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A New Slant Salon Hair Care

By: Karen A. Newman
Posted: August 29, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.
ThermaFuse CEO Van Stamey

ThermaFuse CEO Van Stamey

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“Stripping the hair isn’t the kindest way to clean hair,” said Stamey. 8-Elixer is safe for use after chemical processes such as hair color and permanent waves, and is a great way to remove odor after a permanent wave, he said. It is described as a fermentation of water, sugar, molasses, barley malt, freeze-dried kelp and yeast. Nonpathogenic bacteria digest fatty acids and other compounds that naturally build up on hair.

Marathon Meetings

Another important element in the ThermaFuse line is the fragrance. Stamey and his team worked with Ungerer & Company to develop the scent. “These folks had worked with Joni Rae in the past, ” said Stamey. “They held a focus group on the fragrance in the center of a mall over two weekends.”

Joni Rae Russell is the owner of Joni Rae and Associates, an Encino, Calif., marketing and creative services firm that handles marketing, branding and package design, as well as advertising and public relations for beauty industry marketers. Knowing he was going to need marketing help to launch his line, Stamey took a friend’s advice to contact Russell. That was in November 2003. Less than two years later, ThermaFuse was launched.

Russell has been something of a secret weapon for the ThermaFuse brand. Stamey credits her as the driving force behind the packaging and marketing, and as the person who kept things rolling through some marathon conference calls and meetings. “We spent a month on the colors, a month on the copy and a month on the shape (of the bottle),” said Stamey. The longest conference call, to discuss the copy, was six hours long.

”When developing a new product, the most important phase is the upfront branding,” said Russell. “If you nail your positioning and brand personality, the packaging, marketing, creative, PR, etc., fall into place and just add to the strength of the brand.”