On her trip to Canada this summer, we sat down with Nathalie Roos, global president of L’Oréal Professional Products Division, to discuss the challenges facing salons today, and her style of team management.
What continues to be your biggest challenge in these times?
My biggest challenge is to make this profession attractive and to attract talented stylists. Our mission is to support the development of salon owners and create a draw to the profession. I want to encompass all forms of hairdressing and the biggest priority in doing that is making salons attractive to professionals.
What will attract the best talent to a salon?
It’s the experience. When you go into a salon, it must be worth the journey. I have a wedding this week in Montreal, so I made an appointment at a salon for myself and some family and friends. When I spoke to the receptionist on the phone you could hear she was smiling. We even had a laugh while she booked the appointments and we made a connection. With all the salons you’ve visited around the world, where have you had the best experience? The best salon I have been to recently was in Germany. It was owned by two sisters with four salons, and they specialize in blonding. I think the future of salons is really this—to focus on specializing in something. Here in Toronto, I went to Untitled [by Flaunt Boutique]. This salon has a really cool atmosphere with a bar and a games area, and you really have a good time there. It’s a unique experience.
Why does education remain such a key pillar?
Education is at the heart of the experience, and it’s not only technical, it’s digital, business management and communication. We are creating a bachelor’s degree in hairdressing and management. We’re starting with one school in France, but we want to create this program at a national and international level. There are so many people who would love to be hairdressers and now they can. It will include peer coaching and we will integrate the salon owners with the program; three months of the year students will be in school, and the rest they’ll be in the salon. It’s a three-year degree program.
Tell us about your team building approach.
I’ve created a concept called “great place to win.” By that I mean there is a direct link with people feeling emotionally connected with a company. When they feel respected and developed and have the opportunity to do the best work they can each day, this is when you get your best results. The most clever and most experienced leader is only one person, but when you have 12,000 people in an occupation and you have those people working towards the same objective, it can be very powerful.
What do you say to salon owners whoare fearful that e-commerce is the death of salon business?
We want to lead the digital transformation of the industry with an entrepreneurial and customer centric approach. Instead of looking at e-commerce as the enemy, we need to look it as an opportunity. We have aligned our prices across the globe, and choose partners to work with on the professional use of their website and a systematic drive to their website. We have an opportunity to take people to salons. We are selling in-salon services as a promotion online so if you buy online you can also try it in the salon. This is one way for our consumers to buy product where they want, but also to bring them into our salons.