Hairbrained Q and A: Cory Couts and Trevor Attenborough at Global Zoom

Color Zoom gives brave contestants from around the globe an opportunity to step out from behind the chair and flex their creative muscles. But what Hb loves the most – what we can really get behind – is that this live completion is held at the Global Zoom event which also gives the international, craft hairdressing community an opportunity to come together and connect. From posh, swanky parties that are sprinkled throughout the weekend, to eye-popping stage presentations, Goldwell puts on a first-class affair.

As both a brand and a company, Kao – combining both Goldwell and KMS California – aims to ‘think hairdresser.’ Read on to get up-close with Trevor Attenborough, General Manager for North America at Kao USA, and Cory Couts, Global President, Salon Division for Kao Corporation – and discover the ideals that brought this unity-minded event to life.      

Q. What was Goldwell hoping to accomplish by bringing the Color Zoom competition to life?


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Trevor: It’s meant to be a marque image event for Goldwell. Originally it was designed as a place where hairdressers could aspire to for hair color, for recognition of craftsmanship. Over time, it’s become something that not only does that, it also provides salon teams a point of inspiration – something to aspire to; to become something, to do something different, creative and to be unique; all on an international stage.      

Q. Though the Global Zoom event is held at a destination location (this year, Stockholm!) Goldwell is using technology to engage at-home enthusiasts. Specifically, what methods are you using to reach them?

Trevor: There’s a ramp-up and there’s a lead up to Global  Zoom. Although it’s an event (a place), it’s meant to bring the image of the Goldwell brand to life in real, 3-D form. In that vein, we know that only 3,000 people can experience that. So, in the lead-up, we want to involve as many people as we can. Goldwell wants to give people the opportunity to participate in selecting their favorite artist-images – but really we’re giving them a chance to see what the event is about, what it means – even if they can’t physically attend. 

We also do live webcasts of the event itself, plus we throw parties, and even though at-home viewers can only attend virtually, they still get the opportunity to be a part of the energy that these events represent.  

But I think the way we involve a larger audience, really comes down to how we lead up to Global  Zoom. If a salon owner attends the event, and they have a staff of 15-20 stylists, typically not everyone is going to get to go. But they put together a variety of exciting programs (in the way of contests and incentives) to decide who is going to get to go. The whole salon can be a part of that process; they get to participate in various team building ways that  lead up to the event. 
So, we bring Global Zoom and the Color Zoom competition to life for a larger audience of stylists via education in the field (in-salon), live-webcasts – and of course – with trend forecasting for the coming year.   

Q. You stress the importance of social media. How do you think that social media can help to boost business within the industry, and how can it help individuals to grow their own personal brands?

Trevor: In the context of Color Zoom, this provides a platform for artists. In-salon artists can use the ‘theming,’ or the current year’s trend, to give their work a particular style. We’ve seen a lot of salon owners take advantage of that, particularly as it pertains to social media. We put a great deal of research and financial resources into our collections, and if owners properly leverage themselves, locally, they can create striking imagery. They can appear more professional, polished. They can use the Color Zoom collections to boost their business, and social media is a great venue for them to do this.       

Q. Color Zoom inspires stylists to reach beyond the rhetoric of daily, behind-the-chair work – but ultimately, the collections that international winners create are pace setting. How do these high-fashion looks translate, in-salon?  

Trevor: That really depends on the individual. I’ve heard it described as the cascading effect that you see in fashion. I know that the collections are presented to salons in a certain way, but the looks created at Color Zoom are what you might consider couture – something to aspire to – but not necessarily something that we would expect the average client to walk down the street wearing. As they reach the salon, the interpretation of the images from the collection ‘waterfalls’ down into something that’s usable, and something that’s wearable, everyday.    

Q. Global Zoom is an international event, and it unites hairdressers from around the globe. Over the course of the weekend, Goldwell orchestrates a number of events to help to bring the crowd together – but in particular – Goldwell, as a company touts: “We think stylist,” as it’s tagline. In what ways does the Global Zoom event unite stylists – but also how does it ‘think stylists?’ 

Cory: I think this event is the epitome of ‘we think stylist.’ It’s created around what stylists want: Stylists want a way to further their career, stylists want to display their art and to share it with the world, stylists love travel, they love recognition , and they love community – they love getting together. I think that this event encompasses all of those different things. Also, it gives them the ability to learn and to see things first. Those are all really great things for people. 

Also, I think that there are two tracks in the world. We’re all getting more virtually connected, but we still yearn for those ways to be physically in the same space, at the same time, and to share not only ideas but to share images and emotions – to connect. In my experience – because I’m really active on social media – coming to Global Zoom is a really interesting addition to that (virtual) experience. I get to carry on conversations that I’ve started online. It’s funny; there are times when you have physical relationships that turn virtual, or virtual relationships that turn physical; it’s interesting to see how all of that’s moving.          

Q. What can future contestants hope to gain by being a part of this Global event?

Cory: I think that there are two layers to that: Just being a competitor can give a stylist certain things. It give’s them structure, because it’s not just about creating a pretty picture and sending it in.  Stylists are required to learn about a trend, and submit a presentation. We give stylists the opportunity to channel their energy within a given set of parameters, and it takes discipline to do that. Images are being judged by how well stylists are able to execute a look, how creative they’ve been within these set boundaries. It’s not just prettiest wins.

This competition teaches a lot of things: it teaches a stylist how to overcome their fears, it teaches them how to be structured, it teaches a stylist how to have confidence in themselves and in their work.

If a stylist happens to win the Global Color Zoom competition, that victory will change their life. Our winners work with the best trend agencies, the best photographers, and they have brilliant creative direction from John Moroney, Global Creative Director in the Kao Salon Division.. In one year, they create a collection that will be taught around the world; they create the techniques, the looks and the color formulas. Then, they get to go onstage and share that collection with the world. They can take this experience and get to an entirely new point in their career.         

Q. Share the ways in which the Kao brands, Goldwell and KMS California, have reimagined themselves to reach the craft hairdressing community on an emotional level.

Cory: By thinking like a hairdresser, we need to know the hairdresser; we have to come at things like a hairdresser. We understand that hairdressers are not cookie-cutter, they’re not clones. It’s important to us to give our hairdressers what they want, so we went to them and asked them: “How do you work?” At KMS, we’re re-imagining ourselves, to help stylists to build their own style equation – because we now know, that’s what they want.

Ultimately, Goldwell and KMS want to get hairdressers excited; we want to engage them. If they’re excited about the images that you’re producing, about your packaging, about the architecture of your brand, it’s going to come through. That’s what works. If a hairdresser is excited about a product or a brand, the client is going to pick up on that, and they’re going to want to buy it – no sales tactics needed.   

All images courtesy of: Marie Claire Bozant

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