1990 – Jacques Dessange responded to the changing hairdressing market by creating the brand Camille Albane, with his employee Camille. Just like the young woman herself, the salons were casual, elegant and friendly © DR
The early 90s saw the arrival on the hairdressing market of many very low-priced brands, and it began to split into “low end” brands and more luxurious establishments. Many retailers simply followed suit and lowered their prices. But for Jacques Dessange, the idea of reducing the prices in his salons remained unthinkable, since it would imply a loss of quality and less service.
With that in mind, the seasoned businessman decided to launch an intermediate brand that would be in line with the needs of consumers at the time: finding the best service and the best product, at the best price.
One of his very first employees came to mind immediately: Jeanne Dereux. After employing her for a while in the late 1960s, in the salon on Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, he had helped her set up the Jacques Dessange salon on Rue Bonaparte in Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris.
Jeanne Dereux very quickly put her own stamp on the salon, creating an elegant, yet relaxed and friendly setting that reflected her personality. So much so in fact, that the salon was renamed after her own assumed name: Camille Albane for Jacques Dessange.
Anecdote: When Jacques Dessange was looking for a new name for Camille, he wanted something which was easy to memorize… and which came before competitors’ names in the alphabet! So, he chose Albane, the first name prospective clients would come across in the phone book.
Far from the Jacques Dessange salon at 37, avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, frequented by French and international stars, the Camille Albane salon for Jacques Dessange attracted wealthy women from the Saint-Germain-des-Prés neighborhood and artists like Régine Deforges, Sonia Rykiel, Chantal Thomass and Emmanuelle Khanh, who enjoyed Camille’s personality.
This meant it was vital for each of the brands to have their own distinct character: at the beginning of the 90s, Jacques Dessange had a very status-led image with the feel of “Paris Rive droite”, where social class and the reputation of the places one frequented were very important, whilst the Camille Albane salon reflected “Paris Rive gauche”, where liberated women, artists and intellectuals preferred to meet at more low-key addresses. Women came to the Camille Albane salon for its friendliness and proximity. The versatility of the experts who looked after them throughout their visit helped build a relationship of trust and intimacy.
In 1994, the first Camille Albane salons opened and very quickly became a franchise offered primarily to Jacques Dessange franchisees and their best hairdressers. Trust, knowledge-sharing and delegation skills have always been strong pillars for both companies, enabling ambitious and willing employees to develop within the same Group.