New Frontiers: Pat Parenty

Pat Parenty is President of the Professional Products Division, L’Oréal USA, which means he’s responsible for all 11 brands, including Redken, Pureology, Matrix and L’Oréal Professionnel, plus SalonCentric, one of the largest wholesale and beauty supply distributors in the United States. “The strategy for vertical integration into distribution has helped us in our ability to control our business from the beginning of an idea to the execution at the salon level,” he says. “Because of SalonCentric, we now have insight directly into the relationship we have by brand and distribution straight into the salon and on to the consumer.” Parenty sees the market today as being more complicated and more competitive than ever before. With the channels blurring, it’s crucial that salon owners understand consumer behavior, which is enabled by technology that’s moving so fast it’s hard to keep up. “Our business is fragmented,” he says. “It’s made up of 200,000 independent business people. Being able to leverage the insights coming from how consumers are interacting with new technologies and how they’re applying that to what they buy is up to us.” The challenge for any manufacturer of professional products, he believes, is to help salons know what actions to take in order to keep up. “We have a huge responsibility to nurture the professional beauty industry,” he says. “We grow when it grows.” Transferring business information to the salon owner is paramount for the Professional Products Division, which offers a suite of tools, including the Summit Salon Program, as well as retailing, merchandising and rebooking processes. Lately the emphasis has been on helping salons understand the importance of using social media to market goods and services. Research shows that 80 percent of consumers now research online before they buy anything, and no one lets their fingers do the walking through the Yellow Pages anymore. “If you don’t offer online booking or are not using social media, you will not be found. That’s where your clients are looking for you,” says Parenty, who is convinced that the digital experience the salon is providing is part of the brick-and-mortar. “How they’re communicating to the consumer, whether they’re in the chair, on Facebook or on their website reading a blog, is a 360-degree experience. It all fits together.”