Daniel Kaner explains how to evaluate hair care products, the biggest beauty mistakes people make, and what sets Oribe apart in a crowded industry.
By Amy Gill
Daniel Kaner is a powerhouse in the beauty industry. He transitioned from scrap metal recycling in Minnesota, to working for Aveda, co-owning Bumble and Bumble with partner Tev Finger (which then sold to Estee Lauder), and then partnering with one of the most influential hair stylists in the world, Oribe Canales to create a best in class luxury beauty brand. Now Oribe is sold around the world, is winning awards, and it seems to be just the beginning for this dream team.
1. We have to ask, how did you go from the scrap metal recycling industry into beauty?
When I met my wife, Sonia Kashuk, she was consulting with Aveda Corporation, which was based in Minnesota, where I was living. She introduced me to Horst Rechelbacher who was the founder of the brand. Horst and I became friendly and when Sonia and I married and I moved to NY, he asked me to join his company.
2. What did you take from your experience with Bumble & Bumble to Oribe? What are some of the biggest lessons you learned?
If we are lucky, we learn along our lives journey. Bumble & Bumble was a great company filled with great people. We had a very interesting distribution model where we sold directly to salon clients. In addition, we had a wonderful academy where we taught salon owners how to conduct their businesses in better ways and how to bring better practices to their business. We also had a very elaborate technical school that allowed us to give back to the stylists. I picked up a lot of memorable learnings and experiences both at Aveda and at Bumble & Bumble.
3. The beauty industry is crowded – how does Oribe stand out from others?
100%. We started with that exact idea when we created Oribe. Every other category had a good, a better, and a best. The hair business was an underdeveloped category. Most hair care was sold in either the pro segment (salons) or big box stores or drug stores. There was never a best in class and that’s exactly where we started our development journey.
4. How should consumers be evaluating beauty and hair care products? With so many options, what is important to look at?
A product should be of high quality. It should not strip the scalp of its natural oils or strip the color from the hair. Quality formulations are sodium chloride free and ultimately very gentle; treating your scalp just like you would treat your face. As far as the styling products, they should be robust and they should be multi-facetted. Curling, finishing, de-frizzing, straightening, they should perform the way you want them to perform.
5. What is a big mistake people make with their hair care or a tip you have learned through the years?
Shampoos; they foam and many judge this as cleaning the hair. It’s very caustic and it’s eating away at their natural oils and stripping the color from the hair. Some of the most caustic elements that create the most foam are cheap and strip the hair of its color and can cause inflammation on the scalp. Also, washing too often on average of twice a day.
6. What trends are you seeing in haircare/beauty industry?
Curly, natural, healthy. Embracing your natural texture.
Watch the video below, to see how Cleo Wade keeps her curly hair looking healthy and natural. Check out the Oribe Youtube Channel for more great how-to videos.
7. We love the way your products smell! Can you tell us a little bit more about the details behind the fragrance?
Instead of using a fragrance to cover the base of the formula, it was our goal to create a real perfume that would act as a leave behind once the alcohol flushed off (from hair spray for example). We work with a famous French fragrance house to create Cote d’Azur, a beautiful shared fragrance that is a signature part of our line.
8. #1 MUST HAVE product from your line?
Shampoos and Conditioners are extraordinary, but based on global demand our Dry Texturizing Spray is one of our finest products. It defined the category. It will create volume, separation and extend the blowout. Also, it has our signature fragrance Cote d’Azur embedded in it. It is an amazing product. Give it a try!
9. What’s next for Oribe?
We have been working on some amazing collaborations and as much as we’d like to share them with our friends in Detroit, you’ll just have to wait and see!
10. Who inspires you in the hair care/beauty world?
There are so many great artists. Oribe, our namesake, is such a talented modern inspiration. He reinvents himself every year. Our team of educators (there are 18) that work so hard. They work on the fashion collections, they do education in our salons, editorial work…they keep our hairdressing standards very high so hats off to them.
11. Can you share how you find the balance between work and your personal life?
I love to garden in my home in Roxbury, CT and I love to cook with my family and I read historic fiction extensively. I love what I do and I love the brand so I’m really passionate about it and passion is restorative.
12. What does a typical day look like for you? What is your favorite part about your job?
I am still very passionate and active with all of the teams, product development, marketing, I also teach. The reason I was in Michigan was we did a workshop at one of our finest salons, The Beauty Lounge. They hosted a seminar on customer experience as well as a client experience with some of the chicest women in West Bloomfield in attendance. These customers heard our story and we were able to talk about trends and the brand. It was a wonderful trip.