Management Practices

Contemplating the Men's Market with Vaughn Acord

Stacey Soble | March 17, 2016 | 11:01 AM

At America’s Beauty Show to debut V76’s new packaging, Vaughn Acord took a moment to step away from the busy show floor to discuss the opportunity men present salons with Salon Today’s Stacey Soble via Periscope. Below are some snippets of that conversation, plus you can view the Periscope video.

On the rebranding of V76…
Acord: “It’s something that’s a little more representative of who I am, and something that was more legible. The color palette going into the browns, the blacks and the whites simplifies things. I’ve always liked the contrast with matte and shiny, uptown and downtown and work and play. If you look really closely, you’ll see the little contrasts that I felt like celebrating in the packaging.”

On how male clients differ from female ones…
Acord: “Fragrance has a lot to do with drawing them in. When you make a product that is specifically for a guy, they like that. They like to know this is meant for them and if women want to borrow it when they’re not looking, that’s OK. When guys are reaching into the salons or barbershops for products, they like to know these products were thought out for a guy from a guy that’s been doing this for a long time.”

On driving men into the salon…
Acord: “It’s never been more OK for guys to care about all this stuff. There was a stigma attached to a guy seeking out services at one time, but that doesn’t exist anymore. In most places we’ve frequented in the past there are partners—like a car dealer or brewery or a chef—where you can work together in creating these evening events that bring men into the salon.  And, more and more salons are developing areas that are curated to men, whether a retail area or a service area.”

On elevating the price point on men's services…
Acord: “The first start is the consultation--take it seriously and get to know their needs. The shampoo should be an experience, maybe it’s aromatherapy or a hot towel that goes beyond the shampoo. Taking something as simple as a sanitary neck strip and wrapping it around someone’s neck whose hair you’ve been cutting for years but you’ve never done that. All of a sudden there’s a seriousness that’s attached to it. Finishing with a powder, finishing with ear hair, nose hair, eye brows—all of these little things when you look at grooming a guy elevates the service. When you add that experience, it becomes much more of a rich place for guys who aren’t getting those answers anywhere else. “

On color trends for men…
Acord: “When I do education and ask if men should color their hair, half the class will say, 'Yes,' and half will say, 'No.' So you have to be more specific, for example whether guys should color their gray hair, should they be getting highlights, should they enhance their reds? I think it’s hard to generally answer the question if men should color their hair. Some men gray beautifully and they want that, they feel they’ve earned it. Others may be in the spotlight or performers who will look better and stronger and feel more confident while coloring their hair. So it just depends. You can look at a woman and say she needs color or she just got extensions or she’s gotten Botox, right? But when you’re dealing with a guy and it’s exposed that he has a toupee on, or he’s had hair restoration, he’s coloring his hair or he’s had some facial work done and it’s obvious, the backlash is twice as hard. Guys want all these things, they don’t want to age any more than women do, they want to look great. But they don’t want want anyone knowing about it. That’s the difference between men and women.”

On new products in the line….
Acord: “We came with a tonic, a very scalp-invigorating tonic that’s great for thinning hair and scalp issues. We also came out with a cream formulation of our shave cream. We still have the award-winning aerosol foam, but we took that formulation and put that into a cream, too.”

On studying men’s trends…
Acord: “I study whether the the trend is wearing them or they are wearing the trend. Whether it’s believable and I stand for that. As extreme as the hair can be, you want the man to get up and be wearing the trend. It has to be real and believable and current.”

On his personal inspiration…
Acord: “I am inspired by music and the streets of New York, and luckily I live there. Music is a canvas where people really push the limits.”


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