How Vernon Francois Brought His Hair Care Brand to a Billion Dollar Industry


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In 2018, market research firm Mintel reported that the black hair care market is an approximately $500 billion industry. And, with the African-American population in the U.S. anticipated to climb to nearly 66 million — roughly 15 percent of the total U.S. population — by 2050, the hair-care market is also anticipated to skyrocket.

Stylist-turned-entrepreneur Vernon François recognized this opportunity early, and turned his experience and expertise into his own internationally-acclaimed hair care line.

Growing up, François vividly remembers Sundays being about one thing: “Mum cooking and braiding our hair for the week ahead.“

It's this early memory that inspired him to find his own solutions to his hair care needs.

First, he taught himself to braid and loc. By age 14, he started working at a salon on London's Oxford Street. By 17, he had earned the title “Newcomer of the Year“ at the Black Beauty Hair Awards.

François is recognized for his work with celebrity clients such as Lupita Nyong'o, Kerry Washington, Uzo Aduba, Serena Williams and Tracee Ellis Ross. His hair care line and hairstyles have been featured in such influential fashion magazines as ELLE, Harper's Bazaar, VOGUE, Vanity Fair, Essence and Cosmopolitan. The entire line of products is available in-store at big-name beauty retailer Sephora as well as online at NET-A-PORTER.

But it's not only François' creativity that makes the Vernon François line so successful. There is a team of dedicated experts working at the company behind the scenes, starting with Nick Mulholland. An expert with over 22 years of experience in PR marketing, Mulholland's main objective is to introduce the line to an even larger market.

As a team, Mulholland and François share a collaborative dynamic that is constantly improving the brand's success.

For François, it's Mulholland's continuous validation that encourages the hairdresser to pursue his craft with full confidence. Meanwhile, Mulholland credits François' steady temperament and the example he sets for everyone.

“The team is comprised of people who sincerely believe in my vision and we've had people supporting all along the way,“ François explained.

“It's looking for their actions versus their words and that's where trust is really very important,“ Mulholland added. The team's game plan seems to be working.

But they don't measure success solely in dollar signs or products on the shelves. For them, it's about reinvestment.

“We recognize that any penny that we can reinvest back into the business will hopefully touch another consumer," Mulholland said. “If your product is on shelves and it doesn't work, that customer's going to move on." 

This video is for general information and education only and is provided as a courtesy to the clients and friends of City National Bank. It is compiled from data and sources believed to be reliable, however City National Bank does not warrant that it is accurate or complete. Opinions expressed and estimates given are those of the speaker as of the date of publish with no obligation to update or notify of inaccuracy or change.