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Relationships Win, Numbers Lose-Part II

This story starts with a stick. Not a pogo, dip, drum or one you find in the woods. No, this stick is very special and helped to turn a company around and propel it into stardom.

There is something about blogs in which you are always going back to the archives to retrieve information and thoughts. For this particular stick, I remember being in Las Vegas for the annual distributor trade show then called BBSI. Hairco was the new boy in town and we were just learning about the hair care market.

This company had its roots in education and made a name of itself but its product offerings were much to be desired. So with great fanfare we walked into their meeting room. It was decorated, there was food and drink and everyone was dressed up and excited. They were excited about a stick. A stick of pomade.

Hence the launch of Bedhead by TIGI and the rest is history. Who would have thought that consumers would pay $17.95 for a stick? TIGI couldn't keep it in stock and it became a nightmare for us, salons and them. Can you imagine that happening now (although it is with a "who would have thought" product that has been out a zillion years: dry shampoo)?

I met Bruno, Thomas, James and all the TIGI guys and after years of being kicked around, they were geeked to do some of their own kicking. And if the stick wasn't good enough, they created the hit of the decade as a follow-up: Manipulator.

Manipulator is this blue goo that you first think about eating because it smells so good, then think about playing with because you can twist and stretch it like Silly Putty but eventually you put it in your hair and your hair looks amazing. For another $17.95 a pop. consumers couldn't get it quick enough.

After Bedhead came Catwalk, Make-up, S Factor and their latest craze, Rockaholic.

But this story isn't about their products; it's about the people behind the products. These guys were hairdressers first and inventors second. They knew the psyche of hairdressers and took advantage of their talented team. They understood innovation then and they understand it now.

So it's no wonder that giant consumer companies wanted in. Rumors flew throughout the years from L'Oreal to Wella to Henkel and others. With each rumor we bit our nails. But at the end, a friendly suitor came along, Unilever, and the brand will stay in the hands of the founders and their outspoken VP, Vince D.

With a sigh of relief, this is the best news for us, salons and the industry. Yes consolidation continues but at least we know the entrepreneurial spirit of TIGI will live on.

Happy Tuesday!

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