Jose is not only transparent about her personal journey under the magnifying glass of entrepreneurial
scrutiny, she continues to be a candid voice around wellness and ‘hair colour as a health
choice’. Brought up to believe that health is number one, to stay away from chemicals, and that life as a gift is not for wasting; Bryce Smith blazed a trail in the green beauty space long before the term evolved in the minds of the beauty community. She was, and still is, driven by an authentic need to provide consumers with a superior yet natural solution to hair care, and always believed O&M as a leading clean luxury brand would, much like food, makeup and skincare, become a health choice.
She’s as tenacious as she is busy. When she’s not hopping between the company’s Sydney based
headquarters and the O&M NYC Salon Academy, she is factoring in meetings with her team, vendors,
investors, new business opportunities, and working diligently on her objective to sustain a full concept for salons around healthy hair. All that, while donning her mother-of-two hat.
Having built her brand from the salon up in Sydney, O&M sits at the luxury end of the clean beauty
movement; and now straddles high-end retail (think Net-a-Porter and Sephora) and the professional
credibility of hair salons globally. The business provides a front door to back door/haircare to salon
service, that’s boutique enough, nimble enough and conscious enough to stay ahead of the curve and
maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.
With their factories in NSW creating all their haircare, and their specialised O&M hair colour developed in Italy, this Australian business is rolling out further expansion plans to meet demand from overseas distributors; while observing their commitment to sustainability through immediate plans such as moving to full ocean recyclable packaging.
Bryce Smith has over her twenty-year tenure with O&M won some, and lost some; indeed, she
unreservedly discerns she has made all the mistakes on behalf of those businesses that have
subsequently joined the green beauty arena. However, armed with a resolve to control her own destiny,
a commitment to bridge the gap between natural and luxury; and persistence to several years of the
research and development of her own ammonia, ppd, resorcinol free hair colour; Bryce Smith has
successfully and authentically tapped into the wellness lifestyle choice.
“Behind every successful brand is someone who’s in love with it. I’m in love with this brand.”
– Jose Bryce Smith.
Top five personal hair care tips? Never say you hate your hair! Embrace it, work with it, treat it well, learn what it needs. I need volume so I always start in the shower with Fine Intellect shampoo and conditioner and I use a lot of products and heat styling so I do regular treatments at least once a week before I go in the ocean or pool I spray in leave-in conditioner (Know Knott) and for styling, I always wave my hair using an iron, it’s great for underneath too even if I keep it straight on top, gives volume and texture and lastly, dry texture spray (Desert Dry) would be my if I could only have one styling product, it takes my hair from flat to fabulous in seconds.
Any insider info you have picked up on your journey? That when you create from your heart, the result is always better, and you will attract people who you need on your journey when you live authentically
How do you incorporate sustainability into your business? We’ve done lots of small and big changes within our business starting with while the vast majority of O&M’s packaging is recyclable, we are now developing sustainable packaging across our range of products where possible. Additionally, while some of our products currently use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) packaging, we aim to have new product packaged in FSC board.
Our O&M factor is 85% solar-powered and within all of our workspaces, office and factory we eliminated single-use plastics, we use who gives a crap! Recycled toilet paper and we are incredibly careful in discerning the need to print emails and other collateral.
Our eco towels and gloves are biodegradable and sold into salons to provide further protection while applying colour, and O&M also advocates salons partner with Sustainable Salons.
Our core has been to provide a healthy, environmentally friendly product within a chemically driven world, we will continue to blaze a trail in the green beauty space. Health and wellness are at the heart of the O&M brand; and we see sustainability not so much as a challenge, as part of our evolution
What makes you passionate about your work? I feel lucky to be doing what I am doing, I have always been passionate about low tox living, health is my no 1 value and hair colour and hair care is just my small area of the planet where I would like to make a difference.
What would you say your career highlight has been so far? Launching COR color in 2016, it was our 3rd generation of hair colour and we spent years developing it with everything you can imagine going wrong. We wanted to create an ammonia, PPD and resorcinol free hair colour that performed at a salon level just like mainstream chemical colour, so many people told me it couldn’t be done. We proved them wrong and COR color exploded the O&M business and PPD (which is a dark hair dye) in 2016 became highlighted by various cancer councils as potential carcinogens and hair colour became a health choice
What’s next for O&M? We spend a lot of time and resources researching our future generations of hair colour and we are very focused on new product development and new markets, we have lots of new country launches planned for 2021 but for now, we are grateful that hairdressing has emerged out of COVID as an essential service.