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Y.S. PARK: The man behind the brand - Backstage Commerce

Posted on Dec 21, 2016

Stylists worldwide are already familiar with the innovations of the Y. S. PARK brand of tools and accessories. As the first choice tool among stage artists like Guy Tang, Ted Gibson, Kevin Mancuso, Nathaniel Hawkins, Christian Mark, Michael Silva, as well as multiple celebrity stylists, Y. S. PARK tools are designed with the stylist’s technique and comfort in mind in order to maximize results.

Most brushes and combs on the market are typically designed as intermediaries between the stylist and the client, but Mr. Park looks at combs and brushes as being just as important, if not MORE important, than electricals and liquids. Brushes and combs are the most used tools in salons, and yet typically have the least amount of time invested in their design.

Rather than complain about the problem, Mr. Young Soo Park decided to do something about it. Speaking to Mr. Park about his tools is akin to speaking to a scientist or engineer about their latest discovery and/or development. Here is my much-anticipated interview with this true innovator and legend in the Hair & Beauty industry.

What made you decide you wanted to be a hairdresser?

Ever since I was young, I always had an interest in design and designing. Nothing was off-limits. I wanted to re-design everything around me. This led me to designing hair, as it allowed me to exercise the most amount of creativity.

So what inspired you to create the Y.S. PARK brand we know and love today?

As a stylist, I spent all of my time in salons, working to perfect my craft. As time went on, I started to contemplate methods to improve my process by making it faster, simpler, and more precise. Using these 3 targets as inspiration, I began to design tools that helped me both demonstrate AND improve my skills, all while saving my time, and the valuable time of my clients. This was the beginning of what is now known as “Y.S.PARK Professional”.

Tell us why is Y.S.PARK Professional is so different than all other comb, brush and accessory brands available in the market today?

Other brands of hairdresser’s tools are often conceived by marketer or brand designer that has never actually studied hairdressing. All Y.S.PARK products are designed by me! …a hairdresser! This was the starting point to achieve the innovations that Y.S.PARK is now known for. With other brands, when designer is not a hairdresser, so many products are often based on older products already in the market, which are now becoming obsolete. The main problem is that these designers will never end up using the tools themselves, as they are not stylists or colorists themselves. These tools are designed with how they “think” the tool is to be used. So I decided to start from scratch and re-design tools to meet my needs as a stylist. I basically created tools that I needed for myself. As a starting point, I would think about the style I was looking to achieve, then engineer a tool that would be perfect to create that hair style.

How do you feel knowing that your products have become favorites among top stylists and colorists around the world?

I am happy to know that top stylists and colorists around the world are thinking the same way as me. They never regret spending more money for my products, as they always achieve the desired result. I am proud and grateful that I can share the value of my products with them.

I have noticed at trade shows that your products have a “cult following” (“cult following” means that the popularity and success of the products happens because one stylist told another). Did you ever imagine that you would reach this level of acceptance and success in the hair and beauty industry?

Yes, actually. I was thinking about that when I created my first combs (YS-339 and YS-101). This is what led me to the 2 different Y.S.PARK trademark designs: the Y.S.PARK “holes” and the “short second tooth”. When on stage, we have often heard stage artists refer to my products as “the comb with the holes”, as it was easy to remember because of the quality, and simple to identify because of the design. Back in the day when this started to happen, I was still working in my salon every day, so I was not investing much time in sales of my products. This level of brand recognition really helped the brand tremendously in those early days. I even had trouble securing distribution at the time because distributors didn’t want to take on the risk of carrying new comb designs that “seemed defective or broken” (the shortened 2nd tooth, for example). They even asked me to “fill in the holes”, and “lengthen the second tooth”! (He laughed hard at this suggestion). But I stuck with it, and now everyone knows that the “combs with the holes” is the Y.S.PARK comb.

Along with your combs, brushes and accessories, you have also engineered a completely unique set of tools used to re-train stylists and colorists in terms of how the understand the head shape, and everything related to the art of hairdressing. They are the HEAD FIT RULERS, and are unlike anything anyone had ever seen before! Why, how and when did you develop these revolutionary techniques and tools? Please tell us the story how this happened!

Starting in 1990, I began exporting my product to the USA and other countries abroad. I also started to attend international competitions and communicate my message and designs with various schools worldwide. I recognised that there are no joint international standards and foundations for all hairdressers. I wanted to create a common thread among stylists worldwide, and since I was a creative stylist and product engineer, I created the Y.S.PARK ‘Head Fit Rulers’ using hi-tech design software, with which I engineered my ‘3D Head Map’.

When did you develop your educational platform to go along with these techniques and tools?

Since 2000, I started to use my Educational System in my own Y.S. PARK Academy in Tokyo, teaching all the staff at my salons. I have yet to officially launch the program worldwide, so I am currently launching it one country at a time. The next country on my list is Canada. Eventually, we will open our International Academy, inviting stylists, colorists, and teachers worldwide to learn these new techniques.

Where have these techniques been taught so far?

I have taught the ‘Head Fit Rulers’ techniques and ‘3D Head Map’ in Japan, USA, Korea, China, Germany and Russia.

I understand you will now be offering your first set of classes in Canada at the Toronto ABA in March of 2017. You must be excited to be able to spread your knowledge for the first time to Canadian Stylists and Colorists? How did that come to be?

I used to work in a salon in Vancouver in 1979. After that I had visited Canada often, and I know that Canadian stylists are very talented, but rarely saw them compete in international scholastic platforms. It seems to always be stylists and colorists from schools in Paris, London and NY that “seemed” to be stronger schools in the world. This supported my concept to create a joint international standard; fair for all. I wanted Canadian stylists to have access to the same level of education as these other countries, and really show off their skills; I know first-hand how particularly dedicated Canadians are to their crafts. I am definitely excited to make Canada my next stop as now we have great support with our exclusive Canadian importer, Backstage Commerce Inc., as well as our new Ontario distributor, Venus beauty Supplies. On top of offering the products, both are very focused on education; which is very important to me.

Do you have any new products that are going to be released soon? We would love a sneak peek!

At the moment I am working on few new products. However to release each product takes me minimum 6 years as I test each tool in my own salons until I feel they are perfect. It has been said that mastery takes 10,000 hours to achieve, and I believe in that principle. I believe it’s worth it.

For the first time ever in Canada, Mr. Park will be teaching his innovative techniques to a limited audience at the 2017 Toronto ABA on March 26th & 27th, proudly hosted by Venus Beauty Supply.

For more information or tickets (limited), please contact:

Liz Cabral-Hinks, Education & Events Manager: cell 1-519-212-2213, email: [email protected]