From content creation to the basics of connection Original&Mineral hit some of New Zealand’s coolest salons to impart skills and a culture of a clean salon community, sharing stories and the love for 0&M in an engaging and collective environment, writes Cameron Pine.  

Having more than doubled salon business from 2018 to 2019, Original&Mineral is on a significant trajectory, since having pioneered Clean Colour Technology (CCT) almost 7 years ago, founder Jose Bryce Smith says salons are more than ever taking note that hair colour is a health choice and a salon that is ammonia, PPD and resorcinol free is a desire that appeals to any customer whether by choice or by default.

“Health is the only wealth we have, no matter our success if we don’t have health we don’t have anything and this is what drives the Original&Mineral brand,” said Jose.

“New Zealand is an important country for Original&Mineral, with some of the best salons in the country in our tribe,” she said.

Ash Croker

Being stocked in some of New Zealand’s best salons and with a new distributor in partnership, Morph distribution, the purpose of the creative team that hit Auckland on November 24 and 25 was to hold a colour and styling workshop at top New Zealand salon Ryder, as well as engage over an intimate lunch with their leading New Zealand salon network.

“It was exciting to have our editorial ambassador Brad Mullins and our COR colour ambassador Ash Croker to meet the New Zealand network and share their creativity,” Jose said.

“The biggest thing for me personally is the connections I get. I love to meet hairdressers and to hear about their wellness journey and secrets to success,” Jose said.

Brad and Ash Croker took to the industry leading surrounds of Auckland salon Ryder, for a workshop that enlightened staff from both Ryder and Fabrik salon with a deeper insight into the advancement of Original&Mineral technology and proven techniques from colour to care and finishing.

Together Ash and Brad elevated both the hearts and minds of what it is that drives them in the industry and keeps them fresh from a technical perspective.

Owner of Fabrik, Jamie Dryden and Greg Murrell (Ryder salon owner) often share education and motivate each other’s salon despite the hour plus drive from Auckland to Hamilton separating their salon, the energy of transparency that lies within the heartfelt Original&Mineral brand has New Zealand as perhaps it’s greatest advocacy.

“The vibe of being in New Zealand and collaborating with Brad was a fun experience for me. We shared some of our signature looks, I focused on my freehand signature technique and I shared my love for Restore,” Ash said.

“In addition to my glossing tips and trips I loved the enthusiasm and energy from the salon staff wanting to learn more. Their energy was so welcoming, I can’t wait to go back,” Ash said.

“Through some styling and finishing tips they may not have seen before and pushing the limits of what we can achieve with Original&Mineral products as well as allow them to go home with some new tips on finishing hair,” Brad said. How to take the best pictures and capture the light also came into play – looking for salon fun with results and social media in the process.

Ebisu lunch

Over a significant 15 year journey and a culture of complete honesty, Jose has continued to persist above many challenges, including both several disaster stories with her first and second generations of Original&Mineral colour, staff that didn’t have her back and everything in between. She has always stayed true to the core values of the brand.

The real networking opportunity came in the form of a lunch where salon owners came together courtesy of Original&Mineral and Julie from Morph distribution – an exclusive by the water soiree at Auckland’s harbour precinct with guests enjoying a completely private dining experience elevated high above the water with food and catering from Ebisu restaurant’s kitchen.

Showing a recap of Original&Mineral over the last 12 months, an insight into the people that make the brand what it is and an early look into some 2020 new product developments Jose spoke of her recent new sense of freedom with Original&Mineral, since buying out her initial start-up investors and welcoming a new investor that is empowering Jose to continue to lead the brand in a stronger direction for 2020.

Jose Bryce-Smith, Ash Croker and Cameron Pine

“I believe it’s our mistakes that make us who we are. We learn from the mistakes and they form some of the biggest successes. After having a difficult few years where my CEO thought I was incapable of running the company and a challenging list of learning curves the brand has grown incredibly in the last 12 months and we will continue this growth into 2020,” Jose said.

An extremely humble leader that never forgets those who helped or the nuances along the way, Jose is genuinely blessed to have a loyal team with an assistant who started the brand with her 15 years ago still remaining – like any new business Jose admits, it took years before Original&Mineral could even pay her a wage.

“I’m now very excited that Julie is looking after us in New Zealand and to the rest of the team I thank you for all of your support – especially the salons, some of you who are here today, who stuck by us, with all the challenges when we were air freighting product across to you,” Jose said.

Bradley Mullins

“The brand is growing everywhere around the world. There is success but there is always more learning first. Thinking I could take chemicals out of hair colour and it could perform just like ammonia based hair colour was probably quite a large feat when I first started working on the reception of a hair salon 20 years ago – it has certainly been a very long journey to now,” she said. From reds that weren’t quite performing how they should to colours that weren’t covering grey – the end result now is one of accomplishment and persistence.

Following the lunch the next day Jose and Original&Mineral’s community manager Andrew Brown paid a visit to some of new Zealand’s other cool kids of the salon world, those that are leaders in everything from the zeitgeist to sustainability, including ASC salon, Stephen Marr, Commune salon and more.

It wouldn’t be an Original&Mineral trip without a heavy dose of laughs, with Jose and the crew privileged enough to share a seaside estate together (with private beach access, stunning views and a DNA as eclectic as the Original&Mineral army itself – coming together in a community environment is what Jose says makes both the Original&Mineral brand and the relationships between staff and salons something that remains very special to the hairdressing industry. Just like COR colour, it really is the balance that forms the core of the brand.

Since taking a team to New York Fashion Week in September and sharing a multi-level home in New York’s prestigious West Village, the brand is known for a culture of Originals that no doubt more of us want to be a part of. With dinners turning into open minded discussions about some of the next products and ideas to come, the heart of Original&Mineral remains inclusive and collaborative.

Ultimately for the Original&Mineral team and the greater industry, the New Zealand trip reinforced the belief that it’s still cool to do hair, especially in New Zealand, but most of all, that to be an Original is to be a connected human being with the right people by your side.

There’s only one Original.

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