Amérique, Je T’aime
With their focus on the American dream, Dessange sets their plan of action in motion
Most great families on the trek to success don’t just end up at the finish line. Beyond the hard work and dedication, there’s an underlying plan of action that leads them onto the road to success. A meticulous attention to detail goes into every plan, and this is something that the Dessange family knows very well. When Jacques Dessange opened his first salon in Paris in 1954, he opened it on the Champs-Élysées—that historic, main boulevard that passes through the Arc de Triomphe in the city’s center. By opening his salon on one of the most universally-recognized streets in the world, he earned something for not just his salon, but for his budding brand—something many brands still struggle to find their footing in. Exposure.
Dessange is a brand that knows the importance of exposure. The pursuit of the right light motivated them to branch out of France less than a decade after opening their original salon. It’s why they created a second franchising network, Camille Albane, in 1994 to expand upon their international presence as a brand that understands women. It’s the same reason they purchased a North American salon juggernaut, Fantastic Sams, in 2012 to solidify their global footing. Today, Dessange International owns more than 2,000 Dessange, Camille Albane and Fantastic Sams locations worldwide. And they’ve always had their sights set on America.
With personal income in the United States topping $13 trillion and the beauty industry raking in over $33 billion for cosmetics alone annually, the US market opens Dessange up to huge growth opportunities, bringing their signature French style to American consumers. Dessange has been carefully crafting their decades-long plan to break into and entirely shake up the US market and now is the time to put their plan into action. “This move allows us to bring three full brands of beauty at every level of luxury, service and price point to the US market,” explains President and CEO of Dessange North America, Linda Chadwick.
Coinciding with the debut of their new headquarters in Beverly, MA, Linda will oversee a large-scale rebranding of Fantastic Sams and the introduction of Camille Albane and Dessange in the United States. “It still is all about the hair for the whole family. With our reimaging, we are given more of a trendier look, but it’s also going to be geared for the whole family. It’s not a look that says ‘It’s a women-only salon,’” says Linda. “It’s warm and friendly—a place you want to go to. We’re not losing anything, we’re enhancing everything!”
Fantastic Sams has always marketed itself as a “premium value family brand.” Although family and value remain key components of the brands, there are entirely unique components being added. To start, Fantastic Sams will get a completely new design, inside and out. But, they will also be rebranding their existing salon menu. As Linda says, with the rebranding, more people will know that Fantastic Sams is rejuvenating their color services to remind people they’re in the haircolor business. “A lot of our customers don’t think that we do color and that’s part of the problem,” says Linda. “Our new look is really focused on brand equity and everything for the hair, which includes color. Haircolor is a truly fast growing part of our business.”
Camille Albane and Dessange salons will start popping up in many metro areas to solidify that one stop shop mentality for the urban trendsetting woman or someone who longs for a luxury salon and spa experience. And as was the case when Jacques opened the original Dessange Salon in Paris, exposureis key! “They’ll be where people shop, work and live and that includes upscale shopping and lifestyle centers,” says Linda. “We want visibility where people are at and on the go. It really does come down to location, location, location!”
The most important change, however, will be in how Dessange goes about franchising and training for US stylists. Dessange is bringing over their own education, allowing any of their franchisees and stylists to fully immerse themselves in the best French hair education around. “Our training is unique. Here in the states, we have trainers from France come over to work with our franchisees so they’re up to speed on the latest techniques. It’s all about the education that we bring to you, all the way from the City of Lights,” states Linda. “We really are an extension of Dessange International so our education and training will have the feel and the flair of our international team.”
With the highest quality French education being a key component of Dessange’s training plan, they truly turned to the best. Dessange Education Operations Manager, Caroline Louchet used to travel all over France for the brand, educating stylists about products, the latest collections and those beautiful and renowned French ways. When Dessange decided to bring their company over to the US, it was always known that they would bring her along for the ride. As Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO, Benjamin Dessange states, “We don’t just sell franchisees, we sell world-class training.”
Although the execution is just getting started—after all, Benjamin and Linda cut the ribbon on their new US headquarters less than a month ago—the wheels on Dessange’s grand plan are in motion and they show no sign of stopping anytime soon!