HSA excels in Private Label manufacturing for the export market, as well as distributing its own brands. EsteticaExport has interviewed Paolo Delle Piane, Strategic Marketing Director of HSA.

Can you introduce the present situation of your company?
“Since I joined the company, about 4 years ago, HSA has been going through an important evolution that we summarise with an acronym PDD: Product, Digitalisation and Distribution. HSA started its activity in 1982 with a great expertise in hair colors, but in recent years the company has enlarged its portfolio to other categories such as haircare and skincare. Private labelling represents 75% of our turnover, while our brand distribution covers the other 25%.
Our internal R&D labs are the main resource of our company and enable us to provide a complete range of innovative products. Anyway, we not only provide products to our clients, but also strategic support regarding new trends, statistics and any other information that might help them develop new ranges and products. All the digital information, through e-books and blogs can be easily viewed on our website.”

Paolo Delle Piane, Strategic Marketing Director of HSA
Paolo Delle Piane, Strategic Marketing Director of HSA

Why is HSA investing in digitalization?
“We believe it is fundamental to developing our business in this fast-evolving world. We are very active on social medias, we edit a blog, issue newsletters and other communication streams; all our digital activity is getting a lot of attention. For example, last year in the USA our article views increased by 400%.”

What about distribution?
“We have organised our distribution as an omni-channel. HSA worked for the professional hair industry from the start, and it still represents our core business. With the way business has evolved, especially as a consequence of the pandemic, we have realized that people are using many different ways to find products, both online and offline, in hair salons, as well as beauty outlets. Therefore, the only proper way forward is to offer our products in all interconnected sales outlets. This results in a mixed experience where internet searches, physical shops and hair salons all come into play.
Applying the same principle on our private label department we started serving different kinds of clients – today we produce for companies selling online, or in retail stores, for example in the USA department store we are cooperating with brands selling in Ulta which has recorded an impressive growth in the beauty categories”.

It’s been reported that the majority of HSA has undergone a fund acquisition
“Yes, it is a recent operation that is much more than a simple financial operation. Tech Beauty Fund proposed a plan for the creation of an Italian Beauty Pole, which means putting together a group of companies that could work in synergy and that include all the sectors of beauty (make-up, fragrance, skincare, haircare etc.) so that we can offer, as a group, a complete prime quality range of ‘contact manufacturing’ and ‘private label’ solutions.”

How important is export for HSA?
“HSA has a yearly turnover of roughly €40 Million; 90% comes from export and only 10% from the domestic Italian market. One important strategic principle for us is to diversify the risk, especially given the international tensions that exist in some markets. For us, the most important market is the USA which is still the largest market in the world but we are also investing to expand in Asia, starting from China. The first range specifically designed for China will be introduced at the next Cosmoprof Bologna, even if the Chinese clients will, most probably, not be able to attend the event in person. However, we will also be present at CBE Shanghai in May, with our booth and local staff.”

How is your sales network organised?
“Private label clients are dealt with by our headquarters, while our brands are sold mostly by local distributors. We have a subsidiary in Mexico City that runs the South American area. We also have a small office in China.”

Any new projects in the pipeline?
“We have been rebranding our Nouvelle range by increasing the quality and especially the market position of the products so that they’re more distinctively high-end. In September we will have an official launch with all our distributors, while at Cosmoprof Bologna we will reveal the new imagery. Another interesting project is the new line Admino-18 that protects hair from chemical and physical damage. A small range of just 4 products, it has already seen incredible results thanks to its effectiveness in repairing the hair structure with immediate effect.”

You seem to be big fans of hair & beauty fairs.
“They are a great way to communicate with our partners and clients. We will have two booths at the next edition of Cosmoprof Bologna, one for a corporate presentation of the company and our brands, and a second one in the Cosmopack area that we called Innovation Hub because it is dedicated to all the most recent products we have designed.”

Are you experiencing rising costs?
“The increase in the cost of raw materials already started in mid-2021. We have absorbed most of this impact by cutting our margins, but it is getting harder now as the war in Ukraine has worsened the situation. We need to be aware that the world has changed a lot in the last two years and will keep changing rapidly. Companies have to act, increase R&D and find new and different ways to interact with the international markets. We are optimistic that we will keep on growing as we have plenty of opportunities in the international market.”

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