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Last updated: September 13, 2017

NEW BFFS: Goldwell and Oribe Announce Strategic Alliance

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Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but there’s always room for new matches in the beauty biz. Here’s the latest—Oribe Hair Care and Kao USA Inc., Salon Division (distributor of Goldwell) just announced a strategic alliance. The maker of high fashion care and styling products and the company that offers premium haircolor, among other products, say they will pool their resources in a strategic alliance designed to offer high-end education and service options to top U.S. salons. Here’s what the leaders of each brand—Trevor Attenborough, Kao Salon Division US President and GM and Daniel Kaner, cofounder and copresident of Oribe Hair Care—have to say about the arrangement and what salon customers can expect.



BTC: So, how did you guys meet? How did this alliance come about?
I’ve been in the business a long time and I’ve known the leaders of Goldwell—[KAO Group Global President] Cory Couts and [VP of Education and Global Creative Director] John Moroney. This alliance has been in our hearts and minds for a long time.  We realized we are like-minded in our leadership style. We’re both here to service and bring honor to salons; to elevate the professional experience.
TA: They connected with us six or eight months ago. In talking to Daniel and going to a few Oribe events, I got a real sense of their organization. I saw the same general philosophy. I saw salon owners really interacting. I saw Oribe doing exciting things and appealing to customers at the very top end of the market. So we started talking about how we could bring together our strengths, while remaining independent.


BTC: Great lead-in to the next question—this is an alliance, not an acquisition, right?
Yes. An alliance is a collaboration, and an acquisition is one culture taking over another. In this case, they have their own education, marketing, and so do we. Where it makes sense to collaborate in those areas, we will do that.


BTC: What are some specific “wins” that Goldwell and Oribe customers can expect from this alliance?
 Goldwell is very well known for a robust color education system. We partner closely with salons to focus on helping them build service revenue. Oribe salons will be able to benefit from these programs to enhance the service side of their businesses.
DK: There will be a very tangible reward, which we can’t announce just yet, for the people who support both brands. Aside from that, it’s the way we think about education at Oribe. We view it as a journey to mastery—in both the worlds of the salon stylist and the session stylist. We admire and invest in people who seek knowledge regularly and we recognize that color is a major part of that world. Cut, color, style—it’s an integrated strategy. Now we can build all of that into our journey to mastery.


BTC: When can we expect announcements about your upcoming plans?
 The timeline is in process!  We’re working out the details, but we can say that we will be using both organizations’ educational assets to help each other out. So Oribe may use our New York or Santa Monica Academies or we might use Oribe’s Miami Academy to work closer together.
DA: At our Oribe educational event in the fall, we fully expect to have a wonderful color segment featuring Goldwell. And many of our 60 classes in our Miami Academy this year will have a Goldwell presence. 


BTC: Between the retail offererings from Oribe, Goldwell and KMS California (a KAO brand), how do you see all of them “living together” for salons?
 There really are very different customers for all of those brands. So whether they can live together side by side or not really depends on the culture of the salon and what the owner is trying to accomplish. We show up with the intention for a salon to be successful and they choose the path that works.


BTC: Last thoughts?
There are a lot of people in this business doing the same thing. For us, it’s about spirit and philosophy—the salon owner comes first. With Oribe, they want to give stylists a sense of career, of progress and growth. We may be talking about two independent organizations here, but in the end, salons and stylists are being trained and responded to in the same way—we both want to help them to grow into better human beings!

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Trevor Attenborough