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Q&A: Robert Cromeans and Angus Mitchell

Son of legendary stylist Paul Mitchell, Angus Mitchell, and Paul Mitchell global artistic and business director, Robert Cromeans, were part of the stellar line-up of international industry icons who  attended  this year’s Hair Expo. Michelle Ruzzene catches up with the two larger than innovative entrepreneurs.

On trends

Robert: “Many of the people in the industry are looking for trends. There are trends happening in business too. There’s disruption in America.  Right now in the US 70 percent of hair stylists are freelance working. There’s no receptionist, there’s no front desk – it’s a game changer.  A lot of that’s to do with Instagram and transparency. Kids today don’t want to work 60 hours a week – they want to work 32 hours maximum, sometimes less. It’s fewer clients, with more flexible hours.”

Angus Mitchell

On customer service

Robert:  “It’s a case of us lifting up and getting to the people side of what we do as well as the technical side. Customers expect a good haircut, what they don’t expect is the’ wow’. Our shampoo treatment, what we do in the sink, we call it ‘sex in the sinky’. To me that’s the wow. It’s just one of the things that’ll just stop people in their tracks. In the UK they call it a backwash – who wants a backwash? It sounds disgusting.”

Angus: “Rose Gold, Lavender and Silver are the new launches that make up the Demi Muted Metallic Collection from Paul Mitchell. When it was launched in Australia in May it sold out in two weeks. We had to air ship more product in for Hair Expo. It’s selling like hot cakes.”

Robert: “Our industry resisted technology. When you first said ‘Here’s a computer’ no hair salon wanted to bring in a computer because that was going to create visibility through their business, until the invention of the iPad. Suddenly they went from being resistant to starting to catch on to the benefits to data.  In my salons we’re ripping out the desks, if we did better at making future reservations you wouldn’t need to use the phone so much. People want to book 24/7 we’ve just got to open up our mind to what technology can do for you.”

Robert Cromeans

On MITCH

Angus: “MITCH from Paul Mitchell, launched in 2011, includes styling products, shampoos, conditioners and more specifically for men. It’s been going fantastic, we’ve been growing consistently and it’s the whole men’s market is this booming market right now. There’s more frequency of men visiting the barber shop than there is women going to the hair salon.”

On social media

Robert:  “Now people are realising you could be rockstar hairdresser – there’s value in unicorn hair. Barbers were dying out before Instagram – now they’re has been this incredible emergence of their trade because of social media. It’s the most exciting time I’ve ever seen. When I was a kid you actually had to go and watch someone like Paul Mitchell live. These days you can see the best talent from all over the world on your phone. It’s incredible and it’s quite humbling.”

On men

Robert: “Men are very loyal customers because they’re very habit-forming and they’re also the most undersold to.  If you give them knowledge and you go that extra step they will be loyal and they’ll do whatever you tell them. Women are a little more exposed to education so a little more sceptical, they’ve been sold to a lot more than men.”

On barbers

Angus:  “We have a lot of barbers, through MITCH and our school we’ve really developed a great barber pool we’ve got some very skilled people. I find it very exciting. It’s not just to cater to the barber thing; it’s to help hairdressers get over their fear of barbering. There’s a fear factor and what hairdressers need to do is get over it through getting education.”

On lifestyle

Robert:  “A lot of people want to get into the industry because they see the lifestyle of a hairdresser and it appeals to them. A doctor doesn’t decide he loves medicine and become a doctor, he sees the lifestyle of a doctor and says ‘I want to do that’ even before he understands what it means. As a young kid when I saw the lifestyle of a hairdresser I wanted to do what they did. Paul Mitchell had a great lifestyle.”

On culture

Robert: “It’s important that not only are you enjoying what you do but the whole team has a got a culture to it. One of the things we bring is a big culture point of view of how we think about things and how we work as a team.”

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