Estetica Export has Interviewed Carlo Bay, a renowned Italian hairstylist with a long career behind him and a succession of triumphant and positive experiences.
Carlo Bay’s career started in 1985 and today he has more than 30 Salons in Italy and all over the world. In 1990, he opened the Florence Academy and over the years, he has created the official brands: Carlo Bay Hair Diffusion and Carlo Bay Make-Up. In 2014 he was elected Hairstylist of the Year in Rome.
How would you introduce your company to someone who doesn’t know it?
“We started with our first hairdressing salon in Florence in 1985. Later we developed our own working method, and then slowly but consistently we opened other salons, firstly in Italy and then also in other countries. We decided to involve our best hairdressers to become responsible for our new opening salons in different cities. Since then, we have been opening a chain of directly owned hair salons. In the following years, we completed our offer creating Carlo Bay Academy where we can develop and teach our know-how. Later we started also the design and distribution of our own lines of hair professional products, a makeup line and also a skincare range. We have created a ‘complete set of tools’ so that our salons can offer a perfect service to the final customers who frequent our salons”.
How many salons does Carlo Bay chain have at the moment?
“In Italy, we have already opened 20 directly owned salons and on top of that, we operate another 50 ‘Club’ salons with a different agreement. In more recent years, we also started opening salons in other countries. The first one we opened was in Dijon and then others in France followed. Now we have 2 salons in Moscow, one in Almaty Kazakstan, and we also have shops in Locarno and Lugano, in Switzerland. We are expanding into the Middle East, in Beirut, Lebanon and in Syria”.
How do you manage the salons in other countries?
“We always have a local partner which is important to run the business knowing the local rules, but we invest directly in every salon”.
What about your products? How are they distributed?
“Of course, we have them in all of our salons, but they are also available for other hairdressers as they are all professional products. And we distribute them in all the markets where we are present. For example, in France, we have a company called Carlo Bay France that takes care of the salons as well as distribution of our brand”.
How did the pandemic period impact your company?
“The best result after the crisis was that we did not suffer any losses or damage. We did not develop our business but tried to consolidate what we already had. We also defined a new marketing strategy for the future, that we are trying to put into action right now, focusing exclusively on the top level of the market. We want to keep improving our products and services quality to be able to serve the best salons”.
How do you see the future?
“I think it’ll get even more complicated! If you want to target a high level of clientele you have to be perfect in every aspect of your work, the products, the performances, and the packaging. Even our salon’s routine has to be constantly revised and improved to offer the best possible services. I believe our aim shouldn’t be to grow the number of our clients but increase the average expenditure of each client and this is possible only by improving the level of our clientele”.
What makes Carlo Bay Brand attractive in foreign markets?
“I would say that reliability and organisation are the most important values of our company and this is addressed to all the sectors of salon activity, from the marketing to the management, to the education of owners and employees.
Our Academy can very easily be ‘moved’ to any country in the world and, thanks to our method, we can prepare the start-up of a new Carlo Bay salon in a very short time.
Later, thanks to the new technology, we can follow the development and support our partners also remotely from our headquarters in Florence”.
Are any further openings coming up?
“We have worked on a new cooperation and we hope to be able to open in Austria in the Spring of 2023. But, let me tell you that, before planning any further investment, I would like to see the end of the Ukrainian war because that is creating a climate of uncertainty that hinders most of the business”.
Do you have any activity online?
“We sell our products online. We have one shop that sells to end customers in all of our markets. They can only buy at full price so we don’t clash with our salons”.
What about hair & beauty exhibitions?
“We used to have a booth at some main events. But now, as we focus on a very special sector of the market, we need to offer a more sophisticated kind of promotional activities. We are thinking of some VIP events inviting a limited number of potential partners that fulfil our requirements. That could be the occasion to introduce our projects and exchange opinions in a much more suitable environment”.