1:1 with Linda Gillette Parodi, Founder & CEO, PARODI Professional Care
You have over 20+ years of experience in the salon industry as a hairstylist, educator and executive. In 2016 you launched PARODI, a professional care products line. What inspired you to create a collection dedicated to caring for the unique needs of hairdressers?
“My love of the professional beauty industry, its clients and other hairdressers kept me passionately engaged through the years,” says Linda. “My first position working in a salon was inspirational, motivating and hugely fulfilling at both a personal and professional level. Later, when I had moved on to various positions with leading manufacturers, including a global vice presidency, I realized that there was no one manufacturer looking at the hairdresser as an individual with the daily challenges she, or he, face in order to help other people look beautiful. This became my mission in founding PARODI Professional Care. Now, I have the opportunity to give back to many other high performing professionals in other industries who can also benefit from our high performance products.”
You mentioned that at first your hairstylist and salon owner customers were not open to the idea of sharing PARODI products with others. Why?
“Looking back, I firmly believe that our positioning as a solution for the issues hairdressers face daily with their hands, feet and muscles became, in their minds, a “secret” that they wished to keep for themselves. Now we directly reach many consumers who deal with similar skin care issues to salon professionals and can purchase directly from our website and other outlets.”
How did you make the segue from marketing products to hairdressers only, to nail techs, estheticians, and traditional retail channels?
“It was just a lot of work, investing and soul searching. I have a terrific team of very smart individuals with whom I work closely to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate our positioning, our marketing materials and even our formulas. We have been tip-toeing recently into consumer advertising with good results and are continually revamping our website and our Social Media strategies. There’s no one answer to expanding your brand. If there was…everyone would be doing it!”
PARODI’s proprietary ingredient is HypeauPro. What is this? And what informed its creation?
“HypeauPro is PARODI’s proprietary blend of ingredients that is a mix of nature and modern technology. Our products are formulated like high performance facial products with ultra-concentrated formulas that address specific issues. And of course, PARODI was developed in French and Swiss laboratories so the name came quite naturally to us.”
Why did you decide on having PARODI products developed exclusively in French and Swiss labs?
“I was living in Geneva, Switzerland at the time so it was natural for me to work with top French and Swiss cosmetic chemists and laboratories. It’s a decision that differentiates PARODI from other brands sold in the U.S. and is appreciated by our customers looking for superior products and formulas. It’s a decision I have never regretted.”
Snowballing off the above question — because the products are created in Europe, do you have plans to establish a presence and distribute in the EU market?
“PARODI is open to growth throughout the world. We are focused on the United States (which is a huge marketing for our problem-solving products) but do have some salons and others in the EU who are using and distributing the products.”
PARODI products are currently available for purchase on Amazon, through your website and US-based salons. Yet you envision your merchandise on retail shelves. What is your retail strategy? And in what stores do you see your products living?
“There are many success stories in the beauty industry about companies that started in the professional sector. We see a natural affinity to retailers who offer high performance products, perhaps with salon services but that’s not necessary. Above all they must match our philosophy of providing customers with the best service and finest quality products that appeal to those who require solutions to issues with their hands, feet, muscles and body based on their lifestyle or profession. Because of our formulas we look for retailers who believe in the importance of products that combine natural and high-tech ingredients at an affordable price.”
What has been the biggest challenge as a new skincare company emerging into the beauty big leagues?
“Gaining awareness of the quality and efficacy of PARODI products is, of course, a challenge. Our experience proves that once a woman who is looking to solve skin care issues caused by her profession, activities and lifestyle has a chance to try PARODI, she’s hooked on the efficacy, the lack of synthetic or harmful ingredients and how her hands, feet and muscles feel after she’s used PARODI.”
What advice would you give to fellow entrepreneurs?
“Don’t give up! Rome wasn’t built in a day…and neither will your brand! Hire good people and work closely with them to constantly monitor and evaluate what works and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t work, move on!”