Virgin Hair Products, Immaculate Conception

How does a hairdresser become an entrepreneur and be successful at developing a beauty product line? Here is the story behind how one stylist did that very thing.

As an experienced hairdresser (for 30 years) Diana Bernard specialized in color treatments. She saw the damage that comes from those treatments along with exposure to the elements and wanted to create products that would restore hair to its original, virgin state. 

And she had another reason. She was a salon owner and realized how important selling retail was to her bottom line. She saw her retail sales slipping and couldn't understand why until a client told her that she saw the product she usually bought from her in a Target store so she just bought it there.

Diana knew all too well the problems diversion has brought to the beauty industry. Product diversion is one of the biggest issues facing salon retail sales.   

This incentive gave Diana the push to decide it was time to make a reality of her goal to develop a product of her own.

Many consumers don't realize that buying salon products out of the salons actually hurts the salon.  Product diversion means that a product is sold in an unauthorized location. Many of these diverted products are counterfeited, out of date, or otherwise tampered with making them just as bad for the consumer as for the salon.  Whether diverted products are counterfeit or it is the big brands turning a blind-eye on diversion because they actually sell more product as a result, salons end up as the biggest loser in the diversion games.

Diana's top two goals in developing her own line were to create high performance products and to distribute products directly to salons. From her perspective as a salon owner, it simply does not make sense to sell products that are too widely available. 

It seemed like everything fell into place once these two decisions were made. When her husband Steve began a new venture as an investor in a manufacturing company, they came together and founded the business Virgin Hair Products in 2009.

The process of developing the products was intensive. Just coming up with the moisturizing shampoo was a two year project. And there is a lot of testing, although most of the testing is done on themselves.  They try to get as many opinions on the products as they can, turning to their friends and their family, including their four children. 

Their children, two girls and two boys, (the youngest 19) enlisted their friends for their feedback as well. They intentionally go for as much feedback as they can to help them develop more and more products such as their new Beach Waves Salt Spray.

Diana and her husband have chosen their own specialties for the business. She does all the creative work and works with the chemist; also making sure she's on top of what's going on fashion-wise, as well as knowing what chemicals are coming into the industry. Steve rounds out the business side of the company and even one of their daughters helps with the trade shows. It's clear that this line has a family mission.  

Diana's product vision in the creation of Virgin Hair Products was to create a set of hair care products that repair heat damaged and chemically damaged hair. The goal is to return hair to its Virgin Hair feel. 

Diana is excited about the current product lineup and states, "Now that we have a lineup of 16 products, our biggest challenge is finding salon owners that are willing to consider a smaller brand like ours. Fortunately our product performance gets their attention and then we engage in a conversation about the often overlooked benefits carrying a boutique brand like ours." Steve adds, "Salons that end up carrying our brand end up seeing an increase in retail sales as they migrate their clientele from brands with diversion issues to our brand with our tightly controlled distribution. We are making salon owners happy." 

Make no doubt about it, Diana's and Steve's ultimate goal is to provide their products exclusively through a network of professional hair salons.

Based in Seal Beach, California, all of their products are manufactured in Southern California. With a line of 16 products and several more under development, Virgin Hair Products is actively recruiting salons to carry their product line. With aggressive start-up programs and on-going promotions, salon owners and stylists that carry the line will be financially rewarded while their clients will be helped with their color damaged hair.

You can find out more about Virgin Hair Products at www.virginhairproducts.com. Stay connected to Virgin Hair Products by liking them on Facebook.  You can also follow them on Twitter at @virginhairprods, or on Instagram at virginhairproducts.