When Rusk decided to expand in India, partnering with distributor Headstart International Pvt. Ltd., they immediately recruited two of the most brilliant from the Rusk Creative Team to send on such an important mission: Sherri Jessee and Marcus Caillet. Estetica now presents an exclusive interview with Sherri about the challenges she faced.
As part of its distribution launch in India, Rusk Look and Learn Seminars headed up by Sherri Jessee and Marcus Caillet were organized for four major cities: New Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Bangalore). India covers a huge territory, so there was plenty to take in and assimilate. Sherri had already visited India during a vacation in 2008, and it was love at first sight. But teaching hair dressing techniques presented other challenges. “We noticed subtle differences, in both food and fashion from one city to another, but adjusting our cutting techniques according to the requirements of the models to suit local the culture was not such a problem. Luckily, we were able to be the most creative with cuts and colors in our final stop in the city of Bangalore,” explains Sherri.
But presentations included much more than just cutting and styling techniques, as both professional and consumer lines will be distributed. So retailing tips were also passed on to help clients maintain that salon-fresh look until their next visit. And apparently spa-type treatments in salons are a very big business in India. Sherri observed, “They were happy to see that our Wellness Bedew collection of harsh chemical free shampoo, conditioner, and treatments is available for a spa experience at home.”
When westerners think of India, there is a sort of stereotype of dark-skinned beauties with lush, long black hair. Does this stereotype hold true? Were there new or specific “ethnic” challenges to deal with? Surprisingly, Sherri noticed that, “Hair is hair... in India we ran across all types of hair: thick, fine, straight and curly. The main difference was the level of darkness, as most people had a natural level 2-4. So we used Rusk Deepshine Color to create shiny, healthy hair in tones of chocolates, reds, coppers, and violets. Rusk Anti-Curl was also used very often to smooth out hair and prevent frizz in high humidity.”
However, one important cultural difference did present an interesting challenge! “Women in India wear their hair VERY long,” exclaimed Sherri, “ The challenge was for us to create looks that suited the Indian women incorporating our methods, tools, products, and services.” Thanks to years of professional training and experience, Sherri and Marcus were ready to rise to the occasion. She boasts, “ I was asked to incorporate my special up-styling techniques using Rusk products in a segment of each show.”
And of course, in India Bollywood has a huge influence on hair, make-up and fashion trends. From this point of view, Headstart International proved to be a partner in the know, hiring Apeni George, a top Bollywood celebrity stylists, as Creative Director. Apeni boasts a portfolio brimming with celebrity clients and Indian socialites. In addition to leading the team of educators in India, she will use Rusk products on movie sets and in photo shoots.