As a professional hairstylist with over a decade's worth of experience working for brands like MorrocanOil, it was inevitable that DESIGNME co-owner Amy Stollmeyer would create her own brand. DESIGNME was created to bring a personalized experience to an individual’s hair care routine with carefully crafted formulas that deliver salon-quality results. This Canadian based brand serves up creativity, performance, empowerment, and authenticity to truly capture the beauty of a person’s individual hair texture and type. They recently added to their growing collections with a “Curl and Define” line that delivers hydration, definition, and nourishment with 6 products. We sat down to chat with Amy about the new line, DESIGNME’s origins, and the Canadian approach to haircare.
You have an extensive professional background as a stylist, what did that experience teach you about caring for hair?
I’ve been fortunate to travel around the world as a stylist with professional haircare brands. I also grew up and worked as a stylist in a beautifully diverse country; Trinidad. I’ve learnt (in all its simplicity) that hair is hair regardless of what it looks like and who it belongs to - it is made of the same material with the same challenges. I saw that hair around the world is not being cared for properly- the same way we care for our skin and bodies, these are learned practices over time (usually with lots of trial and error). I saw that people from the Caribbean, North America, Mexico, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa all struggle with many of the same hair challenges in different degrees; dehydration, scalp-imbalance, chemical/heat/styling damage, frizz, weather & environmental effects. Most of these challenges are an easy fix to rebalance with the right care and at home regimen.
How did you begin your entrepreneurial journey in the beauty industry?
Six years ago my husband Safir and his best friend (one of our business partners) discovered a unique packaging concept that could dispense powder through a direct nozzle in a pump format, that had never been used or seen in the beauty industry. Once we tested formulas and landed on ‘the one’ - we took a leap of faith that hairstylists in North America would find Puff.ME as cute, fun and innovative as we thought it was!
We had one professional distributor and one product - PuffME the Original Volumizing Powder was born in 2016 and was fully embraced by the professional community, it changed the volumizing category.
We operated the company from a Whatsapp group for the first year (we all had other jobs at the time). Then, a viral video in the US showing how PuffME worked for instant volume sent us on a seemingly overnight upward trajectory - my husband Safir and I made the decision to leave our other jobs and go all-in on DESIGNME, Safir is a Co-founder and the CEO since 2017.
What inspired you to start your own hair care line?
It’s been a dream since my first years in Cosmetology school. I had written it all down in notebooks. Growing up in Trinidad I had felt (in those days) that we had limited access to exciting, innovative and clean products. I always felt there could (or should) be something better, cleaner, more creatively inspiring and easier to use to achieve healthy results both behind the chair and at home, for all stylists and consumers.
When my husband and I met - He was on the distribution/sales/operation side of the industry and I was a hairstylist on the education/r&d/marketing side. We both felt we could bring a different approach than what we had experienced to the industry.
We wanted products within the professional space for hairdressers AND customers that triggered the creatively endless world of hair for the modern consumer. Fun, energetic, versatile, unique, provide instant results, inspire playfulness and creativity, be gentle on the environment, cruelty-free and truly for every human. And that, really is what DESIGNME has grown into.
How did you come up with the concept for “DESIGNME”?
We really focused on defining the key pillars of our brand philosophy: Creativity, Performance, Accountability, Empowerment and Authenticity - these set the groundwork for everything we do and every product we produce. All of our products are proudly Peta-certified cruelty-free, sulfate and paraben free, vegan and gluten-free, gentle formulas, for all people.
The name itself is intended to inspire;
DESIGN: is as much an art as it is a science. Complex yet subtle, it’s the driving force behind everything that we do whether you’re a hairdresser behind the chair or achieving your at home beauty routine. Our products are designed to nurture confidence and authenticity.
ME: It’s about everyone one of you! Each person has their unique hair care needs and their own definition of beauty.We design the product, you design the beauty.
Your brand is proudly based in Canada, are there differences in Canadian approaches to haircare?
Being based in Canada there are 2 very strong movements currently with product production:
- Being cruelty-free and
- Eco-friendly / more sustainability-facing packaging. These are the future of product development standards in our industry.
