Oscar Blandi is not only a bustling Madison Avenue salon where the likes of Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, Katie Holmes and Jessica Alba get their hair done, but it's also one of the world's leading luxury haircare product brands. We stopped by the TPR Holdings office, which owns the international brand, to meet with Oscar Blandi director of product development Gina Guercia for a behind the scenes look at where all the glossy magic happens.
“I’ve been with Oscar Blandi forever. I started in the salon as an assistant in 2001 and have worked my way up. Now I head product development, but I also work as a stylist. I just signed with Top 5 Management. It’s very important for me to keep working so I can get consumer feedback and stay on top of/quickly react to trends.”
“We use the office as a working lab. TPR has so many savvy women working here – why not use them to test our products? We’re very particular about our products. It can take two years to launch one and it’s not uncommon for a single product to go through 20 iterations. We’ll also shoot tutorials for our social media outlets here. Those three pods that look like eye shadow are going to be launching in the coming months. They’re hair shadows for people to fill in thinning areas or to touch up their roots. You can also see some of our lab samples on this table, a compact – we’re toying with different delivery systems for our ever-popular dry shampoo – and some hair accessories.”
“As of now, the only hair accessory Oscar Blandi makes is a styling pin. It actually started as a gift with purchase, but it was so popular that we made it a permanent item. It comes with a lookbook that outlines how to create five of Oscar Blandi’s signature looks. It’s very in line with our philosophy; we want to empower women at home to do their own hair so we’re always trying to be as consumer friendly as possible. They’re so many great trends right now, like braids, that we’re hoping to address via these hair accessories we’re developing.”
“These are some lab and fragrance samples. We just started rolling out our new product rebrand. It’s happening in phases, but it should be complete in Q1 of 2015. The whole line will be brown and gold and grouped into one of six collections plus a hairspray. Each collection will have a different color band to make it easy for consumers to shop and its own scent. So many people buy haircare based on the scent alone so fragrance is extremely important to us. Right now we're testing about 10 products for each collection and maybe one out of those 10 will actually make it into production!”
“These are other products I’m testing. TPR owns a bunch of different brands so we are always helping each other out by testing each other’s products. I spend most of my days working from here, but I’m at our labs – we work with several – about once every two weeks and I also work from various shoot locations when I’m doing styling work.”
“These are color swatches because I was choosing the colors for the packaging we’re going to use for those hair shadows.”
“These are two of my mood boards. It’s so important that we’re always following and reacting to trends. We’re continually pushing out content via our social media channels and this keeps us inspired.”
“A good friend of mine made those two pieces. She’s a blogger and an artist – I’m obsessed with her stuff. Her blog is called Made by Girl. I thought the pieces fit in perfectly since they’re gold, which ties into our brand—we’re obsessed with gold! As for the 'braids' and 'texture,' braids are a huge trend that we’re focusing on at the moment and texture is classic Oscar Blandi. We just did Olivia Wilde’s hair for the Golden Globes and it exemplified the style we love here – glamorous, but a little bit undone.”
"I'm very visual, but I use the notebook to write down things in meetings."
“I went to Mexico for a personal appearance with Oscar Blandi and while there I worked on this shoot with Elle Mexico. It turned out great! I’m very grateful that they also tagged our products.”
“I love our new dry conditioner and this is one of my favorite editorials with it because they sketched it!”
“We’ve expanded globally thanks to Sephora. It’s very interesting to see which products sell better where. For example, in Mexico and Brazil the women love our hairsprays because they’re less into trend-driven products. Singapore women love our shine enhancing products. Each market gets a customized assortment.”
“This is our bestselling Pronto collection. Our newest product is the dry conditioner.”
"These are some products from Cargo, Freeze 24/7 and a few other brands. Like I said, I'm so fortunate to work in an environment where I'm surrounded by so many amazing brands. We all try to support each other when it comes to testing and wearing each other's products."