#BeautyBoss: Alfonso Añorga, Founder of Johnny B. Hair Care
This week’s #BeautyBoss is Alfonso Añorga, Founder of Johnny B. Hair Care—a line of high quality men’s grooming products for hair and skin that are both innovative and affordable. The brand launched in 1994 in Añorga’s garage and since then has expanded into 33 products, helping to pave the way for the modern men’s self-care movement.
In addition, Johnny B. Hair Care places great emphasis on education, and brand educators conduct more than 200 clipper and cutting classes per year—the most of any men’s brand in its existing distribution network. Recently, the brand celebrated its 25th anniversary, and credits its success with a more attentive industry focus on the men’s segment and a more educated consumer.
We chatted with Añorga, who shared his secrets to success, best advice, inspiration, and more:
What inspired the creation of Johnny B. and how did you come up with the name?
The inspiration came from wanting to find a men’s brand that used quality ingredients yet was affordable at a time where very few options existed for hair salons. Originally the branding was 1950s-inspired with just one oil-based pomade—an ode to simpler times when John was America’s most common boys name and the “B" related to who you wanted to be in life!
How long has the brand been around?
Since May 20, 1994.
How did you get into the industry?
My mother Silvia entered beauty school after finding herself divorced with two boys. She quickly identified that she could use her cosmetology license to run a beauty supply and salon. I began working in her stores when I was 12, stocking and providing deliveries to local salons and barber shops.
Tell us more about your line. Do you have a hero product? Favorite product?
My brand is a complete hair, shave, beard, and body line. Our hero product, Mode Styling Gel, is named after my favorite ‘80s band Depeche Mode. Easily my favorite product is Shampoo Paste, a low water content shampoo focused on scalp disorders like seborrhea and dandruff—but it can also be used for shaving. We made it sulfate-free before it was cool to make a shampoo that way and contains no artificial fragrance. Instead, three essential oils make up its scent. I love it because I use on my face as a cleanser, shave cream, and a shampoo.
Where are your products sold?
You can find Johnny B. Hair Care in salons and barbershops across the United States, but never in drugstores or supermarkets.
Who inspires you?
My two children make me complete. Evan is 21 with autism. Cassis (lil’ Al) is in law school.
Secret to success?
Well, I used to say I had a PHD (poor, hungry, and driven). Now I attribute all my success to having the best team in the beauty industry. My staff has been with me for the majority of my run and this familiarity is our success.
Use a 100% boar bristle brush when hair is at its dirtiest to stimulate the scalp and move oils to ends. I do…
I do cardio within 24 hours of getting off an airplane to keep myself free of nasty germs. And I try to get plenty of sleep.
Tough times don’t last, tough people do.
[Images courtesy of Johnny B. Hair Care]
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk