Beauty Store Business

SEP 2017

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34 September 2017 | beautystorebusiness.com MODEL PORTFOLIO Napolitano may have once seemed like an unlikely haircare innovator; after graduat- ing from Rutgers with a mass commu- nications/journalism degree, he plunged into marketing and sales for the then- nascent computer industry. His mother also worked in sales at wig manufacturer Eva Gabor International. By 1980, mother and son decided to join forces and take a chance on their own venture, American Hairlines. "We decided to start a business from ground zero," Napolitano says. "We jumped into the deep end and learned everything really fast!" With few employees on hand, he did it all—packing boxes, monitoring finances, drumming up business, and often forgoing a paycheck. When he purchased Eva Gabor International, he didn't acquire a broad-based company with a deep portfolio; Napolitano laughs remembering the company's reputation as a provider of "little old lady wigs." Faced with the daunting task of com- pletely reinventing the brand, Napolitano renamed Eva Gabor International in 1996 to HairUWear, Inc., intending to turn the business into a multi-branded, fashion- focused company. The following year, Great Lengths USA, which provides professional hair extensions made from 100-percent human hair of guaranteed origin, was added to the fray—along with a comprehen- sive three-day certification program for stylists throughout the nation. In 1998, the Raquel Welch Signature Collection marked its first celebrity rollout, featur- ing the Hollywood icon as the muse and creative director promoting the fashion- forward wigs and hairpieces. HairUWear also kicked off an onslaught of ads and marketing campaigns to create customer awareness, which propelled the busi- ness to expand its portfolio. Today, the company encompasses a range of brands to meet just about anyone's needs. In addition to Great Lengths and Welch's collection, the company boasts: American Hairlines: Natural Advan- tage, Virtual Reality and Virtuesse provide nonsurgical hair replacement systems for men and women. Hair2wear: The Christie Brinkley Col- lection promises supermodel hair, from clip-in extensions and perfect ponytails to camera-ready wigs and other designs. Hairdo: It's "style at the speed of life," sans commitment—think clip-in exten- sions, ponytails, wraps, wigs and more. Gabor: This go-to women's hairstyle collection features effortlessly wearable looks and modern classics inspired by salon stylists' most popular cuts. HairUWear Professional: Devel- oped for haircare professionals by industry experts, this high-quality, non- permanent hair extension program is exclusively offered in the professional market to build service revenue for salons and stylists. POP by Hairdo: With affordable, easy-wear options, POP "flips the script" on basic hair, offering looks from boho braids and shiny metallic trends to beauty-queen topknots. Napolitano continues to build his family company's vision: inspiring women and men worldwide to discover the pos- sibilities of alternative hair, and bringing together the best stylists, designers and artistic talent to innovate and create tomorrow's looks. "Being a family busi- ness is our culture; though we've grown tenfold, we've maintained the way we operate," Napolitano notes. "And I like the power and flexibility to do what I want!" "Everyone thought I was crazy; in 1997, there was virtually no hair extension business in the United States, outside the ethnic markets. But I didn't believe that." The graduated tones of Gabor's wigs mimic the look of natural hair. Simple and easy, these wigs and hairpieces make beautiful hair attainable every day. Hairdo's clip-in extensions and wigs. Courtesy of HairUWear

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