Maesa is taking its brand-building formula to global heights.
The brand incubator, which started as a contract manufacturer, has reaped the benefits of building brands with longevity — and is betting that lightning can strike twice. “We don’t launch brands, we incubate them,” said chief executive officer Gianni Pieraccioni, in conversation with Beauty Inc special correspondent Emily Dougherty. “We integrate the brand with us, we nurture it.”
Maesa has a slew of brands set to launch in 2022 and 2023, but Pieraccioni exercises discernment in picking his partners. “Incubating a brand is a learning process, you tap into the knowledge of a very knowledgeable and authentic founder partner who has expertise, and helps you find solutions,” he said. “Retail then offers you an environment in which you can really learn, and perfect your offer over time.”
Although brand partners include the Smith family and Drew Barrymore, Pieraccioni is “not in the celebrity brands business,” he said. “The first characteristic we look for in a partner isn’t the fame or number of followers, it’s about knowledge of the category, and the ability to challenge what is conventional in the industry.”
To that end, Maesa joined forces with celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons for its latest brand. As reported by WWD, Andrew Fitzsimons launched internationally with 27 stock keeping units, in exclusive partnership with Ulta Beauty. Fitzsimons said his brand is as reflective of his values as it is of his experience styling hair.
“Over the past four years developing the brand, I wanted to bring together all of the elements of myself as a person, and also of myself as a hairstylist,” he said. “My approach to hair is very similar to how I approach my personal life, my take on and view of society and specifically, women.…A large part of why I wanted to start a brand was seeing how the hair care industry has operated in the past. I don’t agree with the way women specifically have been spoken to, this idea of creating insecurities to sell remedies.”
Fitzsimons developed the line to work across the spectrum of hair types. “I’m a hairstylist, and I believe when someone sits down in your chair, you should be able to do their hair,” he continued. “The industry is so segregated, but we have an audience with every hair texture.”
That philosophy informed product development and marketing. Said Tara Brown, chief marketing officer of Maesa, “We support Andrew through his journey, and we do that through the intersection of Andrew’s purpose and the brand’s promise.”
Communicating that purpose — and wide-ranging appeal — was imperative. “My audience is everybody,” Fitzsimons said. “It’s storytelling, it’s having everyone included from inception, every hair texture from inception. Because hair care has been segregated for so long, it’s very hard for people to see themselves in one space.”