- Shane Wolf is the worldwide general manager of L’Oréal brands Redken, Pureology, and Mizani, as well as the Founder and “Lead Farmhand” of the mission-driven beauty brand Seed Phytonutrients, a line of hair, skin, and body products that launched in the United States on Earth Day in April 2018.
Based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the mission of this disruptive and innovative beauty brand is to plant the seeds of health, well-being, and sustainability for future generations. To protect seeds from over-commercialization, the brand partners with independent American organic farmers to harness the power of local seed varieties, using their extracts to create the line of elevated natural products. The brand is also committed to an agenda of environmental sustainability, bringing to market the first shower-friendly paper bottles made from 100% recycled packaging. Through its mission, Seed Phytonutrients aims to create an environment of harmonious beauty, agriculture, and sustainable business.
Let’s start with Redken: can you tell us more about the brand?
Shane Wolf: Redken is a brand with very clear brand values. What we stand for is inspiration, fashion and innovation. We get our inspiration from New York City, from our home, and from the Salon community, of course. In addition to that, we also have a professional commitment, which is that we strive to help every hairdresser in the world to learn better because when hairdressers learn better, they can earn a better living and when they earn a better living, they can live their best life. So the brand itself has a very strong DNA and a very clear position and that helps to propel us.
So what are the next challenges for Redken in the coming months?
S.W: Historically, a professional brand was defined by where it was sold; exclusively in salons. But, today that’s no longer the case. Consumers buy professional products from many different venues. And so, our challenge, and certainly at Redken, is to drive very much the professional difference, the professional edge of our brand, to ensure that we’re bringing products and services that will help grow the salons’ business.
You have started recently a very personal project within L’Oréal, with the launch of Seed Phytonutrient. It is a sustainable line of hair, face, and body care products. Can you tell us your founding story?
S.W: It’s very personal to me. It was actually the perfect intersection of my lifestyle, which is a very natural and sustainable lifestyle. When I’m not in NYC, I actually live on an organic farm in Pennsylvania. So this side of myself intersected with a business opportunity. We wanted to go a step beyond natural and really push the sustainability mission as a big believer. So we created the industry’s first shower’s safe paper bottle which uses 60% less plastic than a standard bottle of a product like shampoo. And this has been a really amazing mission that a small team of people has worked on, focusing on four key obsessions. The first is obviously sustainability and the packaging. The second is a naturality, bringing the most effective formulas that we could bring at the highest level of natural ingredients. The third is around helping to sustain the livelihood of independent American organic farmers. And the fourth was helping to protect seeds from over-commercialization. Knowing that 94% of seed varieties have been lost over the last 100 years.
You have just started with this brand. What are you witnessing? It’s only been a few weeks, but what are you seeing already?
S.W: What we’re seeing is high level of engagement from consumers. We’re about 21,000 followers on Instagram which is a really great start. My other big measure of success is the interest that has been shown inside L’Oréal by other employees and other leaders of other brands who say: what can we learn from this project in order to impregnate all of our brands at L’Oréal with another level of commitment to sustainability?
You have quite a hectic life and you have a lot of energy. How do you give your energy to all the different teams you manage?
S.W: Well, I’m super blessed because I have extraordinary teams. I believe very much in the spirit of our management principles here at L’Oréal and this idea of frame and trust. We have a very clear frame of our objectives, how we will achieve them and how we will measure them. And then I believe to empower my teams to go and do. As long as you are working in the frame that we have aligned on, then you can just be an entrepreneur and execute your plans. This allows me to move between functions and brands rather fluidly to see where I can bring value at different points as opposed to getting too deep into any one person’s business.