Angus Mitchell – Exclusive and In Conversation with Estetica

Here is the full version of the interview we published in our Summer issues of Estetica UK and USA. This May, Team Estetica caught up with Angus Mitchell, Co-Owner of John Paul Mitchell Systems, at the brand’s Together event in Rome, Italy.

John Paul Michell Systems recently held its massively successful Together event in the Italian capital. While we were there, were delighted to have the opportunity to talk to Co-Owner, Angus Mitchell, about the brand’s current strategies, its future plans and it’s take on some pivotal issues impacting our industry, including technology, education and, of course, the big talking-point of the moment, sustainability.

Angus Mitchell, the world is an unpredictable place at the moment. As a company, what is Paul Mitchell doing to reduce the impact of these uncertainties?

Our commitment to the industry is unwavering.  JP entered JPMS in a trust to ensure we stay privately held and we have over 300 more years left! As a family-owned privately held company, we can make quick decisions in support of our industry while staying true to who we are. We believe in investing in our people first and encourage an immersive focused on positive communication, health-relating frame works, self-love, and respect for differing perspectives.  We know that a happy, engaged team will produce a healthy successful outcome. As well as our Product Innovation Center, which focuses on catering to the success of salons and stylists, we are also building a Paul Mitchell Advanced Academy.  This will be a place where industry professionals can gather to be inspired and educated by some of the world’s most talented educators.

What are your main goals for 2023 and in the longer term?

Global travel and connecting with our people in-person are my top goals for 2023 and the years to come.  I am so happy to be travelling again. When we can meet and learn from one another, we are all that much stronger together.  We have slowed down on the large hair shows and are instead focussing more on Intimate gatherings. So far this year, and I have visited Italy, Mexico, Spain, and France. 

My overwhelming feeling is that there is a hunger for more connectivity, as well as more love and joy of the JPMS culture and a stronger connection to the philanthropic commitments of our company.  I have a commitment to continuing to inspire artists through artistic possibility with the great Robert Cromeans and our talented Art Directors. It’s so important ensure our people feel supported, inspired and cared for in every way.

Angus Mitchell, tell us about any new product launches and plans to develop the brand.

We have a very full calendar of exciting launches for 2023. The year kicked off with the Tea Tree Special Detox category, which addresses scalp problems. We have seen the scalp care market grow with an increasing focus on taking care of the skin on your head in the same way you would your face or body. This was off the back of a new Scalp Care category in our Clean Beauty brand at the end of 2022. Also this year, we have exciting new developments in our colour portfolio, with a ten minute colour to cater for the busy lifestyles, as well as a new colour brand which we’re certain will satisfy even the most adventurous stylists.

Furthermore, we have exciting new developments for our Awapuhi Wild Ginger brand coming this summer, taking us back to our Hawaiian roots and retelling the story of the sustainable Awapuhi farm where we grow all our awapuhi for these products. As a child, I worked on the farm with my father – it was hard work, but those times bring back some of my fondest memories.

Paul Mitchell has become synonymous with sustainability and caring for people and the planet.  What advice can you give to help reduce our industry’s negative effect on the environment?

Just by working with John Paul Mitchell Systems brands you are helping to care for the planet. We recently hired a new Senior Director of Sustainability, Sean Ansett, to join our team and he is really helping us towards our commitment to climate neutrality across our operations by 2050. Sean has helped us to up our game, measure and reduce and offset our emissions and, by working with third party organisations like TerraPass and REDD+,  to help us in our carbon neutral commitments. We’ve also joined SPICE (Sustainable Packaging Initiative for Cosmetics), which brings the industry together to drive the future in sustainable packaging. We continue to decrease our use of virgin plastic by transitioning to PCR (Post Consumer Recycled) packaging and have introduced refill pouches. We also have a new tool recycling program in the US with Homeboy Electronics Recycling.

As a company we are focusing our efforts around four key pillars; reduce virgin plastic, reduce carbon footprint, sustainable and responsible sourcing and minimize waste to landfill. Within each of these pillars there are many projects and goals we are working on – as a company built on the philosophy of regenerative roots, we are truly proud of where we have come from, how much we have achieved and where we will get to in the coming years. We have also renewed our tree planting partnership with Reforest-Action, we have already achieved our goal of planting one million trees by 2022 and have now committed to planting another million by 2030.

How do you feel about the way technology is impacting on the professional hair care industry?

What we learned from COVID is that we can reach more people through technology.  Thanks to digital media, we are now more globally connected than ever. Most importantly, we learned that there is no replacement for hands-on education and the art of human connection.  As human beings, this is where we thrive. I believe technology should be embraced, some forms will be easily integrated, while others may not. That’s OK, but we should try to be open, we may just learn something!

Are you concerned about AI and the way it’s distorting our perception of reality?

Your question has just provoked another question: “What if I were attending beauty school and my teacher did not know how to teach formulation in a way that I understood?”  Would AI be a better teacher?  YIKES!  I guess in response to your question is that AI is something that I’m still becoming familiar with. It’s just too soon to answer.

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