The hair coloring industry is in need of a makeover.
Beauty salons are fragmented, capital constrained and resistant to embracing technology. Stylists tend to store client records on index cards. As a result, clients’ hair coloring treatments are not always consistent, especially when stylists leave their salons.
Chicago-based SureTint Technologies remedies hair coloring mishaps with its LaRu software. Data that LaRu records includes desired service (e.g. full highlights), hair length, percent gray, and hair type (e.g. straight or wavy).
Such data is fed into LaRu’s algorithm that determines the exact batch sizes of coloring as well as the proportions of coloring products (e.g. developer, variety of colors, lighteners and bond-builders) that should be used in the formula to achieve the desired coloring results. (While not processed by the algorithm, LaRu also allows stylists to make note of each customers’ histories of hair treatments, products used and even pictures of their hair treatments.) The colorist dispenses the coloring products into a bowl that sits on a scale. The colorist continues squeezing the coloring tubes into the bowl until stop indicators illuminate, indicating when enough contents have been dispensed. In the event too much of one ingredient is dispensed, LaRu will recalculate how much of the other ingredients need to be dispensed in order to keep optimum ratios constant. Our research indicates that LaRu easily enables salons to reduce their expenditures on hair color by 20%.
SureTint has also developed a patented predictive modeling algorithm for achieving color conversion. Possessing this technology will enable a manufacturer of hair color to make the following pitch to salons: “Allow us to be the exclusive provider of hair color to your salon. Your stylists will be able to provide their customers with the same color treatments they have come to expect because our technology allows us to convert all of the hair color you have been purchasing from other manufacturers into our line of hair color. Instead of buying many scores of hair color tints from a variety of hair color producers, you will only need to buy a few dozen shades of color from us. You will still be able to achieve every hair color imaginable while saving a fortune in inventory.”
Capturing market share is very important for manufacturers of hair color because it is very hard for them to boost their revenues any other way. Most of the addressable market is currently being served and aging populations do not offer much in the way of demographic-driven growth potential. Also, salons are highly resistant to paying even a few extra pennies for tubes of color.
Not only should SureTint’s color conversion technology allow authorized color manufacturers to take share away from their rivals, but all of the data they upload from their affiliated salons that use LaRu should help them become much more efficient in terms of managing their production and supply chains. They might even be able to eliminate distributors. Access to reams of color usage data should also help color manufacturers detect trends, thereby avoiding stock-outs.
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