With a flagship salon in the ever-popular Covent Garden in London, Paul Windle and Neil Moodie have spread their wings to the US with the launch of the highly anticipated haircare line, Windle + Moodie. Having been in the business for over 30 years, this duo has created eco-friendly, high quality products that leave hair healthy, hydrated and protected. We chatted with this creative team about why they wanted to launch here in LA, how they created their heavenly smelling products, and the exciting changes they’ve seen in the hair industry over the years.
Welcome to Hollywood! What’s the US expansion been like so far?
Thank you. We're super excited to launch in the US. We've had some press recently in the US, purely through word of mouth and so we felt the time had come to actually launch here properly. We've been crazy busy, with 2 launches, a day of practical with some salon hairdressers, and press appointments, too. The response has been amazing and we're really happy that people love the products. We have no ambition to be a huge brand but can work selectively within the niche/specialist hair industry. That’s why we are in select retailers like Violet Grey.
Why was it so important for your first launch to be in the heart of LA?
Violet Grey on Melrose Place have been our only US stockist for just over a year now, which came about through an introduction to them by a friend. The products have been very well received and they've been supportive by promoting us on their website, so to officially do our first launch in LA seemed the obvious choice. Also, lots of top beauty brands originate in the West Coast.
Can we expect to see a Windle & Moodie salon in the States soon?
Not in the foreseeable future. We still have just one salon in the UK at present which has been there for 30 years.
Your hair products smell heavenly. While you’ve created a gender neutral line, how challenging was it to come up with just the right scent that would appeal to both men and women?
The observation was that the majority of hair products were citrus or sweet smelling. We wanted to create something that was more sophisticated than what was found in most hair products and endeavoured to create a fragrance with more notes.
From when you first began in the business to present day, what kind of massive changes have you seen in the hair/haircare industry? Likes? Dislikes?
Paul Windle: I’ve enjoyed the fact that salons have started to understand how important service is and consumer experience. I remember we were the first salon in London to offer hair massages while hair was being shampooed which is now almost a norm. What has improved in the industry is people are much more aware of creating an experience for consumers.
Online reviews have been very helpful in that respect. My dislike is the fact that we are losing independent businesses due to large product companies. I would like to see hairdressers standing up more for what they believe in as opposed to worrying too much about how much money they are making. Salons risk becoming too corporate and forget people love the character of independent businesses. When you lose your character, your business starts to falter. Focus on offering something which is different to your customers. Look at the point of difference and character of your business.
What advice would you give to stylists starting out in the business and wanting to become the next…you?
Neil Moodie: Training and practice is the essence. I meet so many young stylists these days who want to do editorial work, yet are looking for an easy way in. Being super good at your craft is the goal. Getting there is the easier part, staying there is the hard part. Don't stop learning, don't stop training, and don't stop practising. The day you think you know it all is the day to give up. Obviously, some luck has something to do with it, too, [however] being in the right place at the right time really helps but whilst that's a good "in" you have to prove yourself time and time again.
Getting to assist a well-known session hair stylist is really good, too, because you can learn from them. I still try different things out and practice ideas on a training block at home.