Apogee Awards Honorees: Leland Hirsch
Meet Leland Hirsch of Celeb Luxury and No Fade Fresh, an honoree in the Manufacturing category at the 2020 Apogee Awards
Leland Hirsch is the Founder and CEO of Celeb Luxury and No Fade Fresh. Leland was a consultant for beauty publications like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, and New Product Developmental Consultant for companies including Redken and Clairol for over forty years. In the 1990s, Leland developed the first color-depositing shampoos and conditioners, before selling to L’Oreal in 2002. In 2016, Leland developed a next generation line of products for professional colorists under the Celeb Luxury banner, and in 2020, pre-Covid-19, Leland developed No Fade Fresh for mass retail.
Fun fact: I collect Christian Louboutin custom mixed media sneakers and have over 75 pairs.
What is your favorite South Florida dining destination? Prime 112 and Mr. Chow’s
What do you like to do on weekends? I regularly work on the weekends, because I am focused on our business, our employees, and our customers that buy our products.
How do you unwind from a long day at work? I don’t know how to relax, It’s hard for me to turn off thinking about business.
What is your favorite quote? “What should be that is not.”
From whom, or what, do you draw inspiration? I believe a vision is based on what you are exposed to. My travels around the world and my affinity for color inspired me to study and collect iconic American and Chinese art from artists such as Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol, Zhang Xiaogang, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I recently had my beauty photo collection in its own auction at Sotheby’s, and I decided to sell them so that they could serve as future inspiration for others.
What has been the biggest accomplishment of your career? In 1989, I co-founded, with my business partner Michael Mazzei, Artec Systems Group. The company developed innovative new products including the first true Color Depositing Shampoo, Artec Colorist Collection. This innovation was the first in the world and was the first new category in the beauty industry in over 30 years—“Color Depositing Shampoos and Conditioners.” It created excitement throughout the U.S. and Europe.
Taking it to the next level, Artec created the concept, “Personalized,” allowing colorists to mix together Artec Color Depositing Shampoo colors to create a personalized color match for their client’s exact haircolor tone. Ar-tec Color Depositing Shampoo was also voted, best color depositing shampoo, in consecutive years, by over 50,000 to 75,000 hairdressers.
In 2000, I became the first haircolor specialist to receive a North American Hairstyling Awards, The Lifetime Achievement Award (NAHA) from the Professional Beauty Association, that had previously been awarded to Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon.
What has been the most challenging moment in your career and how did you overcome it? At first, my career was about the science. I didn’t go into this industry to be only a haircolorist, I wanted to be a scientist and a haircolorist. I wanted to learn about the chemistry of color and which dyes and compositions would let me achieve the best results for the different types of hair and the situations we as colorists come across.
Second, it was about creating. In the ’60s, I had the idea to create more natural highlights with foil, weaving and slicing for younger clients. It was the era when all color being done was bleached blondes, marbleizing, blonde on blonde and cap frostings, for mostly greying clients over 40.
I wanted to attract young clients, (the daughters), to the salon, and worked on various colors on angles, and mimicking colors in nature for bablyights and other haircolors.
IT WORKED! Traveling and lecturing at major shows for Redken for a decade, I shared my knowledge, ideas and techniques on stage with hair stylists, who were in a frosting cap world, and convinced them to become colorists.
My goal today is to lead the thought process to lead the industry and to help educate clients with the use of better products that make sense.
What advice would you give an up and coming professional? Learn all you can about your craft. Be analytical. Travel more, observe everything, get involved, train others and invest in yourself. Entrepreneurs must create a crossover between passion and innovation.