Davroe remains committed to providing products that are plant based, sulphate, paraben, and petro free; the brand really was the first of its kind to bring these hair care products to the salon market in Australia. Davroe has never been tested on animals and remains 100% vegan; that’s something we are extremely proud of.
MARY CENTOFANTI, DAVROE MANAGING DIRECTOR
With decades of experience behind her, Davroe’s Managing Director Mary Centofanti is the wonder woman behind the brand; ushering a new era with Davroe’s all natural, vegan hair care range and styling heroes.
Hot off their recent campaign shoot, we sat down with the brand’s leading lady to learn more about Davroe’s beginnings and her vision for its future.
TJ: Talk us through your career beginnings. And Davroe’s brand beginnings?
MC: I started in the industry at age 15 and this year celebrated 35 amazing years! I began as a receptionist for Dresslier (Davroe’s distributors), who distributed a number of brands across South and Western Australia. We also manufactured salon products for the basin and sold high-end wall and pedestal dryers. Davroe was first formulated in 1986 before launching to the industry in 1987.
It began with a small range of products comprising two shampoos, a conditioner, a couple of treatments and a few styling products – nine products in total. In 2006, my husband John and myself took over as the owners of Dresslier. At that time, the company was struggling to compete with overseas brands so major change was necessary.
TJ: Hence the 2006 rebrand and reformulation?
MC: Yes. In 2006, Davroe experienced a major overhaul in both its formulation and packaging. I worked with our chemist to re-formulate the products, removing sulphates, parabens and petrochemicals and switching to an all vegan formula. During this time, there was an up-wave of natural products, with consumers becoming more and more conscious about what they were eating and putting onto their skin.
It was the next progression for us; we wanted to bring wellness to the hair care industry. Today, the range includes 42 different skus, including shampoos, conditioners, treatments and styling products. We’re sold around Australia, New Zealand, the US and are about to commence export to Europe.
TJ: How was this change met by the industry? It seems you started a movement!
MC: Many salon owners and stylists thought I was crazy at the time; no one wanted a shampoo that wouldn’t lather to excess and there was a perception that these products wouldn’t perform. I recall stylists backstage at NYFW remarking that they were surprised the hair ‘held up’ because they thought ‘these types’ of products wouldn’t go the distance. We believe that you needn’t use animal or bi-animal products to produce hair care that works.
It was a hard slog for the first few years but the brand has grown leaps and bounds. These days, so many brands have jumped on board with vegan formulations which is great. Ultimately, it’s about producing quality products for our consumers. It’s also a great way for clients to ‘do their part’ by choosing products that are cruelty free and kind to the environment.
TJ: What do your clients and customers love most about Davroe’s product range?
MC: In my opinion? The variety of products we provide. They also love that we’re a family owned business and that all of our products are made here in Australia – in our head office in the foothills of Adelaide. This comes as a surprise to many as so many brands are now outsourced to manufacturing companies.
Davroe remains committed to providing products that are plant based, sulphate, paraben, and petro free; the brand really was the first of its kind to bring these hair care products to the salon market in Australia. Davroe has never been tested on animals and remains 100% vegan; that’s something we are extremely proud of. All of our products offer colour protection and are low irritant, making them perfect for everyone.
TJ: How much of a hand do you have in the development of new product additions? What are some of your key considerations when creating these?
MC: I work closely with our team of chemists, initially discussing different product options and ingredients that are new to market. I’ll typically test the first sample and give my review before adjustments are made upon my recommendations. Next up, products are reviewed by particular staff members depending on the initial review and changes required.
Products are then given to a small group of key stylists and salons for in-salon testing, before which final changes are made if necessary. Products undergo stability testing, freeze/thaw testing, all of which are required before a product can be released to market; this can take anything from six-to-nine months from inception to salon.
Our key considerations? Quite simply, we look for products that deliver; products that do what their packaging says they will.
TJ: What can we expect to see next from Davroe?
MC: We’ve just gone through a complete rebrand and repack which we’re very excited about! Although our current packaging is still relevant, after 12 years it was time for a new look. Included with the release of our new packaging will be three new products, which our team has been trialing for some time.
On the company front, we will be launching to Europe and continuing our growth here in Australia. That’s always at the forefront for us: Australia will always be our home base. For Davroe, it’s about continually evolving, trialing new formulations that offer true benefits, and last but not least, continuing to fortify the brand’s sustainability.