“What happened with skin care is happening with hair care”

Haircare has been a passion for Wella Company CEO Annie Young-Scrivner since she was 13 when she started a side business cutting and perming hair. So when the executive was recruited from Godiva where she served as CEO for three years to join the 140-year-old hair and nail care business, she jumped at the chance.

Private equity firm KKR appointed Young-Scrivner as CEO of Wella Company in October 2020 following the announcement of its acquisition of 60% of the company from Coty. Wella distributes hair care brands such as Wella Professionals, Clairol, Nioxin, GHD and the nail polish brand OPI. In December 2021, the company celebrated its first anniversary as an independent company. KKR and Wella Company noted IPO ambitions in about four years.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to be an incredible company. The first thing we focus on is making sure we have the right [products] to meet consumer needs,” Young-Scrivner said on the Glossy Beauty podcast. “The second thing is to make sure that we are developing in the right direction. There will be a lot of [exit] options for us.

When it comes to building a product and brand portfolio that stands the test of time, Wella focuses on storytelling across all of its brands. This includes Wella Professional. Its Shinefinity long-lasting color polish is all about hair health, with the tagline “Shine you can feel.” Wella has more than 1,000 patented products and technologies that it can use to position itself as a superior beauty company with innovative products, Young-Scrivner said.

OPI also sought unique opportunities to attract new customers and communities by partnering with Xbox in January. So far, these efforts are paying off, as Wella’s professional sales channel saw double-digit sales growth over fiscal 2019, and its e-commerce and retail channels are seeing growth. substantial, Young-Scrivner said.

Read excerpts from the podcast conversation below, which focuses on what Young-Scrivner focused on last year, OPI’s performance and Wall Street’s appetite for another pure player. of beauty. Excerpts have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Achievements and prospects of the last 12 months
“[We looked at product] innovation. How can we ensure that we could be faster with our innovation? We worked on that. In fact, we looked at the launch [products] when people were stepping back. We also have 6,000 [employees], and we added 1,100 people last year. We had [look at] a lot of different functions, like how to work in a new environment and make sure there’s a lot of respect and speed and cultural differences change quickly? A big part of our culture is about creating an environment where people can excel. We have six affinity groups for women, for LGBTQ+ and for various ethnicities, where people around the world can come together and talk about opportunities for innovation, things the company could do differently and things that really interest them. I shave [Wella] be even more aware of the world around us and understand the needs of our consumer differently.

How OPI is riding the nail care tide
“What’s been interesting is that people are using the nail bed palette as art. People at home are creating their own art and [focusing on] caring for the skin of the nails, as well, ensuring that they treat [their] straight cuticles and cocooning [themselves]. Last year we launched a product called Nature Strong, which is our vegan eco-ethical line that has worked wonders. We recently collaborated with Xbox. On International Women’s Day, [we collaborated] about women in tech and women in gaming. They took three of our colors and created Xbox controllers using the OPI colors.

On Wall Street’s appetite for hair care
“There are a lot of smart people on Wall Street. They find that the trend that happened with skin care is now happening with hair care. This moment is not just a moment. I think this will continue because, as consumers better understand [hair care], they will switch to quality, more professional products. Olaplex has been very smart in focusing on its patented technology as a statement to the consumer. Looking and thinking, I think Wella has a much better opportunity to tell our story. [and is] learn from Olaplex. We have 1,000 patents and over 300 scientists, but we don’t talk about them. We need to play to our strengths and not be afraid to point it out. It’s more than a moment, it’s a transition. Wall Street just needs to see Wella’s growth potential. »