. That shows we do have a true commitment to that segment.”

This myriad of launches would be enough to fill any multi-day event, but the conference continued to go beyond just product – not matter how important that product may be. It persisted in educating the importance of not just successful sales, but valuable, truly good sales, born from the trust, likeability and humanity that may get lost in the modern age. This human factor extends out to salons and clients, but is also vital in the connections made within the brand as well, especially as it grows internationally. The conference treated guests from America, England, South Africa and so many other locales to Aussie hospitality.

“Internationally, we’ve aligned ourselves with a small but very select group of what we like to call our partners rather than our distributors, I think a distributor is someone you give product to and wish the best of luck,” Mark said. “The philosophy we’re embarking on is to create a synergistic marketing mission and strategy in terms of how we launch, implement and execute in each country.”

“The global strategy now is it’s a growing process, we started out as a company that just made product and gave it to distributors to do their thing,” he said. “What we’re doing now is that everything from online presence to marketing, imaging and branding, the perception we want is the reality, we want everyone to know that we are one global synergistic brand. What will be happening is that the benchmark for the model will be set high in terms of how we do things and with our education and support packages, that’s the benchmark that will be adopted and rolled out to each country.”

The brand is now in an interesting position, where it’s trying to manage what could become ‘the split’, another of Simon’s business concepts that speaks to companies losing their passion, energy and soul as they, ironically, become bigger and more successful. As growth is accelerated, employees and partners have to show up with the same enthusiasm and belief in the brand that pushed them out of bed in the initial stages. Muk is managing that phenomenon with a solid brand strategy, and events like this, that reminds their brand family why they’re all there in their first place.

“There’s the old saying ‘let he who shouts the loudest be heard first’. I don’t necessarily believe that. Our philosophy has been to work quietly and diligently and with pin point accuracy and focus 100 per cent on whatever we’re doing at the time,” Mark said. “I would hope and believe and what I know is that the industry would see us as someone who has flown under the radar for a few years, quietly working in creating great products. Our coming of age is when we launched colour, that probably came as a surprise for many in the industry.”

“I think what’s happened now is we’ve gone from being a casual brand, we’ve had a coming of age to where we are now considered a serious contender and a serious business proposition for a salon, and something salons do take quite seriously as a viable option when looking at a new brand or new colour,” he continued.

As Muk continues to make leaps from an intimate brand to an unstoppable international juggernaut, from contender to bona fide champion, its initial and pervasive DNA remains critical. Members of its brand family described this ethos at the conference as one that is big enough to support you but small enough to hear you, and with a mentality that if they can’t do something right – and better – they won’t do it at all. Next time you ask ‘why Muk?’… Well, that’s why.

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