Colin Walsh is just a little excited about what’s in store for DevaCurl.
“We’re going to blow some minds this year,” says Walsh, who took over as CEO of the 13-year-old hair product company in November 2013.
The company’s plans – Deva 2.0 - include product additions designed specifically for different textures, the opening of a second training academy in New York and a certification program for stylists (with a physical test before certification is granted). The company already launched its new website in early February.
Last week, I visited DevaCurl’s new SoHo corporate headquarters, which brings together its 25 corporate employees under one roof for the first time. Walsh left Matrix USA – the second-largest professional haircare brand in the United States - to take the position with DevaCurl. Walsh, who always brims with energy, is giddy as he plays tour guide of the new digs.
The space was designed to encourage communication, trust and creativity. The all-glass conference room sits in the middle so that all meetings are out in the open.
“We’ve taken a team that was spread around the country and moved it to our Curl Campus,” Walsh says, referring to the corporate headquarters, the original SoHo salon and the new 4,300-square-foot Academy.
DevaCurl has made a major mark in the curly world, getting its start in a salon 19 years ago founded by Denis DaSilva and Lorraine Massey. It was one of the first salons to focus on curly hair.
Out of the salon grew the DevaCurl product line, starting with Mist-er Right and followed by No-Poo. No-Poo ignited a shampoo revolution by changing the way we think about cleansing our hair and the importance (or rather unimportance) of the lather in that process. DevaCurl basically created the cleansing conditioner category.
Walsh knows he took the helm of a company that is an institution in the curly world. And he also knows the curly category is much more crowded than it was when the company got its start. Women with curls and coils now have hundreds of brands to choose from for their curl products.
“We are reestablishing and reaffirming our leadership position,” Walsh says. “We want to listen, support and celebrate.”
The new web site, Devacurl.com, is a major part of that strategy.
“We have the expertise and authority to be at the center of the curl conversation,” Walsh says. “The new web site symbolizes that.”
Walsh says the new site now serves as a hub where people can find a stylist and watch videos about how to use products to get different wavy, curly and coily looks.
The company’s changes go well beyond a new website. DevaCurl customers can expect some exciting new launches in the second half of 2015. “We have a unique understanding of what the right products are for people from the thousands we care for in our salons every year,” Walsh says.
While the 3-Step regime (No-Poo, One Condition and Light Defining Gel) have been at DevaCurl’s core, Walsh says DevaCurl will be better addressing how product use is influenced by lifestyle and texture. The products and techniques line will now cater to three specific hair types: wavy, curly and coily.
One of the most important initiatives for Devacurl will take place behind the chair.
While there are currently thousands of stylists who have taken either the 1-day class to become Deva-Inspired or the 3-day Advanced class, these credentials have been granted based on attendance in the program versus demonstration of technical skill. To change that, Deva is introducing a new certification program. Stylists will be required to do a physical test to show they have mastered the skills to earn certification.
“We have a responsibility to the client to help stylists develop a true expertise,” Walsh says.
This training will take place at Deva’s Culver City Academy as well as a new 4,300-square-foot SoHo Academy that will open March 1st. The New York academy will feature 22 stations, 12 Deva “bed sinks” and a media wall to bring to life the training.
Even as the company grows, Walsh says DevaCurl will stay true to its mission statement: “Ask a curly girl about her hair and she’ll tell you about her life. She’ll tell you about her childhood, her family, her friends, and the way she sees herself in the mirror. We’ve spent two decades at the center of this conversation. It’s curly, it’s complicated, it’s fun, and we get it.”
“We won’t be losing the authenticity of what this company is about,” Walsh says.
This article is sponsored by DevaCurl.