What's Actually Happening with Conair's Haircare Portfolio

(Beauty Quest Group)

This summer, Conair's BaBylissPRO professional liquids division was sold to Transom Capital Group, and became its own entity called Beauty Quest Group. So, what does this mean for the brands? John Costanza, CEO of Beauty Quest Group, and Patti Rullo, senior director of marketing for Beauty Quest Group, fill us in on what this means for the beauty pro and the consumer.

What was the main driver for separating the liquids division? 
John Costanza: 
Since the founding father, Mr. [Leandro] Rizzuto Sr., passed on, the family took over the business, and they said, this is our chance to be leaner and more efficient; we need to go back to our core competencies, which is everything corded and accessories for corded goods. That could mean a blow-dryer, a flat-iron, a coffee pot, or brushes and accessories for tools. The one area that they felt they never really focused on as much as they should have was the liquid side. It was almost like a stepchild of the company. They thought that by divesting it, another owner would see the opportunity and expertise in that area, and independently focus on it. 

How will this better serve the professional beauty industry? 
Patti Rullo: It’ll help us be a lot quicker to get to market with new items. We’ll be able to focus on what we think our portfolio is missing and what new trends we want to be part of, and we’ll have the autonomy to act more quickly and more efficiently and make products that relate back to what colorists and stylists want.  


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JC: Creating the product from scratch to finish has always been a big stumbling block for us. It’s usually not the first focus for the company because there’s always capital expenditures that come with it. Now, there’s nothing holding us back. Many people don’t know this, but we have a private label arm that does very well. We’re very particular about the customers that we approach, and we have the availability to become a full-service provider for any private label customer. The only thing we don’t manufacture is haircolor.  

What are some of those trends you want to develop product for?  
PR: The 3-free is really big right now, but products that actually perform—sulfate-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free, gluten-free. Another big trend is taking food-inspired ingredients and incorporating them into a product that benefits hair or color–something like quinoa for color protection or honey for smoothing. 

JC: We also have to look at some of the trends we haven’t captured. We haven’t done much on the curl or blonding category, we’re just scratching the surface on texture, and we're focusing more on men's as well. It’s our time to shine. Our vision is to become a very agile beauty company that’s right for the professional but also for the consumer. The core competency in professionals has always been the service. So, we need to make sure that we do a good job supporting the service end of the journey. For the professional it’s, do we have professional tools that they can use in a salon on a day-to-day basis without damaging the hair? Do we have the right products like haircolor and treatments that they can use at their station or their backbar? Just like most brands, if it starts resonating with professionals, then the consumers will want a take-home product, and we have to make sure we do a good job translating the two.