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Profile: Ellin LaVar - Banishing Bad Hair Days

Ellin LaVar
Back to the March Issue

Everyone has had a bad hair day. But few have used it to guide their choice in career. “Personal hair trauma inspired me to enter the hair care industry,” said Ellin LaVar, senior vice president of product development for LaVar Cosmetics. “When I was young, I received a bad perm. All of my hair fell out, so my mother made me wear a wig. That experience made me figure out how to grow my hair back.”

That desire was tempered with an entrepreneurial spirit. At age 12, she was charging $4 a head for braids in a Mt. Vernon, New York, hair salon. As her skills grew, LaVar decided to open her own salon, LaVar Hair Designs, in Manhattan. “I want my clients to experience a relaxed and friendly atmosphere when they are in my salon. When they leave, they should feel beautiful and satisfied,” said LaVar.

Throughout her career, LaVar has realized that her hair trauma from childhood was not unique. Nationwide research confirms that there is a consumer base with a high level of interest in products formulated for women with textured, difficult to manage hair at mass market price points. “Ellin LaVar Textures is designed specifically for the needs of anyone with challenged or textured hair—curly, course, frizzy or hard-to-manage hair,” said LaVar.

According to LaVar, approximately 40% of women believe their hair falls into one of those categories, but have yet to find an effective product solution at the mass market level. “Hair care products designed for all hair types simply don’t work for women with textured hair. Utilizing the power of the LV-5 complex, Ellin LaVar Textures create healthier-looking textured hair by smoothing the cuticle and reducing the frizz,” explained LaVar. Designed by LaVar, the LV-5 complex contains natural, renewable ingredients sourced from rainforests.

LaVar recently signed an agreement with CVS/pharmacy, making the chain the exclusive distributor of Ellin LaVar Textures. Distribution will include all 6,200 doors, with additional availability through  “I love the personal working relationship they have with their proprietary brands. They create great-looking displays and advertise in a way that sets them apart from all other retailers. (CVS’) trained beauty advisors will help to educate both consumers and other store personnel as to the benefits of my line,” said LaVar. “The deal enables me to enhance the growth of the collection and make the entire line available to many more consumers nationwide.”
Currently, the line includes 12 SKUs, with prices ranging from $7.99 to $9.99. “This is a prestige line of hair care products,” said LaVar. “Only through the collaborative effort of CVS can we make them available at such affordable prices.”

For LaVar, the increased distribution will continue her quest to end bad hair days. “I know that the store support will provide invaluable opportunities to reach customers that might otherwise not be able to understand or appreciate my product offerings.”
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