It’s Oribe Hair Care’s 10th Anniversary—Learn How The Luxe Brand Got Its Start
Oribe Hair Care Celebrates A Decade In Business
Quick—think back to the year 2008. Instagram hadn’t been invented yet. iPhones were brand new gadgets. This is the era of the Great Recession, of Sarah Palin, and of Team Edward or Team Jacob.
Ok. Now, in 2008, think about luxury. Think about the hair industry. Think about what was lacking. If you were Daniel Kaner and Tevya Finger, here’s what you saw: The need for a new category in haircare. An opening for craftsmanship, performance and deep connection. An opportunity to blend editorial elite, high quality and a name the world recognized.
This is how Oribe Hair Care began its journey. Daniel and Tev found a collaborator in Oribe Canales (the man behind J.Lo, if he needs any introduction at all) in 2008 and worked with innovation labs, specialty collaborators and a legendary 19th-century perfume house to create best-selling, award-winning products. This year, Oribe Hair Care celebrates its 10th anniversary, and we’re taking a look back into what makes the brand tick—and what we should expect in the next decade.
Talk to anyone who knows Daniel and you will hear the same thing time and again—as a relationship-builder, he knows EVERYONE. “Because of who Daniel is as a person, he’s built amazing relationships throughout our whole industry,” says Scott Miller, owner of two salons in the Rochester, N.Y. area.
His genuine love of all people (and the industry as a whole) led him to the leaders he trusted the most—salon owners he’d known for years. These owners had some things in common: They all cultivated “people-first” salon cultures and all placed high value on products that elevated their guests’ experiences.
“We wanted to offer the most sought-after products and be the best we could at our craft to differentiate ourselves,” Scott says about his decision to partner with Oribe. And for Edward Goldstein, owner of Edward’s Salon in the Bay Area, it was this simple: “I really needed some inspiration, so launching a new brand, started by my friends? It was a no-brainer.”
When a man like Oribe is involved, there’s no doing things halfway. His work has appeared on runways and magazine covers with some of fashion’s top designers, working with photographers like Mario Testino, Helmut Newton and Annie Leibovitz. Plus, there’s J.Lo—he worked with her during her rise to the ultimate diva she is today. If Oribe was putting his name on products, they had to be absolutely top quality.
And so, they are. Oribe Hair Care is the first to use fine fragrance in its products, and the signature scent is one of consumers’ favorite things about the products. But besides the smell, they perform. “Clients love the fragrance and the beautiful bottles. It looks great in your bathroom,” Edward says. “Daniel pays great attention to the client experience, from opening the box to using the products.”
“Because of the quality of the formulations, I find [the products] to have multiple uses. I think there’s a learning curve—you use these for years and they keep evolving,” says Scott. “The ingredients that they use are probably the most expensive ingredients that can go into hair products. It’s the attention to detail, the design of the bottles. It upgrades your bathroom. The efficacy of the product is unparalleled. The fragrance couldn’t be more compelling. When clients smell them, they want them.”
Yes, clients want them. And that’s what makes the Oribe Hair Care experience unique.
As the owner of the world’s first salon with a MAC Beauty Store within it, Scott is keenly attuned to luxury brands and how guests covet them. He carries high-end skincare, makeup and hair products—which is why he carries Oribe. “I think of Oribe like I think of Tom Ford or Lamborghini or Ferrari,” says Scott. “I think that when people know they have the best, that transfers to your experiences. It’s a connection to your salon experience and the world of luxury. It’s the same feeling as putting on your Gucci belt.”
And people will pay top dollar for that experience. Doug Cole owns five Cole’s Salon locations in the Minneapolis area with 375 employees and he’s been a believer in Oribe Hair Care since Day 1. For Doug, the numbers don’t lie—this year, his salon is seeing a 10 percent growth in retail.
“It draws wonderful customers in,” he says. “Our guests are people who want to spend money. We don’t discount at all. The people coming in really focus on the experience versus price. It’s kind of like selling one Mercedes or five Fords.”
Maybe that’s why renowned hairdresser James Pecis began using the products. James has worked on major fashion campaigns and is a staple at every Fashion Week in the world. Now, as Oribe Hair Care’s Global Ambassador, he continues to innovate education for the brand.
Oribe’s education isn’t simply technical—though they do that ultra-well. The Journey to Mastery program, introduced in 2016, focuses on mastering the foundations of hairdressing with the goal of creating luxurious, editorial-inspired hair.
“Oribe brought something to the industry—they brought editorial work, ‘dream work,’ to the industry,” said Lisa Yaldoo, who co-owns The Beauty Lounge in the Detroit area with Oliva Shouenyia. “That was game-changing. It was so different and fun for our stylists.”
No surprise, since the Oribe team is constantly innovating backstage at major runway shows (the most recent New York Fashion Week, the Oribe team did 10 shows). With Oribe’s own roots in high fashion, this luxe world translates into what guests experience today. “Along with technical classes, we have learned so much about how to create a luxury environment to exceed our guests’ expectations,” shares Coral Pleas, owner of Cutting Loose Salons in the Sarasota, Fla. area.
Maybe this is the ethos of Oribe Hair Care’s education: “They pull people to do things they wouldn’t necessarily do,” says Gene Juarez, founder of Gene Juarez Salon in Seattle. “They don’t push people, they pull people—they show them what they CAN do and attract them to it.”
Anyone who has been with Oribe Hair Care since its launch a decade ago agrees wholeheartedly on this point: The brand’s culture is rooted in big love for hairdressers, serious trust and the utmost support for one another.
“The greatest part of the Oribe culture is they all have big hearts,” Edward shares. “Everyone that signed on to Oribe just seems to be really open. The Oribe salon community is a sharing one—every salon owner I’ve met shared what works for them. No competition, just support.”
For Scott, it’s about inspiration. “Oribe make us better hairdressers and a better company. It’s about a commitment to excellence in the products we use and offer and the way we take care of each other,” he says. And many people attribute that to Daniel’s leadership.
“We have similar culture—we believe in people first,” Gene says. “Daniel’s not leading from power, he’s leading because he’s a human being and he cares deeply about the success of salon owners, hairdressers and the industry. You don’t find that in many companies today.”
“We trust these people and this company,” adds Scott. “Product knowledge is one thing, but working with the right team goes from your brain down 18 inches to your heart. It encourages Cole’s Salons to keep growing when you see a company like Oribe.”
And there’s something to be said about the founder of a major hair brand making house calls, says Lisa. “That was career-changing. Him coming to us and sharing one of their classes and bringing in some of their top people was a big deal,” she says. “How often do you get to meet the president of a big company?” Oliva adds.
Don’t expect innovations to stop anytime soon. Oribe’s gotten really good at that. For example, have you ever used Dry Texturizing Spray? Called an “industry game-changer” and “cult classic,” it’s the brand’s top product that our sources say “literally works on everyone.” “The results—and the enthusiasm of the hairdresser behind the presentation—makes clients believe in Dry. It isn’t just a product, it’s a belief,” says Gene.
As a 10th anniversary celebration, Oribe is releasing a limited edition version of Dry, so keep your eyes peeled for this texturizer, bodifier and styler—all in one can.
And expect more advanced education, more boundary-pushing creations and more deep connections. “Oribe really holds true to the hairdresser, the craft and the art,” Gene says. With Daniel at the helm, that won’t change anytime soon.