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Martina Brands: Preferred Colourist at Wella

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Based in Germany, Martina Brands is a detail driven individual who is closely connected with Wella’s Global Color and Styling Icons worldwide. As Wella Leader, she will now be launching the Luminary hair colour brand in India. She shares with Salon India, news on colour formulations and her plans for the brand

 

What made your association possible with Wella?
is one of the best companies in the world and their products are trusted across the globe. It has created a niche market for the best stylists and is the hub of education for people who have passion for hair. They are imparting training in the best possible way by hiring some of the most professional and skilled people.

 

How has your journey been so far?
My mother and sister were hairdressers, but I never wanted to be one. At that time, I had no other aspiration and watching my closest family members in this business, I formed an opinion that the job of a hairdresser was monotonous. However, I changed my mind when my mother used me as a model in one of the hair shoots at Wella. I had hands-on training at Wella consecutively for three years and I was so impressed that I decided to become a hairdresser myself. Immediately I enrolled into a hair school to get my master’s degree. It was a three month full-time course in Germany. The programme enabled me to run a salon business and of course, help me master the art of hairdressing.

 

How was the experience at Wella?
I think team work is very important. You cannot survive without being a good team player; you have to be able to form teams quickly and effectively. When I started in Wella in 1992, I worked as a trainer and a seminar leader. I led the studio, which consisted of over 16 trainers and was responsible for System Professionals in Germany. In 1998, I started working in a global capacity for Wella.

 

Today what are your responsibilities at Wella?
I am responsible for capability, which means building craftsmanship quality and the capability of our internal trainers around the globe. So I am travelling from one region to another and one country to another, training them on new products, concentrations and trends. I also hold seminars for our clients.

 

What were your key tasks as one of the founder members of this colour formulation?
It was very exciting yet challenging. It was great right from ideating the thought to building a whole new concept – testing and doing the actual trading of the tones, working closely with different hairdressers from around the world. Before convincing others about the product, we on our part, had to be convinced. So five years went into its research and once it was out, it was really amazing and took no time to establish its worth!

 

What are the strengths of this new formulation?
The colour sparkles with light reflects in the hair. Whatever shade you are using, it never looks artificial and gives an impression as if it is one’s natural hair colour. Our expectations from this formulation are really high and we hope to set the scene in the future.

 

What are the skills which you think are important to formulate new colours?
More than skills, craftsmanship is important. When we develop anything innovative and new with our scientists, we check many parameters. In this case, it has to be the colour that works with the craft of hairdressing and the colourists. I define it as a loyal colour – you can trust it blindly.

 

What were the most difficult decisions you had to make while the task was in progress?
The most important decision was to deal with the negative opinions of so many people. Answering their doubts and queries while in the process was a great challenge. I believed in my team and just went ahead. After successfully launching the product in Europe in 2012, the next three years were definitely morale boosting.

 

In Europe, Luminary was launched in 2012, but why did it take so long to enter India?
Yes. It took us time as we believe in research, surveys, learnings and cultivating knowledge. And that we did before coming to India. The hair here is completely different with a variety of hair types. We decided to start with Illumina colour because we felt that the effect it would render would be the best for Indian hair. It is proven the best to create shades and it also helps enable the light reflection. Starting with 20, we have so far developed 40 shades. Now India has the option to pick and choose the right shade for their hair type!

 

What makes one a good colourist? Which salons do you impart training to?
A good colourist is one who respects hair and the client – someone who has the ability to say no; someone who does not compromise on the hair structure and products. It also means making the services more expensive, but looking to create good results. I have always looked up to my colleagues and the colourists at Sassoon and love how Sassoon is working with colours. At Wella, I am working and learning with them.

 

As a trainer and educator, what were the challenges that you had to face?
Language is a challenge because everything we do is in English and I am not proficient in it. Dealing with people with different mentalities is another challenge. The marketing team at Wella helped me hone my communication skills, but it was pretty much learning by doing. I had to write my e-mails and conduct trainings, so over the years things have become easier.

 

What are the other projects you are involved in?
I am involved in a lot of things. We are constantly trying to evolve the hairdressing industry. The biggest task, at this moment, is to set our trainers on the right track, to increase the quality of their work and enhance their craftsmanship. I want everyone to be my best partner after getting trained. It is only then that we can achieve the targets.

 

What are the other projects you are involved in?
I am involved in a lot of things. We are constantly trying to evolve the hairdressing industry. The biggest task, at this moment, is to set our trainers on the right track, to increase the quality of their work and enhance their craftsmanship. I want everyone to be my best partner after getting trained. It is only then that we can achieve the targets.

 

What are the trends in colour?
Colours are taking the natural route and so artificial and intense expressive colours are out. The trend of ombre and balayage will continue. Hair should look touchable and alive! Indians need colours like warm browns and coppery could and must be a little softer around the face.

 

What is the advice you would like to give to the colourists or hairstylists?
Do not try to use less amounts of a product to get the best results. For a change, place a lot of products for the best results, but it does not mean going to extremes, as it can damage your reputation. Always seek help in confusion from the seniors.