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NEO2 interviews Jorge Rubín

Jorge is a visionary and guru of hairdressing. Co-Founder and CEO of I.C.O.N., a half American, half Spanish company dedicated to the beauty industry. You have seen it many times in the credits of NEO2, and for sure you have entered in one of their salons.

They are around the world. They are famous for the quality of their products and the talent of their artists. Jorge is a genius, a hairdresser that doesn’t know how to style – as he says – but he knows the secret and the future of hairdressing. He explains it in this interview.

Your personal motto: “Start doing today what will matter most tomorrow”. What do you think will really matter tomorrow, both in the hairdressing industry as well as in life?

In the hairdressing industry the future is promising, as we see the attention that is being payed to hair care. However, the future is only promising to salons that are wiling to dedicate their time to their teams in order to surpass client’s expectations. Life consists of stages and your tomorrow will depend on how you overcame your previous stage.

How did the idea of creating I.C.O.N. arise? Why from North America and not from Spain, your home country?

Everything started with an idea and it continued developing until it was brought to life. In Los Angeles is where I met Chiara, my partner who worked for another company developing products, and I was the distributor in Spain. In Los Angeles there are some of the most innovative labs that specialize in hair care, therefore it was the perfect match: Chiara, the chemists, the labs and me.

Inside I.C.O.N. what is your main role? And which one do you prefer?

At I.C.O.N. I have many roles. From CEO to salon business development. I have a passion for everything that I do, but my true inspiration comes from working directly with clients to improve their businesses and prepare them to deal with challenges they may be faced with.

In which countries are I.C.O.N. products currently present? In which ones is the brand thriving more?

We are present in four of the five continents and we are preparing our arrival in Asia. For me, companies are as good as the people that work in them and we have found true success in those countries where people understand our philosophy and follow it 100%.

What is the secret of I.C.O.N. Products to get so many awards?

We believe in creating high end quality products with the purest ingredients available so that they can exceed our consumers expectations. The secret is to never stop bettering ourselves.

I.C.O.N. hair salons are also in many European capitals.

We have I.C.O.N. salons in every main European city: Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Budapest, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Geneva, Helsinki, Lisbon, London, Luxemburg, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Riga, Rome, Warsaw, Vienna… We have projected that in the next 2 years we will cover 90% of the continent.

You come from a family of hairdressers, your relationship with hairdressing is vocational or a family heir?

My father had a barber shop and as in every family business you start out helping in your spare time and end up working in it. In my case it is vocational. I’m very passionate for this profession and I do whatever it takes to take it to the next level.

At this moment in time you are not styling, are you? Do you consider yourself a better communicator than a hairdresser?

Actually, I never truly styled hair. When I was a hairdresser, I used to cut hair and my team did the rest of the work. I developed a system within my business without specifically knowing how to style. I’m a hairdresser that always knew how to communicate and today anyone that wants to succeed in business must learn the art of communication.

What is the difference between a hairdresser and a stylist?

A hairdresser is a well-educated professional that can recommend everything that his client needs; from your look to your home care. A stylist is a professional that recommends only your style or look.

What is the working system you have created for all I.C.O.N. salons?

Salons are the image of I.C.O.N. Each of them has its own identity although they share the products, concepts and philosophy. To create unique experiences among their clients, we provide them with education, trainings and inspiration to increase their business and be leaders in their areas.

How do you think the new technologies will impact the hairdressing industry and salons?

New technologies are already impacting the hairdressing industry: from products to services, marketing and educational training… if you don’t accept this, you are out of the game.

Do you think that one day we will be able to be styled digitally? Will robots be able to style us?

Perhaps one day, not far from now there will be intelligent robots that can style better than us humans. That is why we need to train our teams to be highly efficient to be ready for the future, so that robots cannot replace the human touch. Technology should be at our service not to do our work. Its up to you if you want to keep up or stay in the past. Start today what will matter most tomorrow.