Max Amen, GM COTY Professional Beauty Australia & New Zealand

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing you in your new role as GM?

Coty is one of the world’s largest beauty companies with approximately $9 billion in revenue. When I joined Coty in 2016 as part of the merger between Coty and P&G Specialty Beauty business, I was excited to be part of the transformation. I was thrilled by the opportunity to lead the Professional Beauty business for Southeast Asia (then) and most recently for Australia and New Zealand, leveraging the very best of both Coty and P&G. Coty Professional Beauty has an iconic portfolio of leading brands for the hair salon industry, my priority is to strengthen the distribution channels and to invigorate the engagement levels with our customers.

From your perspective, where do you think the biggest growth areas in our industry lie?

Accessibility and personalisation are two trends that keep growing, no other industry can compete with the salon industry in understanding these trends. Consumers want to be emotionally connected to the products they buy, to feel that what they own is personal to them and that there is no longer a ‘one size fits all’ ethos within the fashion and beauty industry.

We have many products and services in Coty Professional Beauty that meet and can adapt to those needs. For example, our Wella Professionals seasonal colour collections are based on the latest trends, our Color Fresh CREATE range is fully intermixable (no two shades are the same) and our System Professional range champions EnergyCode™ Speed Mapping, a unique hair routine custom made for each person depending on the individual’s hair needs.

Our ability to adapt is something we are proud to continue and evolve. Innovations in digital and e-Commerce are also fast shifting the way brands communicate and engage with customers, and this is something that we are heavily investing in.

In what direction do you see Coty Professional Beauty heading?

Coty Professional Beauty has a portfolio of iconic brands in the salon channel and, as a business, we are fuelled by innovation, education and creativity. We are fully committed to the salon category and professionals, making investments and providing business support to delight and create value for Wella Salons. Beyond this, we also see huge potential to reach a consumer market, one step beyond our customers, which will, of course, support their growth even further.

Our passion is to see the beauty professionals’ (hair and nail) businesses grow, thrive and shine. If the consumers walking into our salons are already aware of our products and know what they are looking for, then half of the sale is already complete.

How important do you feel Hair Colour is to the overall product mix?

Colour is a leading part of our business and what Wella is well known for. Koleston Perfect has been our DNA colour product since the beginning and continues to evolve as we grow and expand. We talk colour through all of our campaigns, from products which protect colour to local brand partnerships and events such as Mardi Gras, celebrating #LOVEINCOLOUR. Our on-going partnership with the pride movement globally has colour messaging (visually and verbally) at the core, and our Mardi Gras activity has reached millions via a series of strategic partnerships and activations – colour is of great importance to us.

Lately, colour has soared to another level, enabling stylists to create some really amazing looks, do you see this trend continuing… and in what direction?

We definitely see this trend evolving. The launch of Color Fresh CREATE last year was a great spring-board for our stylists to tap into their creative skill set. We launched this alongside our Mardi Gras partnership, and tapped into a whole new audience of ‘DIY’ consumers; those who wanted something unique to them. As professionals and advocates in colour, Wella knows that no two colours are the same and recognises the personal touches that come with having a colour service.

Alongside this, we are seeing great demand for hair health and, as a population, we are becoming more ingredient-conscious. General consumer need for ‘wellness’ is soaring and we see the benefits of our latest Koleston Perfect with ME+ product finding a permanent home in this sector. In addition, our WellaPlex, Opti pH System strengthening treatment, delivers the best lifting results during lightening and colour services, reconstructing inner hair bonds for stronger coloured hair.

Do you have any future education platforms/ideas in mind that you can share with us?

Wella Education is the heartbeat of our industry and we will continue to invest in our education program to become more accessible, more diverse and, of course, available to anyone who needs it – at any time.

We are soon to introduce a new education experience to our portfolio, to really bring it to life. We know that anything and everything now lives online, so we will be investing here.

In August 2019 you will see a brand new take on our digital education format with the launch of a new men’s offering from within the wider Wella portfolio. I can’t say too much about this now… but stay tuned!

Looking into your crystal ball, what exciting product innovations do you see ahead for stylists in 2019?

Digital is disrupting the beauty industry in a big way. Buying behaviours have changed and this has had a profound impact on hairdressing services and traditions. Technology is changing everything about the way salons interact with their clients, from how to attract them, how to keep them loyal, to how to create that ‘individual experience’ in salon.

Globally, Wella has some of the best tech innovations rolling out in hair. From Color DJ to, most recently, the Wella Professionals Augmented Reality Smart Mirror, made in conjunction with CareOS. With this, personalisation goes above and beyond as clients are able to experience ‘try before you buy’ hair colour, with 360 degree review and the ability to browse past hair styles for inspiration.

Not only this, the Wella Professionals Smart Mirror covers everything from facial recognition to a curated feed of ‘trending’ content and styles. Stylists will also be able to keep in touch with their clients via the Smart Mirror between visits – to book appointments and discuss looks – which will strengthen the bond between client, stylist and salon, making their Wella service truly unique.

In addition to this, the launch of new Koleston Perfect with ME+ has been the biggest colour innovation in over a century. After seven years in production, and over 200 patents, the updated formula is our purest yet and has been created with ingredient-conscious clientele in mind. In addition to 100% grey coverage and balanced colour results with natural depth and shine, new Koleston Perfect with ME+ can offer less hair damage colour after colour** and up to five levels of lift. As far as product innovations go, this really is a game changer in professional hair colour.

** Versus previous Koleston Perfect. Valid for Koleston Perfect with Pure Balance Technology.