Jim Morrison could be said to have revolutionized
his corner of the beauty industry, writes Summer
issue 21 of Lucire
IN HIS 24 YEARS in the industry, Jim Morrison hasnt skipped
a beat. Just like the iconic rock star who he shares his name with,
Morrison is a legend. With eight years as President of LOréal
US, manager of several celebrity product lines, and now CEO of Big
Sexy Hair, Jim is arguably one of the best beauty brand strategists
in the business. From hair to skin care, Morrison has brought us
many of the products that we have come to not only love, but swear
by. In person, Jim Morrison is as debonair as they come. His sophisticated
nature, however, is matched by his down-to-earth, charismatic disposition
and common sense—qualities that have undoubtedly helped with his
unequivocal success in the industry.
Talk about a record career. When did it start?
I’ve been in the beauty industry, officially, for 24 years, which
seems impossible to me since I feel like it started yesterday.
You jump-started L’Oréal US when you were there. Can
you talk about that?
L’Oréal was a major part of my résumé. I spent
eight years there as President (1992–December 2000). During that
time, we bought Redken, Maybelline, Kiehl’s, Soft Sheen, Matrix,
Johnson, and Carson. I was responsible for every aspect of the Redken
acquisition, which has turned out to be the most successful acquisition
in the Beauty business.
What did you begin working on after L’Oréal?
After L’Oréal, I honestly thought I would do something radically
different, but I became involved with several different Hollywood
celebrities and really got intrigued with the whole “celebrity–personal
care” connection. I was personally responsible for the Phat Farm–Baby
Phat–Coty deal and did work for Britney Spears and Brooke Shields.
I even started a company with Olympic gold medal winner Amanda Beard,
to launch a line of hair care and sun care products.
Is it imperative to have well-known people associated with the
brand to ensure success?
Today, the key components to success in personal care are “aspiration”
and “emotional change.” We use celebrities to define the aura of
a brand and try to personify it in products. That celebrity needs
to be someone who women aspire to being like or living like. But
… aspiration isn’t enough. The products have to be exceptional.
Not mediocre. If that product (perfume, shampoo, hair colour, skin
care product) is amazing and can really lift a woman up (emotionally)
then you have the recipe for something truly extraordinary. A lot
of people are saying, ‘We’ve come to the end of the whole celebrity–personal
care run. It’s saturated.’ I say, ‘Nonsense.’ As long as there is
someone who evokes real emotion in people and as long as a company
can match that person with a product that’s really awesome, why
would it end?!
You’re with Big Sexy Hair now. What made you make that move?
I got involved as a partner at Sexy Hair in March, for several
reasons, mainly because it was a super-cool company with a great
young image, but also because I really respected the founder, Michael
O’Rourke, who dreamed up Sexy Hair and is a true hair-genius, [and]
it gave me a chance to really do my own thing. No board of directors
in France, no one telling me what not to do. So far it’s been incredible.
Katharine McPhee is the new spokesperson for Big Sexy Hair.
How did you come to choose her?
I saw Katharine McPhee when there were about 12 contestants left
on American Idol. She blew me away. I loved her grace, her
style, her poise, her voice and her hair! I wanted her to be the
face of Sexy Hair because she represented everything that I had
in my head for the brand: youth, beauty, talent, class, a young
sophistication, and sexiness. It was really a rush when I found
out that she and her mother had been using Sexy Hair products for
six or seven years!
What is your vision for Sexy Hair?
Sexy Hair has a chance to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime stories;
like an Aveda or a Paul Mitchell or even a Redken: an idea that
becomes reality and truly has an influence on an industry. It can
become “an emotional brand” and can become an “evolutionary company”
in the personal care industry. The sky is truly the limit!
You bring a lot of expertise and momentum. What is your personal
philosophy in building a brand?
When I come into a company or manage a brand, I bring a very simple
philosophy, and that is ‘Our job is to make people feel better about
themselves.’ Personally, professionally however you want to internalize
it, we win if we make people feel great. So now think about how
simple it becomes to develop a mission or a business strategy. It’s
really clear whether you’re succeeding or not; you just need to
see those smiles on your customers’ faces. Then, when you talk about
“job satisfaction”, what could be more rewarding than being a walking,
talking breath of fresh air, an emotional lift?
Katherine McPhee, Big Sexy Hairs signature face, tries on
jewellery on the Crown Princess.
A lot of people are saying, We’ve come
to the end of the whole celebrity–personal care run. It’s saturated.
I say, Nonsense. As long as there is someone who evokes
real emotion in people and as long as a company can match that person
with a product that’s really awesome, why would it end?