How Does Oribe’s Purchase by Kao Affect You?
With the Dec. 20 news of Kao acquiring Oribe Hair Care, BTC had of questions—how does this acquisition affect salon owners and hairdressers? How will Oribe and Kao Salon Division brands (including Goldwell and KMS) evolve? BTC’s Mary Rector-Gable chatted with Daniel Kaner, co-founder and current co-president of Oribe Hair Care (who will be president of Oribe at Kao); Cory Couts, Global President, Kao Salon Divison; Tevya Finger, CEO of Luxury Brand Partners (LBP) and Dan Langer, LBP Chief Marketing Officer. Here’s everything you need to know about this major news.
The Oribe-Goldwell alliance has been a long-term relationship.
Oribe and Goldwell have been dating for a while. “This is a relationship that goes back to 2011—we are a group of people that have shared values in regards to the professional community,” Daniel said. “We’ve worked together these last three years with Goldwell and its North American team, and we’ve built a strong relationship, which started out as an educational alliance that added a color perspective to our already robust educational offerings. Color is a critical part of the salon’s overall revenue. We have become well acquainted by working together on the road—the Oribe-Kao alliance is a strong match that will benefit our salons.
Adds Cory, “We’re very excited because Oribe is a brilliant brand that has tremendous momentum in the marketplace. It’s a perfect fit for us when it comes to mindset and obsession with great products that fits our portfolio very well.”
And that relationship continues to grow strong.
“We’re so excited about Oribe joining Kao,” Dan Langer of LBP shared. “Kao is the right home for the company culturally and their approach to salons and products is perfectly aligned with Oribe. Everyone that has contributed to the brand is very proud of what has been accomplished, and we are eager to see what these two great brands can accomplish together.”
Salon owners and hairdressers remain the backbone of the Oribe and Kao brands.
“We see a dynamic future for the salon community. There are very few opportunities to engage with customers at this level, and our community provides a valuable service that is difficult to replicate. The union between the two companies has been very well thought out,” Daniel said. “It’s a positive alignment that places our customers at the very center of our efforts. We won’t let the customer down—at the end of the day, we’re always going to honor them. There is so much more to a brand than just the bottle.”
“The great thing about Kao Salon Division is that we’re salon people—I myself am a former salon manager and grew up in the salon business,” Cory said. “We’re not going to try to fix what isn’t broken—[Oribe] is a brilliant brand and the best thing to do is to let it continue on its path. The brand will have the same team, including its direct sales force, and Daniel will remain as president.”
The high-quality, luxury experience of both Oribe and Goldwell color will not change.
“Oribe ‘the man’ had one non-negotiable when we started this project—the product had to perform at the very highest level; at the heart of the brand’s success remains that performance standard,” said Daniel.
Adds Cory, “We’re already in the top tier of color in the countries we trade in, so it’s not only about getting new customers but keeping the customers we have happy. When it comes to Oribe internationally, they have an extensive distributor network but it’s quite young. We can bring their existing network the expertise of working internationally. Our goal is to keep the exclusivity of Oribe and to not dilute it or weaken it in any way.”
And beyond product performance, the in-salon experience will remain luxurious. “There is not another channel that has higher engagement than the salon. Consumers go and feel like they are in their friendly, familiar neighborhood hangout—stylists know their clients, their stories, and their families . . .they know the details of some of the greatest events of the individual’s life,” said Daniel. “The salon is one of the last places where human beings positively connect with one another. Luxury comes through experience and there is no better experience [than at the salon]. As leaders we must continue to share great opportunities with our salon partners so that they can continue creating unique experiences for their consumers.”
Distribution and sales will remain largely unchanged…
“Each company will have separate sales forces that will be run independently of each other,” Cory said. “Oribe has a direct sales force in the US and Kao has a direct sales force in certain parts of the country, however we also have a very large distributor network. Oribe will continue to have a direct sales force in almost every instance.
…but education for each brand will continue to blend and evolve.
“There’s already been a blending of education when it comes to the alliance we have with Oribe and Goldwell color,” Cory said. “Oribe, which has expansive and well-supported programs, will continue to offer education to its network independently, and we will maintain our alliance as it has been since 2015. The education, sales and marketing teams will continue to be run from New York City. That office and management team will remain independent reporting into Kao Salon Division…I think the number one education element that we can focus on internally and externally is how to manage industry changes and leverage those changes to support hairdressers in new ways—because change is not going to stop and it’s not going to slow down.”
Expect new innovations in both Oribe and Goldwell product lines.
By joining Kao, Oribe now has access to our extensive resources, which will benefit their product offerings moving forward, Cory said.
“Our team makes extraordinary products and we work with our education team to create them. To have access to additional resources of this magnitude will increase our reach,” Daniel Kaner said. “We always try to surprise and delight, but to enter into a partnership with a company so well respected as an innovator—that’s going to benefit both our brand and our consumer.”
Cory added that Kao is excited for access to Oribe’s team and talent. “We are looking forward to sharing and working closely with the Oribe creative team. There is a lot to learn from the people who have created such an extraordinary, fast-growing and well-loved brand,” he said.