In order to stay competitive in the beauty industry, you must set yourself apart. So, when you think about ‘building a brand’ where do you even start? We chatted with Donna Pohlad of dpHUE to learn more about how she saw a problem in the salon care industry and turned it into a booming business.
Can you give us a little back story on dpHUE?
I started dpHUE in 2011 and really approached it from the perspective of the consumer. Women pay hundreds of dollars to get their hair colored and highlighted in a salon and saw that women need products that make our hair look amazing between salon visits. That’s when I started my company and later teamed up with celebrity colorist Justin Anderson to build dpHUE.
Our Apple Cider Vinegar products have a color locking technology that seals in color to fight the fade and enhance the shine. Our Gloss+ line is a deep conditioning formula with semi-permanent hair color to revitalize the highlights and color. Our shampoos and conditioners are all expertly formulated specifically for colored hair and our root touch up kits give consumers control over grey and dark roots.
When in the early stages of dpHUE, what decisions were made to set yourself apart from the competition?
Other brands and products sold to consumers after they get their hair professionally colored only do half the job. dpHUE understands that women all have different needs when it comes to coloring their hair. Some color their hair for fashion, others for gray coverage, but regardless everyone faces the same issues when they are stuck in between coloring or salon appointments. dpHUE is all about that time. We help maintain fresh hair color with salon quality products to use at home for gorgeous hair color, every day.
What inspired the core elements of dpHUE’s brand?
It is really about understanding the emotional connection salon consumers have with their colorist, salon, and with her hair. She pays to get her hair colored because she wants to look flawless and feel great and often has a trusted bond with her colorist. Our products enable her to maintain her salon fresh color between salon visits to make both her and her colorist look their best every day.
Are there any aspects of the brand that have changed over time?
When we started in 2011, very few salons were talking about fresh color between salon visits so we began with a retail concept. As the brand evolved, so did the market and salon professionals began embracing the brand. Currently, our products are not only sold in all Ulta stores and Sephora.com but also on our wholesale website where salon professionals can order.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a stylist or brand trying to make his or her voice stand out from the crowd?
Stay consumer-centric and embrace the relationship between the stylist and salon-goer. We pride ourselves on having products for everyone – from the Millennial with the best Balayage, Blorange, or Ombre to her mom and grandmother, dpHUE’s target consumer is anyone who colors their hair in a salon and experiences the same frustrations as their hair color fades or changes between appointments. Our products help keep that salon perfect color looking fresh until next color appointment.
Name 3 traits of successful brands.
– Merging consumer and professional need-states
– Operational and marketing excellence
– Determined yet patient
What is your favorite method to increase brand visibility (social media, trade shows, etc.)? Why?
Our Chief Experience Officer, Justin Anderson, is a celebrity colorist in Los Angeles. We recently launched dpHUE House in West Hollywood, which is a brand experience space and content studio. Justin started inviting his clients and social media Influencers to the space about a month ago and we are quickly seeing our awareness grow via Instagram. So far, we have hosted Leighton Meester, Rita Ora, and Chelsea Handler, and influencers Chriselle, Nikki deRoast, and many more. Many salon professionals follow Justin and they are a key part of our community.
Are there any common mistakes you notice with companies/stylists in the early stages of branding?
Focus. It’s so easy to get distracted chasing opportunities or an aspiration that may not fit your brand mission and you end up taking your eye off what’s really important to your business. Stick to who you are!
What are you most proud of in terms of dpHUE?
Our dedicated executive team and staff and our dpHUE house in LA.
What’s next for dpHUE?
Continued strong growth driven by an amazing team and product innovation.
For more information on dpHUE visit www.dphue.com.