Conair was incorporated in 1959 by Julian Rizzuto and his son, Leandro (Lee), as Continental Hair Products. Conair is one of the largest privately held health and beauty small appliances companies. It undertakes manufacturing under the Cuisinart, Interpak, BaByliss, Conair Pro, Conair Jheri Redding Pollenex, among other names.
A little history
The story of its growth is one to marvel about. It initially began as a result of the invention of the “machineless permanent wave,” which was a chemical process that replaced electric hair curling for a time. Rizzuto and his wife initially operated a beauty parlor in the 42nd street, Manhattan, which collapsed in the 1950s. This left them with only one thing – an improved first drying hair roller he had invented. He began reproducing the devices of the same series in a small basement in Brooklyn, with a startup capital of only $100. So you see, this is a truly specific American story.
The new company was launched as Continental hair. Rizzuto started manufacturing premium-quality, premium-priced hair curlers that he supplied to beauty salon businesses around the area. It quickly became a huge hit, forcing the business to expand rapidly due to its immediate success. Unfortunately, in 1965 the company suffered huge losses due to the destruction of its Brooklyn quarters by fire and it was underinsured. Julian soon died in 1967, leaving the relatively vulnerable business behind. Leandro took over the company, which is managing till this very day. However, the introduction of a new range of products such as hot combs, curling irons as well as pistol-grip style dryers were quickly embraced as revolutionary. When compared to the salon type hair dryers that were initially in use, they emerged as superior products, ready to hit the market.
In 1972, for the first time, Continental hair offered its stock to the public. The company did this in a bid to raise working capital for expansion. However, most of the shares were still in the hands of the management. In 1985, it organized for a leveraged buyout financed by the public sale of debt securities, rather than privately arranged bank loans.
The financing called for Rizzuto’s business to sell $190 million of debt securities through Conair Acquisitions Corp. The funds raised here were used to buy $169 million of common stock, from Conair shareholders.
Growth and Ownership
Over the years, Conair has acquired many companies in different parts of the world, in a bid to expand and manufacture even more products giving them a global outlook. For starters, Continental Hair acquired Ethical Persona Care products Ltd. This became a subsidiary selling a line of hair dryers to mass-merchandise chains under the brand name “Superstars”. By 1974, Continental hair was designing and marketing a great range of beauty equipment, such as hand-held dryers, under the Conair name, hot combs curling irons as well as other hair care accessories.
Secondly, the company started producing the Vidal Sassoon line of hand-held dryers, brushes and cutlery as well as producing some private label products.
Conair entered the United Kingdom market in 1995 selling their hair care products under their Revlon name. To expand in the European market, it bought Babliss SA, a French company. Babyliss was the inventor of the electric hair curler, as well as waxers. This acquisition greatly enhanced the sales of the company but soon it faced a lawsuit by one of its major competitors – Braun, over patent infringement of hair dryer attachments.
Conair curling irons
Conair is a trendsetter in the current market for anyone in search of quality curling irons. Not only they are relatively affordable, but they come with a wide range of up to 15 temperature settings. In matters of variety, they have a dual voltage of standard 120V used in US and 240V for operation in foreign countries. Most of these products are made for the working class lady to whom time is an important commodity. Almost all Conair curling irons have a quick heating time of 60 seconds, which is genuinely next to none.
Here are 2 of my favorite models:
Infiniti Pro by Conair Curl Secret
- Patented grip handle designed for greater control and fast manipulation.
- Automatic shut-off mechanism.
- Flashlight indicates when to start styling the hair.
- 5-year warranty, enhancing the security of any user’s pocket.
- Can be used for any hair type including thick, course, thin and even color treated.
- Temperature changes can be made while still in use, using 2 heat levels and 3 timer settings, with a maximum temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat chamber heats hair homogeneously.
- Tourmaline ceramic technology creates beautiful shiny hair.
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Conair YOU Style 360°F Tourmaline Ceramic Styler CS54XR
- Gives you a rich, glowing look. Your curls will be smooth, shiny, without the fuzz or kinks. Whether you are going for romantic curls or trendy waves, the YOU Style handles all these choices wrapped in the same package.
- Multi-functional tool – you may either curl or straighten as you please. Curls made with this unit will last 18h, even in environments with high humidity.
- Tourmaline Ceramic technology provides a smoother glide and protects your hair.
- Heats in under 30s.
- Heats up to 360°F.
- 2-year warranty
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Conair has at the moment one of the most advanced tourmaline ceramic technologies, essential for keeping your hair free from fuzz even after styling. Their products are lightweight, easy to carry and handle. To top it all up, virtually all Conair products come at very affordable prices and with a good warranty. Overall, I am more than impressed with the quality and durability of their products.
Now it’s your turn to talk about Conair. Have you used some of curling wands or irons from Conair? Please share your thoughts with us.
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