Industry Firsts

We have had the great fortune to work with some of the top salon industry pros without whose input, assistance and support many of the events that follow would never have come to pass. However, all these events were conceptualized and ultimately executed by one or both of E&A’s principals. They are all salon industry ‘firsts’, several of which are alive and well today and considered the industry standard.

The common theme in all of these communications efforts is to build customer loyalty, establish industry credibility, build/reinforce a leadership image among targeted audiences, and bottom line, affect a positive impact on sales. A positive ‘fall out’ of all of these programs was to build the image of an industry as well as a corporation … to always expand the borders of professional excellence by creating ‘what could be’, and then, making it reality and often, tradition.

Clairol Presidential Haircolorists’ Council

The first industry national meeting forum for professional colorists. Sharon Esche served as a key advisory board to Clairol Professional marketing/sales, as well as spokespersons for media, ‘endorsement’ advertising, shows/education. Duration of Council: 10 years (approx) featuring 12 new leading haircolorists every year. Hosted meetings in New York, Puerta Vallarta, Palm Springs, San Francisco, etc. This council was the forerunner of Haircolor U.S.A., and International Haircolor Exchange.

Intercoiffure Press Luncheons

Now an industry tradition with various corporate sponsors, these press lunches began with Clairol in a successful effort to originally introduce Intercoiffure America members to the national consumer press in New York. Clairol Communications explored new relevant ways to help ICD members while maximizing PR value for itself (simply giving them a sponsorship check twice a year was not a ‘real’ image-building strategy). How a manufacturer could really help them long-term was to introduce them to the press in an appropriate forum. Again, Clairol reinforced its leadership role with its influential customers and the media. Clairol was the first and exclusive sponsor of this event for several years, now a sought-after spot on the agenda by manufacturers.

Future Vision

This was a Clairol Seminar in New York for the Clairol Presidential Haircolorists’ Council, consumer and trade press. (Concurrent with 10th Anniversary Reunion Week of Color Council [about 100 members]). Issue-oriented; thought-provoking; panel showcased high-profile non-industry and industry speakers including Clairol R&D scientists.

‘Sphere of Influence’ International Beauty Editors’ Symposium

The first of the new genre of press event for IBS, this program was the International Beauty Show (1993) March consumer/trade press event. First-of-its-kind media event – by the press, for the press. Beauty editors from around the world (Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, London, New York, and Milan) were invited to serve on a panel, and share their perspective on key beauty trends influencing the American woman. Created to reinforce IBS’ corporate and international image.

Touch The Technology

The first ‘hands-on’ beauty editor workshops created exclusively for the International Beauty Show in 1994. Held as an IBS consumer/trade press event in March, this first workshop of its kind brought beauty writers and editors directly ‘in touch’ on models and mannequins with new hair fashion trends, techniques, product technology, and tips in cuts, color, perms, make-up and nails (workshop was generic…no product names showing or discussed). IBS guest artists supervised the workshop; Clairol provided its Park Avenue Test Salon as the facility. Vogue called it ‘the best and most educational press event they ever attended in the beauty industry’.

This event was designed to enhance the more serious and professional image of the International Beauty Show, helping to moving them away from the ‘hair circus’ image it had garnered. It gave editors a fun, educational forum to ‘get a real feel’ for what they write about and develop a newfound regard for the skill and professionalism of the salon artist.

‘Editors’ Choice’ Beauty Press Awards

The First-of-its-kind salon major annual recognition ‘event’ created for the IBS in 1994. Editors from the consumer and salon industry beauty press in the U.S., and internationally, cast their ballots for the ‘most newsworthy hair designers’ in 10 categories. Winners were honored at a New York press event coinciding with the International beauty Show in New York.

Beauty Industry Support Alliance

In August of 1994, E&A orchestrated the first ‘joining forces’ of all three national show management groups, the International Beauty Show Group, the Midwest Show Group, and the Long Beach Hairdressers Guild, for the purpose of supporting the industry, financially and otherwise (CAF, salon support programs, foundations, scholarships, etc). Although the alliance disappeared with industry show management changes and politics, it has since re-emerged in early 1999.

CAF Communications Council

Helped conceptualize, orchestrate, and with CAF President Jack Shor, oversee the first salon industry-wide public relations council, in this case, for the Cosmetology Advancement Foundation. Comprised of leading public relations professionals from throughout the country who volunteer their time and effort. Goal: Enhance the image of the salon industry and the awareness of CAF in the course of our work with all media; help cultivate the CAF Role Model Program and other key efforts.


Conceptualized, named, and executed the Nail Manufacturers Council’s (NMC) first consumer/trade press events and press kit materials for the American Beauty Association. The event was held at the Plaza Hotel in New York and was the forerunner of generations to come of ‘NAILWATCH’ theme press events. Goal: enhance image of the professional nail industry and artist. ‘NAILWATCH’ became the theme of the NMC’s trade advertising campaign. Conceptualized and wrote ads, planned ad strategy and placement for two years. Goal: enhance image of NMC.

The Clairol Awards

An annual grand awards ‘salon competition’ event in New York which was the culmination of 23 regional salon competitions per year. Worked closely with the sales and education groups to structure local competitions which honored colorists/stylists for their ‘contemporary’ hair design ability. First place winners competed in New York at a ‘grand’ event at the Waldorf, where beauty industry VIP’s would judge, often MC, and attend the event. This concept was initiated by Bob Oppenheim. . . worked closely with him to launch the program.

Consumer Press Events – Clairol

With Clairol as a ‘client’ of Sharon Esche Associates, we orchestrated the first consumer beauty editor press events for Clairol Professional Products. . . update on company, new products, haircolor fashion trends in industry, update on salon industry statistics as a whole, etc.

Many of these press events were done to support the new concept of ‘hair color fashion collections’ introduced by the Professional Division to support salon education. . . color in context with total fashion. . . color in context with the cut. Was part of collection conceptual meetings and naming of collections and looks/techniques. . . e.g. Color Shaping, Bold Accents, Color Romance, Kaleidoscope, etc. Orchestrated Clairol Professional’s first ethnic market press events for the consumer/trade press . . . e.g. Maxim’s in New York. New product intro, update on hair fashion trends, strengthen Clairol’s image in this market segment, show the work of ethnic stylists/colorists (some Council members), etc.

New Think

Based on Edward DeBono’s ‘New Think’ concept, this was an innovative and educational approach to a distributor sales meeting, created for Hikari Products President Robert Reed during an August BBSI Show. Both controversial and provocative, this meeting provided the rare setting where salon owners were the guest speakers before a distributor audience regarding current issues/needs. Other guest speakers included Sharon Esche on ‘distributor public relations’.

Cosmetology Instructors’ Advisory Council

Cosmetology instructors are among the least recognized, yet have the most influence on emerging cosmetologists. Created for Supercuts, the council has served to ensure that Supercuts became the only major industry chain with such a forum to help guide Supercuts in making decisions appropriate for schools, instructors and students needs. This council, and the ‘special education’ it provided it’s instructor members, has served to make Supercuts a highly valued partner in the beauty school classroom and a far more visible and viable option as a potential employer for young graduates.