A New Concept in the Beauty World
LSW is the “authority” in the Beauty Salons world. Remind us how it started?
Maren Sostmann: 3 years ago, there was no directory for Beauty Salons. When you were traveling especially, there was no one way for you to know for sure if your expectations of a high-quality level of service were going to be met. Where to go? You don’t want to take a chance with your hair. I know I don’t. Critics on-line are subject to a person’s own experience. Press promotes what’s new or shiny. There was no one set of standards used globally to evaluate Salons and offer an “objective” classification. LSW defined those standards, and accepts Members who pass its very demanding accreditation process and are able to maintain their level of performance overtime. So now, wherever you are in the world, you know you can trust a Member of the “Leading Salons of the World”. I have visited personally 90% of the Salons we have accepted. We often have to deny Salon Membership. Not pleasant, but it is critical that we do maintain the integrity of the Circle so we keep our integrity pristine and our standards uncompromised. After many trips, lots of work and many “no’s”, we are happy to say we have become the go-to-reference in the Salons world, a kind of Michelin or Gault-et-Millau Guide of the Best Salons around the world.
Successful, and yet a new platform?
Veronique Gautier: Last year, when I joined Maren into this (ad)venture, I asked: why is the LSW platform so successful? On one hand, renown professionals were very grateful to be part of an entity that celebrates beautiful work and genuine talent, and contributes to raising the bar in the Industry. On the other hand, beyond the useful information about the Salons themselves, visitors appeared to truly connect with LSW’s world of Beauty. LSW had brought something missing, and it seemed to resonate beyond the Salons industry and category. We felt kind of driven to take on an even more important role in the Beauty World. The question then became: What is the next missing piece that would resonate with people even further and deeper?
The new platform is the embodiment of our philosophy regarding Beauty, and an invitation to realize –and leverage—the power of Beauty. Our proposition is to say: Beauty is our #1 Asset. Let’s make the best of it.
How does Beauty empower?
Veronique: We’ve gotten used to artificial, superficial and standardized beauty and we wanted to say Real Beauty is not shallow. Beauty is serious business. Your appearance speaks before you do, it is your business-card, your best agent. It should say all that matters. Nothing matches the feeling of knowing you look your best, nothing matches the magnetism that comes from confidence. Men and Women alike, leading the boardroom, or simply going through the day, we all do better Beauty-fully empowered.
Why a Beauty Tailor?
Maren: At LSW, we believe in a highly tailored approach to Beauty that respects who you are as a person, and acknowledges you as essentially unique and inherently special. There is no such thing as "aesthetical truth", no universal recipe for the perfect service or product. Luckily. We encourage everyone to leverage their “Real Beauty” and find the subtle melange of Style, Youthfulness and Charisma that makes each of us uniquely attractive.
Veronique: In order to address that need for highly individualized Beauty, we have formed a Circle of Beauty Influencers spanning the fields of Beauty/Wellness/Fitness/
Your editorial content has also evolved. How is In the (K)now different from any other piece out there?
Veronique: The new concept’s ambition is to raise people’s awareness about “beauty/appearance” being their #1 Asset. Although a reality, we know it is an idea that can still be “touchy” or feel “uncomfortable” for a lot of people to embrace. A businesswoman might feel that she has to “fly under the radar” and disregard her appearance, or at least downplay it because it might interfere with her business competence. Most men have been raised thinking that if you are taking care of yourself, you are gay… We want to erase those preconceptions. Also, and that makes us very different, is that we want to inspire people and invite them to leverage their Beauty Asset in a way that makes sense and works for them. We do not believe in cookie cutters, in “the 10 things to do or not”…This might be trendy or the latest thing to do or have…but is this good for you? Your body type? How well is this serving you? We never say what to do or not, our audience is mature and able to make their decision. Our role is to provide substance that opens their mind, give them some keys to analyze things so they can decide if this is to their advantage.
So concretely, “In the (K)now” as a magazine is different.. It covers 3 areas: 1- Our “Salon Press Room” emphasizes even more the leadership role of our Salons Members. 2- is our “Beauty Influencers columns”. Each of our Beauty Influencers writes about Beauty from their own perspective and area of expertise. It is a very unique content. 3- Last but not least, we cover the News…we look at the News with a “Beauty” eye. It leads to some interesting subjects!
I have seen a “Beautique” as well…
Maren: Absolutely, we started curating Beauty-related products that are high-quality, and in their very special way, remarkable. Beyond some of our Salons Members lines, we have identified partners that deserve to be put on a stand, and we are proud to contribute to their success by giving them a high-quality exposure.
Veronique: We wanted to create a space uncluttered and “real”. We propose a breath of fresh air, a place to get inspired, not “sold to”, not the 10 tips that work for everyone”…we like the idea to broaden people’s horizon, make them think about the importance of thinking “Beauty” throughout the choices they have to make, throughout their day. We invite people to live “beauty fully” as I like to say!
Can’t wait to meet “Your Beauty Tailor”!
You are welcome anytime and anywhere at leadingsalons.com.
Interview by Felix Brondel