Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious

When Bumble and bumble launched its Curl Conscious campaign, the company turned to curlies for its inspiration. We talked to Bumble and bumble Senior Vice President Artistic Director Howard McLaren about what went into developing the innovative campaign.

NaturallyCurly: How did you come up with idea behind the campaign?

McLaren: We were really inspired by how passionate our curly customers are about their hair. Curly haired people have such a specific point of view, and we really noticed how knowledgeable they are about their hair and its needs. They are in a class by themselves. We really wanted to honor the curl community with a campaign that celebrated not just curly hair but the entire culture behind this specific hair type.

NaturallyCurly: What was the feeling you hoped to get across with the campaign?

McLaren: We wanted the campaign to be celebratory and to honor all different sorts of textures and personalities. If you look at the photos of our campaign, they are all in the same soft fashion colors of the packaging and they evoke a very free-spirited vibe. We were inspired by the curl models, and clients we've met and worked with throughout the years and perceive them as very strong individuals who have a sense of belong to a larger community that's unified by their hair.

NaturallyCurly: What is the meaning of the paisley in the campaign?

McLaren: The paisley print of the product packaging was inspired by a great story out of India. Long ago, during harvest time, farmers would dip the sides of their fists in ink and mark their grain bags to denote ownership. The kidney-shaped fist print evolved into the paisley print. We thought the paisley would be the perfect complement to our curl products since no two fist prints are alike, just like no two curls are alike.

NaturallyCurly: How did you find the models that appear in your campaign?

McLaren: We chose Los Angeles for our campaign shoot because we encountered these great kids who loved and embraced their curly hair. We cast the models via Facebook and Model Mayhem and also traveled to Los Angeles and asked our stylists to tell their friends in the area to stop by. After a mass casting of 150 models, we narrowed it down to 50 and selected 12 key models who we really felt represented the wide spectrum of the curl community. We loved their individual looks and the way they presented themselves.

NaturallyCurly: Tell me how you came up with the styles for the photo shoot.

McLaren: We took a look at the models — their face shape, hair texture, etc. — and created a haircut for each of them that was tailored to their individual look. That's what cutting curly hair is all about. Curl textures vary so drastically. It's really important that each head of hair is uniquely addressed.

NaturallyCurly: You chose to work with stylist Rolando Beauchamp on the shoot. Why?

McLaren: Rolando is such a versatile and experienced stylist who can really work with all hair types. He's had quite a bit of experience working with curly hair throughout his career, and we knew he'd really make the shoot amazing. He's our leading editorial stylist and has a relationship with Bumble and bumble that stretches back through much of his career. You've seen his work in magazines such as "Italian Vogue," "Purple," "Dazed and Confused," The New York Times "Style" magazine and "Marie Clarie" as well as on the runway for such designers as Karen Walker and Vivienne Westwood.

NaturallyCurly: What is your philosphy behind curly hair?

McLaren: Curly hair is amazing, but it has special needs. When caring for, styling and cutting this texture, you have to be very present and careful. All three of these areas (caring for, cutting and styling) need to be addressed. It all starts with a great cut, so that's why Bumble has just inaugurated its first curl workshop this past November so we can educate our network stylists to the special needs of curly hair. Our curriculum really emphasizes individuality. Since there are so many different textures within the curl category plus so many different styling preferences among clients, it's really important to ask questions so you get a feel for what needs should be addressed. My philosophy really is that there is no tried and true rules. Just be sure you ask questions. Particularly with a curly client who is often so knowledgeable and involved with their hair, cutting and styling curly hair is a collaborative experience.

NaturallyCurly: Let's talk about the products. How did you tweak the Curl Conscious line?

McLaren: We realized that the two regimens we tried to enforce in the original line weren't working. No curls are alike, and while the line was successful, people struggled with understanding which camp they fit in. We decided to focus on giving as many customizable options as possible when restaging the line.

We simplified the cleansers and conditioners with universal formulas. With a better understanding of curly hair, we realized we really didn't need so many options. The majority of our clients preferred the shampoo and conditioner for fine-to-medium hair, no matter what their curl type was. So we made a few updates to the formulas.

We had a lot of people asking for something that was even more moisturizing than the medium-to-thick conditioner, which led us to create the Nourishing Masque. The client can control how often they use it, whether that's once a week or once a day.

Styling was the strongest part of the line, but people wanted more options. So we created the Holding Foam for hold and control and the Reactivating Mist to revive curls throughout the day and on no-shampoo days.

With the packaging, we wanted it to complement the feel of the campaign. With the clear naming and curl differentiations as well as the colorful, hand-drawn paisley texture, the idea was that they have a distinctive identity that can work together or stand alone.