Glamour interviews Chiara

When it comes to hair products that work, I.C.O.N. is undoubtedly ahead of the game. This brand, which has been on the market for more than 20 years, revolutionized the world of hair care by achieving efficacy “with natural and ecological ingredients from sustainable resources, which are good for the hair and the environment,” as they explain. Behind this great victory, a woman: Chiara Scudieri (and her partner and CEO Jorge Rubín who lives between the United States and his city, Vigo). I.C.O.N’s hair treatment Power Peptides is included in our ByWomen list of best products created by women and we interviewed her to learn more about her vision as a woman running a company.

GLAMOUR: How was I.C.O.N. born? At what point in your life did you decide to start a company?

CS: The concept rolled out around the year 2000, Jorge (Rubin) and I had worked in different companies, big conglomerates. I started my career in a small company, a family company, Sebastian. And there I worked in education as a platform artist and ran the Product Development Department. I was in charge of research and development, working with their chemists… And then Wella bought Sebastian. So I worked for Wella for about 3 years and I was responsible for their Research and Development Department. But for me it was too confined, too corporate. The concept wasn’t the same. So together, Jorge and I we decided to create our brand, I.C.O.N.. I had knowledge in product development, in hair and its structure, and Jorge had business experience as well as the infrastructure of a great team in Spain.

I.C.O.N. Is a global brand, all the products are developed in Los Angeles, all our labs are local. I like being able to go to our labs, work with the chemists, work with the production and make sure that every product we create is up to our standard. Everything that has to do with product development is in Los Angeles and in Vigo we have a corporate office with a strong infrastructure and education base.  As well as an advanced academy where people come from all over Europe. We are in about 36 countries right now.

G: Do you work with laboratories or do you have your own team of chemists?

CS: Yes, we work with our own chemists with different specialties depending on the different ingredients we want to use. If we are going to create a product for our organic line, I do it with a lab that works with organic ingredients, raw materials. When we created 5.25 our hair replenishing serum, we worked with chemists from a laboratory that understood the process of hair loss and knew which natural ingredients can be used to stop and prevent hair loss. After many years of working in this industry, I now know who is the best in each category.

G: How do you decide which products to create, which innovations to launch?

CS: I am a big researcher, I love to research, I love to travel. I’m fortunate enough to be able to go to different parts of the world and see what’s happening in terms of raw materials and ingredients. So I do a lot of investigation: I base a lot of it on what’s going on in our world around us. What is happening in skincare, what’s making a difference in body care, how are we injecting certain vitamins… Our hair is an extension of ourselves and, with that in mind, I always try to create products thinking about how we can add certain ingredients into our hair care that really transform the structure of the hair and make it look as good as our skin. It’s my passion. I’ve always loved the research part of it and I’ve really found my passion in Research and Development.

G: How has your life changed from working for a company to HAVING a company?

CS: My life changed tremendously. And it changed tremendously for the better because really, as a woman, I feel like being able to work in a predominantly  female industry is very empowering. For me, it’s exciting. I.C.O.N. is formed of 90% women: educators, salon assistants, corporate team, the team in Spain… So the difference is that now I empower other women and I empower a company that I’ve built, not a company that I work for. A company you work for you can give your passion and your all, but a company you have built becomes your lifestyle.

G: Do you think there are differences between men and women when it comes to running a company? Do you think it is easier for them or that it requires more sacrifice as a woman?

CS: I dont know, because I’m not a man, I don’t know if it’s easier for them. But I do think that as women, we are constantly proving ourselves. As women we tend to go the extra mile and make sure everything is aligned and perfect; we respond to needs and we just don’t stop. I love to celebrate women and I think there is nothing more beautiful than a woman because we not only use our brains, but we use our wisdom, our intelligence and then we have our beauty to back it all up.

G: What would be your definition of an empowered woman?

CS: An empowered woman is a woman who is in control. A woman who knows what she wants and goes after it, who is not afraid to make decisions and who is not afraid to look at the big picture and see what is going to work for her company and the people around her. To me, being an empowered woman is really staying true to your values and beliefs and standing firm in what you believe are the right decisions in terms of running your company.

G: What advice would you give to a woman who wants to start a business?

CS: I would tell her to go for it. There will be times when you will question yourself and think “should I have done this, was it the right move?”. But if you stick to your integrity and your values, stay on the right path of what you believe in and work hard, you will find the success you’re looking for. And that takes time; nothing happens in a minute. It’s also important to surround yourself with like-minded people that have the same mindset that you do and be willing to show them that you are doing your part as much as they are doing theirs. That’s how you build a strong and empowered team.

G: How do you balance work and life?

CS: Work is my life, it’s my lifestyle and I don’t feel like I have “a job.” It’s been over 30 years and there has yet to be a day that I say, “Oh my god, I have to go to work.” It’s something I always look forward to because it’s forever changing. When something always changes and motivates you, you don’t get tired of it and you keep that level of excitement going. I have that balance because I really enjoy what I do at work and when I’m on my downtime I enjoy it with my family which is extremely important to me.

G: What plans do you have for I.C.O.N. in the future?

CS: At I.C.O.N. We are constantly innovating. We are always making new and exciting products with new ingredients, new raw materials. What excites me is the future growth of I.C.O.N. and the next generation. We’re a family company so it’s really nice to see the younger generation getting involved and being part of the company. We are continually evolving and it’s very exciting for us. We are seeing how Generation Z has a love and a desire for real products that are not only effective but transparent. In relation to I.C.O.N. We are getting great feedback from them  because we have always stood by our values, from day one, and we continue to do so.