In the Beginning
It's the 1880, the days of the German Empire, and an ambitious 25-year-old hairdresser Franz Ströher starts his own business. He makes wigs and hairpieces that adorn the heads of the fashion-conscious of the time. His breakthrough product is a revolutionary invention called the Tullemoid Waterproof. Demand becomes high, as this is the first product to both waterproof and secure the wig. It goes on to be a best-seller and in 1904, Ströher sets up his first factory in the East German town of Rothenkirchen (Saxony). For the next twenty years, Ströher's business thrives. Innovation and vision are what the company was founded on. These values remain inherent today.
The end of the war. Wigs and hairpieces are no longer fashionable meaning Ströher's original products are redundant. Demonstration their own flair for innovation, Ströher's sons - Karl and George -apply for a licence to develop products to give hair permanent waves. This inspires the company name - Wella, derived from the German for Wave. The first Wella perming appliance is mass produced, much to the excitement of salons, who are now able to offer clients the stylish, short and curly look that defines the decade. In the same year, the Wella trademark is registered with the Patent Office, and a new era of hairdressing begins.
A golden era for Wella as every woman wants a perm. The company evolves its perming appliances and creates the Wella Junior - the world's first portable permer. The product becomes hugely popular and sales soar. Wella focuses on working in partnership with its salons and hairdressers. In addition, each salon proprietor who purchased a Wella appliance was given hair care products. This marks the birth of Wella's full service proposition that continues to help salons flourish today. The famous Wella logo is registered. The company expands and begins manufacturing and distribution throughout Europe and in America. Twelve months later, the Wella Corporation is founded in the USA. Then in 1939, World War 2 breaks out, production is discontinued.
"We wanted to create a saga - an emotional story bringing to life Wella's unique point of view. True passion takes the craft of the stylist and turns it into more than just beautiful hair. The moment is triumph in hair. It is this moment, the union of stylist and client, master and muse, that has inspired this campaign"
Olivier van Doorne, Worldwide Creative Director, SelectNY
A moment of hair triumph, between a stylist and a client. To the stylist, it's when creativity, skill and a deep understanding of the client come together.To the client, it's when a beauty dream is realised. A new confidence. A fresh start. The new campaign is all about this achievable, individual beauty, that becomes liberated and real in that magical moment we call the Hair Triumph.
Our new advertising campaign is a true testimony to the inspiration coming from our interactions with the stylists and their clients. Many of them spoke to us about the courage it takes for the client to let go, the eagerness of the stylist to make that client's day, the positive tension that comes between and the final, ultimate beauty triumph moment both of them strive for.
Business is booming and Wella pioneers an industry revolution with the invention of Koleston Perfect - the first cream colorant that also nourishes the hair. The hairdressing world falls in love with the product and suddenly color is everywhere. Three more innovations hit the salon - Accord - the first coloring and setting product, Wella Form and ahead-of-its-time conditioning rand Life-tex Concentrate. The company begins trading in South Africa, Australia, Brazil and further across Europe. In 1954, the Welonda salon equipment company is created. Throughout the decade, Wella supports and encourages salons and stylists worldwide with the development of its industry-acclaimed training programs.
A decade of experimentation and expression with people changing their hairstyles more frequently than ever. Wella recognizes this consumer trend and launches Wella Privat. The range is available to buy in salons, enabling clients to take professional hair-care products home for the first time. This marks the birth of Wella's OTC business. Throughout this era of iconic style, Wella provides inspiration to salons and hairdressers around the world by taking center stage at many international hairdressing events. Investment in research and development continues. The company begins trading in Japan, New Zealand, Mexico and Iran. Wella is chosen as an exclusive supplier to the Olympic Games.
Passion drives further innovation and Wella launches new perming product Perform enabling hairdressers ti create the magnificent Afro looks that define the decade. Wella breaks down hair-care barriers for men with the introduction of its For Men range, marking the emergence of male grooming. System Professional and Wella Balsam become must-have salon products.
In 1972, Wella evolves its retail business by launching the first shampoo produced specifically to be sold in department stores, supermarkets, chemists and perfumeries. Then in 1976, another breakthrough: Wella discovers Chitosan - and ingredient used in hairspray that improves hold but doesn't stiffen hair. A new generation of styling products is born.
Strong, powerful hair is the story of the decade. Wella drives the trend with the launch of its High Hair professional styling range, which quickly becomes a favorite. Additionally, the launch of New Wave (predecessor of ShockWaves) revolutionizes hair fashion and everyone wants the 'wet-look'. Wella launches Sanara for eco-aware consumers, demonstrating the company's growing environmental conscience. It also broadens its System Professional For Men range. Wella celebrates it 100th birthday and while trade is expanded in Chile and America, production begins in the former USSR. Scissor and equipment maker Tondeo is acquired, as is French luxury goods manufacturer Parfum Rochas S.A. Hairdressing remains the heartland. But beauty is the company's bigger picture. The company is publicly listed on the German Stock exchange for the first time.
Wella is discovering more new ingredients, including fruit wax, and wins an important award for technical innovation. Meanwhile, it develops the use of keratin to repair damaged hair. The company continues to focus on products that nourish and protect. SP Liquid Hair hits the market and is another world first. The company takes ownership of glamourous U.S. designer brand Sebastian and broadens its beauty portfolio with the acquisition of Muehlens KG - famous for fragrances such as 4711, Gucci Rush, Dunhill Desire and Naomi Campbell. Significantly, the iron curtain falls and the gateway to Eastern Europe is opened. Wella buys back Londa, its original operation, from the former GDR. Hairdressing has come full circle.
The new Millenium
Wella's beauty business booms with the licensing of brands such as Trussardi, Mont Blanc, Marc O'Polo, Max Mara and Gerry Weber. Innovation moves quicker than ever and Wella produces its annual hair fashion collections - Trend Vision - Which become an inspiration to stylists everywhere. This evolves to become the Trend Vision Award, a global hairdressing competition created to encourage vision and new style - values the company were founded on one hundred years before. The company expands throughout Asia/Pacific, bringing hairdressing innovation to every corner of the world. In 2003, Wella is acquired by Procter & Gamble and the respective hair and fragrance businesses are combined. With its salon business under P&G Professional Care, Wella is now part of the biggest company in the world.