Editor’s introduction: Oil-infused beauty brand Moroccanoil started life ten years ago, shortly after Co-founder Carmen Tal had her hair badly damaged by a colour service in Israel. A friend brought her to a salon where she experienced an “astonishing” oil treatment that transformed her hair from damaged to shiny, smooth and manageable.
That experience inspired the creation of Moroccanoil Treatment, which flourished quickly based on positive word of mouth from runways to salons.
Moroccanoil entered the travel retail market just four years ago and has since made big strides in its global expansion strategy. As of now, the brand has over 90 points-of-sale in travel retail worldwide, covering airports, airlines, downtown duty free stores, cruise ships and ferries, border shops and diplomat shops.
This year sees Moroccanoil power ahead with its growth under the leadership of a new CEO, ex-Elizabeth Arden President JuE Wong. Wong’s main responsibilities include driving increased sales to the professional salon channel and leading continued expansion in high growth channels, such as travel retail and e-commerce.
Now, four months into her role, Wong talks about driving Moroccanoil’s digital transformation and becoming an anchor brand wherever it is present in travel retail.
The Moodie Davitt Report: You’ve been in the job now for four months. What have been the key changes implemented in that time? How is the next phase of your growth strategy developing?
JuE Wong: My vision for Moroccanoil revolves around one key phrase: “Optimise growth without mortgaging the future.” Essentially, this means driving strategic brand growth with an omnichannel approach. This will incorporate three key distribution channels that each play a critical role in propelling the business forward to generate: credibility through our professional distribution channels, equity through our retail distribution, and revenue through our online and social commerce platforms.
Your responsibilities include driving Moroccanoil’s digital transformation. Can you tell us more about what this will entail?
As I see it, “digital” covers five key areas: e-commerce, website, social media, digital innovation and media buying. My plan is to ensure all five areas are given due attention. The focus will be to accelerate our e-commerce sales and optimise our website to ensure superior customer experience.
We will continue to expand our social media presence with continued focus on digital innovation to advance engagement and ultimately sales conversion.
“Having the opportunity to anchor our presence in the haircare category in travel retail is a material opportunity for both our brand and the industry at large”
What are the key pillars of your brand strategy? Where does travel retail fit within it?
We will drive growth by focusing on three key areas: Core business, new innovation/product launches and new distribution (both North America and international).
Travel retail is similarly segmented. We strive to ensure that our existing base business is strong and growing, that our innovation is well-merchandised and animated with resonance, that we engage travelling customers and expand new travel retail distribution.
The haircare category is still reasonably under-represented in travel retail. How does Moroccanoil plan to capitalise on this potential? Do you feel that travel retailers are supportive of the brand and category in general?
Having the opportunity to anchor our presence in the haircare category in travel retail is indeed a material opportunity for both our brand and the industry at large. Moroccanoil has always been a no-fuss haircare and lifestyle brand; we will continue to stay close to what has made us a success, but we will also bring skincare technology to haircare.
Travellers are savvy customers and they want to acquire products that deliver results and value. Moroccanoil has the authority to provide this, given our dominance in the oil-infused beauty treatment space.
Travel retailers are supportive of the category because they know haircare is ready for a skincare/makeup-magnitude type of disruption. Haircare is that next frontier where consumers are yearning for high-performance delivery validated by science and results.
Moroccanoil has made big steps in travel retail in a small amount of time. How important is the channel to the company’s overall business? Tell us about the next stage of growth in the channel.
We have a very strong and seasoned team running our travel retail portfolio, and I will listen and be fully prepared to lean into their strategy and help them scale as fast as we can.
Scaling fast does not mean opening more and more doors, but rather performing more strongly and going deeper, to become an anchor brand wherever we are. In doing so, we become a material partner to our travel retail partners — and ultimately our end consumers.
“Travel retailers are supportive of the category because they know haircare is ready for a skincare/makeup-magnitude type of disruption”
The brand has recently expanded its product offer to include body and face products. Are there plans to introduce any other categories such as make-up?
We have such a long runway of opportunity in haircare that it would be remiss of us to expand now without giving what we already have the best opportunity to grow strategically. This is growth in our base business, with new launches and in new distribution channels.
Moroccanoil is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the global marketplace this year. How is the brand marking this milestone?
We aim to continue delivering vibrant, healthy and manageable hair to our consumers. In doing so, we can continue with our double-digit growth against the industry’s +3.3% growth projection. To achieve this, we will be launching one of our biggest collections to date.
In addition, we will continue to be environmentally responsible and reduce our carbon footprint, as this is a cause close and dear to our Co-founder Carmel Tal’s heart. Some of our key priorities for 2018 include working towards sustainable packaging, incorporating biodegradable ingredients into formulations, increasing the company’s overall energy efficiency, reducing greenhouse emissions and distributing any excess personal care products to people in need around the world.