If 2017 was about establishing KELA in the Australian market, building brand awareness and engagement from the fashion and hair industry, 2018 was about taking it to the world with a surge in brands, hairstylists and celebrities reaching out to KELA for collaborations, product placements, press opportunities and event inclusions.
We began to make inroads in the fashion and hair industries in the United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada based purely on the local successes achieved in 2017. “We decided to target a couple of key events for the international launch to cement KELA’s place in the global hair and fashion industry and elevate the brand,” says Janna Miccio, PR and Marketing Manager.
Described as “festival meets fashion runway”, the annual Coachella music and arts festival held in America, is considered a trendsetter in music and fashion. In 2018, KELA products were in hot demand from celebrities and influencers keen to create a unique and distinctive festival look. UK ghd global and celebrity hairstylist, Patrick Wilson reached out to us wanting to style their celebrities for Coachella with KELA. UK singer and TV presenter Rochelle Humes and Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall (with a combined social following of 5.6 million) both wore KELA products during the festival, resulting in KELA being featured in a hair trends article in Marie Claire. KELA’s LA-based celebrity hairstylist Lauren Mackellar styled multiple influencers for Coachella including model Jessica Roche, “Yin to my Yang” sisters Charlotte and Sophie Bicks, and Australian “Boy by her” designer Aisha Jade In 2018. For example, with a combined social following of 527,000. Aisha’s Coachella look was featured in the Daily Mail AUS and Vogue USA.
“Coachella was such a huge success for KELA that planning is already underway for the 2019 and 2020 festival. Our focus will be on influencer/celebrity and brand alignment as well as consumer and service partnerships. We are also exploring event stalls with a major hair partner,” says Janna.
We collaborated with Australian fashion label C/MEO Collective for their Sydney Fashion Week resort runway show. “We had eight Australian designers wanting to use KELA products for their runway shows, but we chose C/MEO because of their international presence and commerciality,” says Janna. “This was the major transition for KELA into everyday fashion as a must-have accessory.” C/MEO Collective’s 2018/29 look book for international buyers featured KELA styled into their model’s hair. A number of top influencers, media and celebrities were styled with KELA products by KELA partner salon RAW to attend the C/MEO show including Bachelor in Paradise’s Megan Marx, Miss Universe Tegan Martin, model Laura Dundovic, and fashion influencers Carissa Walford, Belinda Liana, Rachel Tyler and Mel Tam – with a combined social following of 797,500. Australian pop duo, The Veronica’s, with a social following of 121,000, also had their hair styled with KELA products for 2018 Melbourne Fashion Week shows.
We continued to grow our KELA ambassadors, welcoming Luke Benson, British Hairdresser of the Year 2017 who was introduced to KELA by KELA ambassador Eygene Souleiman. Luke has been working with KELA product for shoots and inclusions. LA-based celebrity hairstylist Lauren Mackellar approached us to become a KELA ambassador and styled Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Sherzinger with KELA products (social reach of 3.5 million followers). Nicole loved KELA so much that she requested Lauren to do her hair when she is in LA.
We also identified destination salons for KELA in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Partner salons are destination salons where we can send celebrities and influencers to be styled with KELA products, partner with for events and activations and create social media content. Cutler Salon, one of the leading salons in New York, signed on to be a salon partner. Cutler’s clientele includes celebrities such as American model and TV personality Hailey Baldwin. In 2018, Cutler Salon styled hair for 25 New York Fashion Week shows.
The achievements and growth of the KELA brand are evident and recognised industry-wide with accolades and interest coming from both Australia and overseas. Celebrities continued to be spotted wearing KELA products during 2018 including American singer Kelly Rowland who wore KELA during her time as a coach on The Voice Australia. This was posted on her social media to 9.1 million followers with Kelly crediting KELA for her hair jewellery. American musician Alicia Keys’ stylist contacted us directly asking if she could wear KELA products after seeing Kelly wearing them. Alicia wore KELA products during her time as a coach on The Voice America.
“Brand recognition through social media and influencer marketing and red-carpet looks has translated into steady sales for the company,” says Janna.