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Relationships Win, Numbers Lose

Hairdressers are people that do what they do based on their passion for making others look good. With average annual earnings of $32,000, their career isn't about the money or how much money they can make, but the relationships they build with their clients and those that help them to make them better.

The story about products that hairdressers use and retail can be an entire novel. But this story will be short and sweet and like all good stories, has a happy ending.

I remember way back 10 years ago or so when we made our pitch to the big guys at L'Oreal to take on their Majirel brand. At the time, it was the #5 selling color in Michigan and was mostly purchased by the older crowd and through stores. The brand did $350,000. Our presentation was fabulous and we got the brand.

We took the brand to $6 million in business and became the #1 distributor in the US based on salon count. But what we didn't know when we first started, all L'Oreal cared about was numbers. No matter how much business we did, it was never good enough. No matter how much we bought, we never bought enough.

David Craggs ran the professional division during this time. All he cared about was numbers. He bought ARTec and we know the rest of the story. He bought Pureology for $300 Million and Jim Markham is still got the giant smile across his face. Craggs added Matrix to the mix and was credited for the three worse launches in history.

Sadly, Craggs didn't care about the hairdresser. In fact, he never once came to Detroit or one of our events. He was too busy plotting his next move. And his next move cost him his job. L'Oreal bought Beauty Alliance, Maly's and Columbia. They wanted to buy us and the rest of their distributors.

But a funny thing happened along the way. No matter how big you are, it doesn't matter to hairdressers. They want relationships and not numbers.

What is also sad is his blog. Not one single comment posted in 2008. And while he talked about diversion, hairdressers saw the ruse.

Good-bye David Craggs. We will not miss you. We hope your retirement is enjoyable. We are sad that we lost L'Oreal and Matrix because of you. But we will preserver because we value relationships with hairdressers and they value the relationship they have with us.

I said this story would have a happy ending. In closing this story, I do need to thank David Craggs. Without him, we wouldn't have launched Kemon in the US and have brought passion to hairdressers they haven't seen in many years. The excitement is greater than any L'Oreal brand we ever launched. So for that, thank you.

This story will continue tomorrow when I talk about a different type of company that is committed to hairdressers and just completed its biggest move ever. A good story indeed.

Happy Tuesday!

QUACK QUACK YOU

Adam Harris was born in coal country, right in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. His father, Gregory, worked the mines every day and came home to his best friend, Jim Beam. Gregory had many frie

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