Following on from our interview with Andrew Dale, CEO and Founder of Unite, we want to know who the Unite family actually are, and how do you get to join the family.
Who are the Unite family?
Anyone who uses the brand. All hairdressers are welcome to our education which offers cutting, styling, finishing training on Unite TV. We also have Runway Ready which helps us prepare teams for fashion weeks and the big one for me is Paramount Business.
About 12 years ago I wrote a manual for hairdressers about how to work with your salon building in the brand. Do you work in the brand or on the brand? Most people tend to work in it rather than on it so can’t see what’s happening. I always move away from using the term ‘salon’ or ‘business’ and use the word ‘brand’ because brands are exciting.
I’ve recently held a UK Paramount Business course in June and plan to be back next June for another. Following this I will be launching Paramount Leadership in September which will offer both groups the option to progress onto this course. Why leadership? Because you have to be a leader for people to follow you.
What is Unite’s position in both the professional and fashion worlds?
I’ve always looked Unite as part of the fashion industry rather than beauty. The way we look and dress is fashion. It’s a fashion industry, this is why we connect with designers and work with them on fashion weeks. I’ve always seen it as a fashion brand.
How was Runway Ready born?
It was more Gary Baker than me, but we had been speaking about how great of an opportunity it would be for a hairdresser in a suburban salon who has the dream of working backstage – and making it happen for them. Gary put the course together, he has a timer on wall and they have to create a certain look in this time. He goes hard on them! At the end of the two days they are usually shell-shocked but have the ability to work backstage.
Gary creates a backstage environment which is why we call it Runway Ready. The Unite hair team is offered 200+ fashion shows a year. Miami Swim Week this year was one of the best shows, but hard. The guys were starting at 2pm and finishing at 3am! Gary lost his voice and our camera man was drained – we film everything.
We already have New York and London shows booked for September. We usually have 20-40 hairdressers on the team at shows, which are usually headed up by Gary Baker or Narad Kutowaroo, or Brendan O’Sullivan. The three guys are amazing and great hairdressers but also brilliant to work with.
I hate the primadona hairdresser. We’re all in this together, we come from a humble background and it should stay like that.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
That I’m still happily married? Unite is my biggest achievement. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and it’s grown organically into 30 countries and into a 65,000 sq. ft bulilding. Selena Gomez recently posted on social media about Unite – this was not something that was paid for! We received 1 billion impressions off the back of it and our following grew over 1,000 in just 24 hours! There are some really great hairdressers out their using the brand on celebrity clients and we are fortunate they achieve such beautiful looks using the products.
I’m also really proud about what Unite does and how it’s growing. We are in our 19th year and grew over 30% last year. We also help other industries, I’m a huge animal lover and my wife and I rescue pitbulls. We work with soldiers/war veterans with PTSD and brain damage who can’t survive without a dog. We adopt a young dog from a shelter who then goes through 12-18 months training and at the end is paired with a veteran.
Back when we were in the office we used to have 10-12 dogs in there each day and our Unite family have helped to name the dogs on Instagram.
What are you most proud of about the brand?
The integrity of who we are and what we do. Performance of brand is important and we don’t bring out a product because the industry says so, we bring it out because it works.
My President and COO started the company with me and my CFO worked with me when I had my salons; so we’ve worked together for over 20 years.
The staff turnover is low and many employees reach anniversary milestones with us, whilst others have had a great career journey and progressed to other areas. That’s why I call them the Unite family.
Learn more by visiting Lacey’s Distribution.
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