Back in 2008, local entrepreneur Scott Michaels decided to take the bold step of expanding further than his ‘Cutting Rooms’ hair salon based in Penny Street, Lancaster and delve into the elusive word of the hair product market.
Starting from the bottom as every successful business must do, Scott saw the creation of his male hair product brand ‘Hairbond’ and began to sell it, in small quantities, from his parent’s garage. It was still early days yet with a desire for success and visions of one day competing against the big sharks of the hair product world, the ‘Hairbond’ movement began to take shape. Fast-forward five years to present day and Hairbond has grown from essentially nothing, to be stocked in over 500 independent UK hair salons.
The transition and vast growth has seen a product once sold only locally, now exporting to more than 20 international distributers including the USA, Singapore and even down under in Australia. So what makes up the Hairbond identity that has taken the fashion world by storm and found a very comfortable niche within the male grooming market? The Hairbond collection comprises of four main products, Moulder, Sculptor, Distorter and Shaper; each with varying textures, finishes and hold strength depending upon the users type of hair. Priding itself on its methodology of ‘sticking to its roots’, the products remain truly and traditionally British, produced locally in the Morecambe area and sourced completely from the UK.
The company rightly now promote themselves as ‘the UK’s fastest growing hairstyling brand’ and with such strong statistics and figures in their favour, it would be increasingly difficult to dispute this. But what would a brand, confident of its own position within the fashion industry, be without legitimate backing from high profile names who have chosen to make the products their must-have grooming necessity? Well, after hoards of celebrities offering their words of approval via social media, those including Manchester United footballer Phil Jones, BBC TV presenter Dan Walker and MTV reality star James Tinsdale to name but a few, it appears the Hairbond brand is letting its ever growing reputation do the talking. If it ever needed confirming, this rise in status was ultimately clarified in July 2013 when Michaels announced his first official ‘Hairbond ambassador’ in the form of Lancashire and England pace-bowler James Anderson; one of the nation’s leading figures in the world of cricket. Such a high profile coup simultaneously signalled a huge statement of intent from the Hairbond base, throwing down the gauntlet for the rest of the hair-product industry. Additionally this also portrayed the sheer volume of progression from 5 years previous, whereby negotiating a top British athlete to promote his traditionally British brand could have been something only in Michaels’ wildest dreams.
So how successful are the products? Taking one of the best sellers for instance; hair shaper ‘toffee’, given its name due to both its extensively strong hold and its distinctive aroma of butterscotch toffee, sets a good precedent for the consistency and professionalism of the Hairbond range. With a maximum 5-star hold strength rating, the product sells no red herring when it assures that hair will be kept in style and in place, no matter what the conditions. Best suiting those of a finer density of hair, the Hairbond shaper affords a strong, textured finish with a slight mirrored shine. Living up to its name, the Shaper wastes no time in allowing user to shape hair into a variety of styles with only a small amount needed for application, a factor which confirms both the professional standard of the product and additionally goes some way to justifying its value for money. Once styled, the strong hold of Shaper locks style in place whilst consistently giving off wafts of toffee-vanilla scent, not a fragrance automatically associated with hair-grooming products yet a successful gamble nonetheless.
Despite its monumental rise and rapid success, it is still early days for Michaels and his Hairbond collection, ever seeking to expand into furthering areas of the hair product industry. If one thing is for certain though, this story clearly portrays the ability to succeed in a highly competitive industry, simply by sheer determination and perseverance. If in years to come, Hairbond of Lancaster is standing alongside names such as Valentino of Milan as part of an ensemble of grooming/appearance product necessities, it would be hard for any Lancaster student not to feel a humbling warmth of a product created on our very doorstep conquering on a global scale.