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Salon Selectives Brand ‘Shelved’ Again

Posted: December 10, 2008

Since the early 2008 relaunch of women’s hair care brand Salon Selectives, the line has once again been discontinued, according to a source. In the 1980s and ’90s, Salon Selectives, created by Helene Curtis Inc., reached its peak in popularity as a mass line of salon-quality shampoos, conditioners and more, offering a signature apple scent. At its peak, the brand had a 6.5% market share and annual sales totaling $275 million. While Unilever acquired the brand in 1996, its first discontinuation eight years later removed it from store shelves until Eugene Zeffren—the former president of Helene Curtis and now the CEO of Chicago’s entrepreneurial SBB, LLC—and his team researched, redesigned and relaunched the brand again in 2008.

“You don’t fit into a mold, so why should your hair?” The first thing Web users read when opening the still active Salon Selectives homepage targets their sense of individuality—a marketing concept expanded further by the brand’s packaging, with each bottle displaying the iconic phrase “customize your hair.” An interactive roulette wheel of sorts then invites Web visitors to mix and match their hair texture and unique needs with select products in the line for a customized look. Customization, after all, was the core concept of the newly relaunched brand, something which, apparently, the 80% of women who “remember the brand fondly,” according to GCI’s May 2008 interview with Zeffren, did not buy into as well as had been expected.

“When we acquired the brand, we were pretty certain that it would be successful, because everyone on our team had worked on it previously at Helene Curtis or Unilever, and we knew what a powerful brand it had been,” Zeffren said. “However, we did do consumer research to confirm the strength of the brand equity and distinctiveness of the brand’s core positioning.”

While no official statement has been released as to why the brand has been discontinued a second time, it may have something to do with the downturn of the U.S. economy squeezing consumers’ already tight wallets. In addition, instead of a celebrity spokesperson, Zeffren chose a marketing campaign represented by models embodying Salon Selectives’ consumers themselves—stylish, confident and approachable women. But for now, those brand loyalists may want to stock up on their favorite hair care products. Although still available on some shelves in U.S. food, drug and mass market retailers, Salon Selectives won’t be there for long.