We also battle some real weather extremes and this has helped us significantly with product testing, when a product can perform on multiple (or all) hair types, and in any weather condition we face, it gives us the confidence to share them with the world!
Bounce.ME is your newest line aimed at curly hair consumers, what drove the innovation from the Curl Balm to an entire collection?
We had wanted to launch a full curl collection launch, however we confirmed Curl Balm’s formula first and we became so excited by how it performed that we launched it on its own to test the market instead of waiting longer for the other products. As we weren’t known within the curl care space, this gave us time to really perfect the rest of the Bounce.ME collection and build a relationship with our curl customer base that fell in love with Curl Balm - then pandemic hit and all of our launches were of course halted and postponed. SO many people have begun their curl journey due to the pandemic and the timing was right when the salon industry re-opened to finally be able to provide a full regimen of wave and curl care no matter which stage of the journey you’re at!
Which product (s) would you recommend curly users start with from your collection and why?
Bounce.ME Curl Balm
The OG is our Bounce.ME Curl Balm, it’s a versatile hybrid styler; a cream-gel texture, it has good stretch and elasticity with both hydration and a buildable hold. It’s best for medium to coarse textured 2b/c, 3 a/b/c, 4 a/b/c, wavy, curly and coily hair! There’s both heat and UV protection, and Curl Balm is also CGM approved to cover all curl styling and care preferences.
*Hot tip it can also be used to blow dry waves & curls smooth and bouncy for those who wear their waves & curls both ways.
InfiniteMIST Curl Enhancer
The next would be the InfiniteMIST Curl Enhancer, this is the curl refresher and enhancer of dreams. Housed in a refillable 360 degree continuous sprayer, it has never been easier to dampen and enhance waves or curls instantly like this. We are the first brand in the entire beauty space to have a 100% recyclable carton box refill system (your refill is in the same type of box as a milk carton, but way cuter). The formula is a lightweight true thirst quencher for all wave and curl patterns (fine, medium and coarse textures) and it’s also CGM approved. Simply mist. scrunch or retwist and shape, let dry naturally or diffuse. Use on wash day or any day in between. Curl Enhancer will also help to reactivate your previously applied products (if any)!
The fragrance experience of the new Bounce.ME Collection is worth honourable mention - they’ll all take you away to an endless summer with notes of warm pink pepper, cardamom, bergamot and coco-de-mer. It wears beautifully with your natural chemistry, it’s gender-friendly and really is just *chef’s kiss*!
What are the hallmark ingredients in the curl collection?
The formulas are deliciously healthy for the hair, a few of my favorite ingredients are:
- Mango fruit extract - promotes elasticity
- Kukui nut seed oil - cleanses & hydrates
- Shea butter - softens & moisturizes
- Buriti oil - strengthens and protects
- Argan Oil - rich hydrator and anti-frizz
- Chamomilla extract - promotes healthy hair growth
We’re moving into the colder months, what are 3 styling tips you’d recommend for natural hair users?
Hydration and protection is key for the colder months
Opting for our GlossME Hydrating Treatment Mask to richly hydrate (infused with Cannabis Sativa Seed Oil) on each or every other wash day will help reset hydration loss due to cold weather. It’s the hair’s ‘back-to-life’ stuff.
Keep long hair protected
Wearing longer hair a bit off the neck with soft scarves and head wraps to keep secure from friction from rough sweaters, thick scarves, and jackets which can really wreak havoc creating more dryness, frizz and even breakage.
Lay off the heat
When hair is battling extreme dehydration from weather - continuous heat will make it a real up-hill battle. Opt for accessorizing to glam up or disguise/hold unruly areas vs. going on with extra heat.
What are you excited to share about your brand in 2022?
Access and expansion! We have so many exciting new initiatives in the way people can both access and learn about all of our products more easily. Product education will be a focus of mine personally. Really fun and entertaining Social Media Content and how-to videos are coming! We have a few new international distributors also in the line-up which is exciting to have DESIGNME being able to reach even more hair lovers around the world!