July 2008


Want to Hear More About Diversion?

In My Opinion | by Rod Hatch


Editors note: The Stylist takes no responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article.

Do you really want to hear more about diversion, again? Me either. However, for the sake of amusing ourselves, let’s go ahead.

Let’s examine the job our leading, “professional-only” manufacturers are doing in defeating diversion.

ACNielsen, our nations leading firm on tracking consumer spending, tracks professional hair products sold in 4,300 grocery stores, mass merchandisers and drugstores across the country. The second quarter results are in and diversion is up 12.9 percent over 2007.

When will today’s professional hairdressers learn it is not diversion? These manufacturers want their products in Target, Wal-Mart, drug stores, etc.

Consider this: L’Oreal, which manufacturers Matrix, Redken and Pureology, has the largest anti-diversion campaign out there. However, their diversion is up 27 percent in Matrix, 37 percent in Redken and 96 percent in Pureology. In light of these facts, don’t you find it funny the Redken website says they are protecting our business with their anti-diversion campaign?

Those of you that still believe it is counterfeit, or comes from collectors buying from salons, it is time to rethink your opinion. Those of you that believe it is coming from distributors, let me ask you something. All product manufacturers sell to only between 12 and 36 distributors. Don’t you think if they really wanted to track and stop diversion they would?

So what do we do? We need to do two simple things:

  1. Adamantly educate new stylists coming out of school that diversion is, for the most part, a myth. Manufacturers spend millions on anti-diversion campaigns only to get stylists to keep using and recommending their mass-market products—filling their pockets not yours.

  2. Professional hairdressers need to only use and recommend true professional products. That is not to say you need to clear them off your shelves today. If they sell, great, sell them out. After all, you also sell brushes, combs and irons that are sold everywhere. They are simple commodities in our industry.

Our purpose is not to threaten these manufacturers. Our objective is very simple. Increase our professional credibility. Increase our salon traffic. And most importantly, increase our sales. Many smaller brands out there are as good if not better than the mass-market brands. Most of them will even offer you more support than you have ever received before.

Most of us tend to take the path of least resistance when making a professional recommendation. We recommend the familiar or the product with the highest brand awareness. Reeducating and changing our habits is not an easy task. Yet in this case, recommending non-mass marketed products can and will be very rewarding.

Think of it this way. Wouldn’t it be nice that when your client is out of the product you recommended they have to come back to your salon and buy it from you?

Keep in mind that these same smaller brands also have strict restrictions on having there products available in chain salons or phantom salons. Once again, what product can you put your professional stamp of approval on, so when your client needs more they come to you to buy it?

Diversion will never go away. However, you as a professional hairdresser do not have to encourage your clients to purchase mass-market products. Place your professional recommendation on products that help your business and line your pockets with more money and not theirs.

*Data was taken from information provided on the Beauty Industry Fund (BIF) website at www.beautyindustryfund.com. Founded in 2001, the Beauty Industry Fund (BIF) is an association comprised of manufacturers, distributors and salon owners with a mission to support and strengthen the professional beauty industry by eliminating product diversion.