From Left to Right: Ugo (Nigeria Country Leader & CEO Make Me Salon Lagos, Faith (Kenya Country Leader & Director – Aleezas Executive Nairobi), Edwin (Director – Urban Hair Nairobi) and Alexandre Bihry (L’Oréal Paris International Trainer)
When L’Oréal East Africa asked me to represent Kenya in this year’s annual L’Oréal Professional Business Forum (LPBF), to say the least, I was beyond thrilled to return to Europe. I had a chance to visit a country I hadn’t been to before – SPAIN. First bell, “I’m going to Europe on an all-expenses paid trip”. I must say that my trip was more than just a visit to Spain (see my personal experience in part 3).
Allow me to go back to where it all started. A little over a year ago, L’Oréal Paris, in their quest to create their Professional Division in Kenya, approached me at my salon and asked me of one thing. (It is important to point out that they had entered the Kenyan market with their Consumer Division (Lancôme, Maybelline, Nice & Lovely through acquisition of InterConsumer, among others).
L’Oréal Paris needed to bring in their Professional side of the business (products and services sold through salons and not over the counter) to Kenya – mainly MIZANI and L’Oréal Professional Products. To do that, they needed to partner with salons like Aleezas in order to do business. Therefore, they asked if I was interested in using their brands in my salon and I was proud to tell them that we were already using Mizani among other brands.
However, they wanted more. They wanted us to use their products exclusively! Wow, what a demand. So I asked three questions:
- What was I to do with my other stock?
- How was I going to shift my clients from other brands entirely, and
- For what reason should I go Mizani/L’Oréal exclusive?
Their selling point was simple:
- L’Oréal Paris through L’Oréal EA shall make the products readily accessible to Aleezas (it was a tall order getting them from abroad before)
- L’Oréal Paris is the manufacturer of the best PROFESSIONAL brands so we would be helping Aleezas turn into a PRO salon and be different from all others
- L’Oréal shall train Aleezas’ staff as and when required by a local accredited trainer and L’Oréal International trainers
I quickly thought they had a strong case because for all that, all I had to do was use their brands exclusively. And because I was buying products anyway, after weighing my options, I had more to gain being on their side. So I quickly signed a contract and our journey towards making my salon a globally competitive entity began.
Over time we have both kept our ends of the bargain. Aleezas is an exclusive salon for MIZANI (relaxer, treatments and aftercare products) and L’Oréal Professional for colour (MAJIREL and INOA).
The reason why this background is important is so that you understand that Beauty is a billion-dollar industry. L’Oréal Professional is a multinational which is investing heavily in Africa and I can safely say has understood the African Woman’s Hair needs. Visit Aleezas, you will experience and understand.
Fast forward to October 1st 2017 and I was honoured to be one of 2500 people from the world who were at LPBF. This is a forum where the best in the business teach, share and contest to challenge each other. I was the country leader from Kenya accompanied by 2 directors of Urban Hair Studios, another L’Oréal Pro salon in Kenya. We learnt from the legendary Scott Sloan and Francis Scroembges.
Look out for my next post to see my actual experience!