Oribe Campaign Star Sandy Poirier Brings Fearless Style To The Beauty Business
By: Ellen Marth
To think outside the box, you need to live outside the box. At least that’s the mantra for Sandy Poirier, owner of Boston’s Shag Salon and the first of four stars of Oribe Hair Care’s new campaign. That’s why his interests extend far beyond the salon. He’s also a photographer, a DJ, a motorcycle enthusiast and all-around Renaissance man, and a friend of Oribe Hair Care. “Sandy has a unique, one-off hairdressing perspective,” says Oribe Co-President Daniel Kaner. “He has distinguished himself through his love of hairdressing, his fearless style and his pure forms of self-expression. He is a champion of our craft and has an infectious spirit…he is Oribe Hair Care personified.”
As one would expect from Sandy, he has a rather unconventional approach to running a business, so we asked him to share some of his secrets to success.
You often talk about “out of the box” thinking. How would you define that?
For me it’s about being on the cutting edge not just with hair, but with all things in popular culture. I’ve always been a ground breaker. I had tattoos before they became mainstream. I’ve experienced a lot in my life, and I pull inspiration from those experiences.
Where would you advise stylists to find inspiration?
Go towards the creative fashion and culture magazines, not just the typical choices. Magazines like V, Hunger, and Flaunt cover what’s new and evolving in culture and fashion. I spend hundreds of dollars on magazines for the salon each month. Trends are very visual; something you need to experience with your eyes, not just by reading or listening. It’s a lot easier these days because of the internet. Sites like Pinterest are great for discovering new trends and also monitoring your clients’ interests.
Most of all, its homework! You can’t live in a bubble going from your home to your salon and back. Get out there and experience what’s going on in your city. A little effort goes a long way, and the ideas will start flowing.
Which “out of the box” ideas have worked the best for your salon?
For Shag, it’s about making it more than just a hair salon. I think of it as a factory—like Warhol’s creative studio in the ‘60s. Clients can fulfill any lifestyle need at the salon--music, culture, art, hair – it’s all here. The goal is to keep moving forward in an organic and vibrant way. For instance, some salons have the same imagery on the walls for years. That’s not going to motivate or inspire your stylists or your clients; you’ve got to keep changing it up.
Events have worked really well for us. You can host a cocktail party to launch a new product and bring in a guest DJ with a good following. It’ll get tons of new people in the door. Set up a photo shoot at the salon and post the images on your website. You should be constantly updating your website, blog, Facebook, etc. My website is www.shagboston.com. It’s a Wordpress site that I am able to manage myself. It keeps the stylists very inspired to be creative apart from their normal clients when they see that I’m updating it all the time with our imagery. We do everything in-house, from the photo shoots to updating the site.
Tell us about an idea that wound up being a learning experience rather than a big hit.
We had makeup in the salon and it didn’t really transfer well. When people come to Shag they come for a great cut and a great color. If someone wants to go to a great makeup store, they’ll go to MAC. Shag isn’t a department store. We specialize in what we are best at and anything else detracts from that focus. If you have a market for makeup that’s great, but you need to make sure you are devoting space. Create a special area or annex of the salon that focuses on that part of the business because if something looks and feels like an afterthought, it’s not going to work.
How did your relationship with Oribe come about?
I know Oribe from working in New York City years ago. I was always a big fan and followed his career. As soon as I found out he was launching a line, I called him up and got it in the salon. It’s a case where I was doing my homework, following him in magazines and I knew this was going to be a big thing. It totally paid off.
I hadn’t been to a hair show for a long time until three years ago when I went to an Oribe event. I was very impressed; it was entertaining, fresh and vibrant. Every part of the presentation was outstanding-- the models, the videos, the music. It was the first time in a while that I was really inspired by a brand.
Get To Know Sandy
Which super power do you wish you had?
The ability to read minds. I’m pretty good at reading people and anticipating what they’re going to say but that would be a great advantage.
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Fruits and veggies. I’ve been on a big health kick.
Are you a lover or a fighter?
Lover. People think I’m a fighter because of the way I look but don’t judge a book by its cover.
The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
Both. The Beatles for John Lennon and The Rolling Stones for Keith Richards
Mac or PC?
Mac. I have five! People always laugh when they come to my house; I’m a Mac junkie. A ‘Macophile’, if you will!
Who gives you advice?
My best friend, Edward King. He owns Big Night Entertainment- they own a lot of high end clubs and restaurants in Boston. I always try to surround myself with people where there is an exchange of ideas and creativity.
Which trend do you hate the most?
The fake, plastic, Hollywood persona. All these girls with the big hair extensions want to look like Kim Kardashian. They don’t understand someone like her spends hours in hair and makeup. It’s not real.
If someone wrote your biography about you, what would it be called?
Shag or Die
When was the moment you realized you made it?”
When I decided to get ‘Shag’ tattooed on my wrist! Another moment was when I had to tell my receptionist to start taking messages for me. I do a lot of TV and magazines, and the more that you do, the more people ask of you. You have to weed out who/what you want to spend your time on and lend your name to.
What is something few people know about you?
I used to be an altar boy.
Click here to watch Oribe's video interview with Sandy!
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