We spoke to David Higgins, Managing Director, L’Oréal Professional Products Division Australia & New Zealand, about how the company has handled the difficulties of the last two years, and how it will continue to elevate the industry through 2022.
INSTYLE: How is L’Oréal PPD continuing to lead the industry?
David Higgins: L’Oréal Professional Products Australia is continuously striving to create the beauty that moves the world. Firstly, with brands; L’Oréal Professionnel, Kérastase, Redken, Pureology, Biolage, Matrix and Shu Uemura Art of Hair, we continue to lead our hairdressing industry with constant innovation, consumer education, creativity and support for our clients and consumers. This year, innovation was at the forefront for L’Oréal Professionnel providing the industry with a world first, Metal Detox. The patented technology detoxifies the hair by neutralising metals inside the fibre, to ensure 100 per cent reliable colour results. Redken continued to support their salons with the iconic ‘Do You Shades EQ?’ consumer education driver, with a major activation as haircare partner of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week.
L’Oréal Australia has also taken great responsibility in leading our industry in sustainability. ‘L’Oréal For The Future’ is our global mission for accelerating our transformation towards a model respecting planetary boundaries and reinforcing our commitments to both sustainability and inclusion. Within this mission, we will lead product developments to be environmentally sustainable, educating our salons on how they can be sustainable, ensuring all brand collaborations adhere to eco-design principles. We will demonstrate that companies can be part of the solution to some of today’s most pressing environmental and social challenges, contributing to change outside of their business.
IN: How has L’Oréal PPD supported salons and hairdressers specifically through the pandemic?
DH: The last two years have been some of the toughest for our hairdressing industry. With the global pandemic forcing businesses to close, re-evaluate and pivot in adversity, I wanted to ensure that our clients and consumers could rely on us and feel supported during these uncertain times. For businesses affected in those states faced by extended lockdown, L’Oréal Australia worked closely with our business owners to offer support where we could. The division made the conscious decision to extend credit terms with our clients, to ensure we can provide support for business owners when applicable. For our business and clients alike, the wellbeing of employees and mental health importance was a key priority throughout the pandemic. We provided upskilling on digital tools and techniques to help them keep connected with their clients and continue to promote their salon business.
With the world turning to virtual and digital learning, the launch of L’Oréal Access was a great initiative to ensure that all brands were able to connect with their clients and continue world class education trainings. With all facets of the business operating digitally, we continued to support salons with the introduction of the L’Oréal Digital Academy, which covers all things digital in a clear, simple, actionable way.
L’Oréal also wanted to provide the business support to anticipating re-opening protocols and managing the crazy rush of returning clients, as well as offer the opportunity to earn income by selling retail in lockdowns.
IN: How will L’Oréal continue to support salons through 2022?
DH: L’Oréal Australia last year began renovation to our Victorian Academy at the St Kilda Road Head Office. 2022 brings the Professional Products Division an exciting new academy space that will be truly unique to the industry and a hub for hairdressers across the country. It’s a world first innovation-driven space that will continue to raise the bar for education, digital innovation and eventing. 2022 will see even greater technical, business and digital education training – global and local content delivered through our education hub, and all education and salon brands will be animating bigger than ever to drive consumer traffic into salons!
IN: How has L’Oréal partnered with other parts of the industry, such as INSTYLE, to better the industry?
DH: INSTYLE Magazine has been at the core of hairdressing trade media for 35 years, supporting L’Oréal Professional Products in all aspects. PPD has had a wonderful relationship with INSTYLE through its inception to now 35 years strong. INSTYLE have remained a key partner in all brand activations, marketing campaigns, exclusive product news, events and media coverage.
With countless INSTYLE front covers, back covers and leading feature inclusions, the opportunity for our clients to work with INSTYLE and feature their craft in trade means a lot to our business. A few great examples of working together centre around our industry-lead activations such as L’Oréal Professionnel Colour Trophy, Matrix Collective, Redken’s Get Inspired and covering the anticipated return to Australian Fashion Week.
We support and collaborate with industry bodies such as the Australian Hairdressing Council, who strive to build a sustainable and thriving industry, which in the future can celebrate regulation that legislates quality standards of the profession. L’Oréal in other markets globally, are leading the evolution of higher education with university standard qualifications providing graduates with a career choice that marries the creative and the commercial skills needed to run a successful business. Our dream in Australia is to explore similar opportunities, so watch this space.
IN: What is the one strong message that L’Oréal wants to tell the market?
DH: Our partners are at the heart of everything we do. We continue to strive for revolutionary product innovation, industry first sustainability standards, consumer-centric campaigns and continuously pushing the industry, showcasing Australia’s best hairdressers.