Beauty Store Business

MAY 2019

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A RICH HISTORY When World War II struck Europe, Dean's ambitious business plans had to be put on hold. However, during this time he was introduced to a revolutionary new material: nylon. After the war he relocated to England and began working with Imperical Chemical Industries, a chemical company in Welwyn Garden City, where he opened his first factory to create the Denman brush, which would now be made with nylon. In 1946, he opened Denman Products Limited with a wide variety of consumer and professional products, taking advantage of the innovation he discovered in the plastics and chemical industries. Twenty years later, Dean sold the business to a company called Lyndsay & Williams, which moved all operations to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The company eventually became Ulster Plastics and hit some troubled times amid a strained economic and political climate. It fell into receivership, and the Northern Ireland government approached the small Martin Rainey Plastics company to rescue the business in 1972. Rainey admits that back then, no one recognized the value of the brand. "Our background was plastics and engineering; we knew about the equipment, the people and the land, but we had no idea of the value of Denman until some outside companies sought to buy the tools," he explains. "Their interest sparked our interest, and we began to learn about the hairdressing industry." Once a business-to-business company, execs initiated conversations with leading stylists of the day, including Freddie French and Vidal Sassoon, who used the Denman D4 Styling Brush to help create modern hairdressing. "In 1972, we attended our first Salon Exhibition in London, and we haven't missed one since," Rainey notes. "Our first demonstrator was Andrew Collinge's father, Peter, and we've had the good fortune to work with Joshua Galvin, Nicholas French, Tony Mascolo and too many superstar hairdressers to mention." As Sassoon's approach gained attention, Denman's sales followed suit. By the 1980s, Denman was exporting to Japan; American interest was frenzied when the company's first U.S. office opened in Boston in 1990. Today, Denman ships to more than 60 countries around the world, with another office in Holland to meet European and Asian demand. GROUP THINK Denman employs a group business structure, with the Denroy Group (headed by Rainey) holding three subsidiaries: Denman International (global sales and marketing for Denman, headed by Philip Steele); Denman Inc. (sales and marketing for the United States, headed by Victoria Rainey Fishman); and Denroy Plastics, a leading manufacturer in precision plastics injection moldings (which specializes in the aerospace and defense industries alongside Denman Manufacturing). "Denroy Plastics is our go-to manufacturing partner, producing almost 90 percent of our range from our facility in Bangor," Fishman details. "Denroy does not just make brushes for us; they work collaboratively with us and leading stylists to refine the product brief and choose best-in-class materials and processes." While the core of its business is the iconic Denman Styling Brush, the company has expanded its range to embrace trends–think paddles, thermoceramic radials, and further innovations on consumer brush ranges like Gentle brushes and the Tangle Tamer Ultra. "But the Denman Styling Brush remains the top seller, we believe, because its use is constantly changing in the hands of the individual," Rainey says. "Today, a lot of our growth is fueled by the natural hair community, who use the brush to define their wet curls. A brush that was created over 80 years ago still has the power to transform today!" While staying true to its legacy of innovation, Rainey stresses the importance of also retaining its founding values–and never relying on its past to secure the future. For example, its commitment to quality, beautystorebusi ness.com | May 2019 23 Jack Dean and an early Denman D3 Styling Brush. The popular "bob" styled with a Denman D3 Styling Brush. "It's important not to assume what our customers need, but to identify what they actually need." —Victoria Rainey Fishman CEO, Denman Inc.

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