In 1980 two friends were inspired to create a company that would support the success of hairdressers and provide luxury hair care at an affordable price. Paul Mitchell and John Paul DeJoria founded Paul Mitchell... and - well, the rest is history! 34 years later we sat down in L.A. with Angus Mitchell, son of Paul and now co-owner, for an exclusive interview about his career, inspiration, and the exciting new ventures for the brand!
What's in store for Paul Mitchell this year?
We have a new commercial we are working on for late fall 2015. We have a new shampoo for our Mitch line called 'Heavy Hitter' coming out in May - it smells fantastic... like refreshing cedar and agave scent – and leaves hair smelling great. It's magical and we are very excited about it. We had huge success with Neuro last year and we still have so much more to look forward to in our work on the electronic side with new tools!
How do Neuro and Pro Tools differ?
Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Collection features exclusive Express Ion Complex – the most advanced ionic technology available. This collection of lightweight dryers, irons and brushes offers great retail opportunities to dramatically increase Take Home revenues. Neuro Tools are precision instruments for professional stylists. Key features include an ultra-sensitive SmartSence microchip that monitors iron temperature as you style and premium IsoTherm titanium barrels and plates for superior, even heat; the ultra-smooth plates glide through hair in one effortless pass. Neuro Tools are meticulously crafted in a technologically advanced facility to meet the highest standards in the industry. Moreover, we are coming out with new innovative tools – like Neuro Cell. The technology in the Neuro Cell is like nothing you've seen before. There's a microheater built inside every roller- the rollers stay heated while they're in the hair, so the curls last. It takes as little as 8 seconds to get hot, and it stays hot for fifteen minutes. Plus, it's a much sexier appearance than the traditional granny roller set we all know!
Everyone is always anticipating new colors from Paul Mitchell! Any news there?
The new colors are all about visual color celebration. We are strongly committed as a company to growing our color business because our main objective is to increase service revenue. We're helping create volume in numbers for salons. Our color commitment is undying, and every show we do is always focused on it. We always try to exaggerate color in our shows and then the focus goes to the haircuts and structure and inspiration. We have the Pearl Natural Series coming out this May, which features five cool, smoky tones that are ideal for neutralizing warmth. We just launched Shines XG. It's been in Europe for about one year now.
How did you become so big in the business?
I started beauty school in 1992. I decided to become a beach boy and I worked in a hair salon back in Hawaii right by the beach. I would have three clients a day and then just go to the beach! I started to get sidetracked of course, and realized if I really wanted to get serious about this career I had to make a change. So I flew back to LA and then I went to work for Vidal Sassoon. I worked at Vidal Sassoon for three years, between the salon and the school, and then I got a call from Richard Dalton, who was Princess Diana's hairstylist. He said to me, "Angus what is your last name?" I said, "Mitchell" and he said, "That's right-you get yourself back to your company." 1997 was when I got involved heavily and it has been a truly amazing career.
Can you recall the turning point in your career?
I can't really pinpoint when my role changed within the company. I just take it day by day, and I feel very very blessed and very lucky. I don't take anything for granted. I don't think of myself as an owner. I think of myself as a team player. That's what makes our company so unique. Everyone is a team player. We are always collaborating together.
How does is feel to work with and be surrounded by such talented people?
It makes us push ourselves. It's important to be around someone who is better than you, because it makes you want to be better, too. I think that's what is really magical. One thing that's unique about us is that we don't just come together for a shoot… we're together a lot! The whole team works together all the time. We have so many conversations about our collections and our ideas. I'm very present in the company. We are very lucky that we are able to spend a lot of time together. Our team is connected and our job is our passion, we are entirely consumed by it! We're a relationship company. There's nobody who's above another person and our guru will always be Paul Mitchell.
What's your process for finding your inspiration for a certain collection?
We are influenced by what's going on outside, seeing what is working, inspiring success. One collection I just did was creases & shadows, I was inspired by creases in paper, metal, etc. and the shadows on the creases. Something just as simple as that can be inspiring.
What's the company's goal for education?
We want to open 200 schools; we now have 111. We teach in a very positive light. We don't call them students, we call them future professionals. Our instructors are not teachers, but learning leaders. To me, our schools are the Harvard of beauty schools, because we really focus on styling, cutting, and coloring hair – as well as how to become successful in business! Our kids are leaving our schools driven. Of course we want to keep expanding our schools! It just so happens that our Slovenian partners, who have great education and are fantastic hairstylists themselves, were the first to take that international lead. Taiwan is probably next. We're slowly but surely getting to our 200 mark!
How about a sneak peek of the next Gathering?
We put a lot of work into our Gathering – we don't ever want them to be touristy. We always put something great together, that at times seems dangerous and crazy. One year I had to train for months to do a Cirque-du-Soleil style entrance – because we want them to be fun! After that they told me, next year we are going to launch you out of a cannon! So last year they launched me out of the floor! I never say no to anything, I trust everyone in our company. Our gatherings are remarkable for me; even though Paul Mitchell the man is not here with us anymore, he is still here in his vision – and his vision lives because of all the people who believed in him and continue to believe in him, and all of us.