Eleni & Chris, founded by mother and daughter Inger Ellen Nicolaisen and Christinah Nicolaisen, is a hugely ambitious Scandinavian haircare and beauty brand determined to play credibly across many categories. DewGibbons + Partners developed a masterbrand positioning and identity to ensure consistency, clarity, and future stretch to support the brand’s hair and beauty product portfolio strategy, as well as packaging design for Eleni & Chris Salon Signature Collection, the brand’s inaugural six-strong range of premium salon professional haircare products.
The Scandinavian salon professional haircare market is price sensitive, declining, and dominated by huge global brands reliant on heavy discounts, major marketing expenditure, and frequent brand extensions, sometimes with 50 SKUs or more. So it was a huge risk to create Eleni & Chris Salon Signature Collection – a completely new premium brand in this category with no discounting, little marketing spend, and just six products.
The positioning and design leverage everything that Scandinavian beauty stands for, celebrate the provenance of the brand’s unique natural ingredients, and harness the founders’ personalities. This is key to success in busy and brightly lit retail and salon environments where shelves are often stacked high with a myriad of products, and where in-store recommendations are all-important.
Eleni & Chris is all about being ‘Beautifully different’. It reflects the contrasts and shared passion of its founders who are very different in background and approach, but share an extraordinary level of drive, passion, and creativity, rooted in and inspired by their Scandinavian home.
The 3D geometric symbol, used as the masterbrand logo, can be layered with different meanings, depending on where and when it’s used: science, expertise, alchemy, natural products, and more. It borrows from the graphic lines so often seen in Scandinavian design. For Eleni & Chris Salon Signature Collection, the symbol signals the alchemy and preciousness of the Scandinavian ingredients.
The idea of contrast is visually expressed by a simple diagonal graphic device which can be flipped, matt versus shiny textures, and lighter colours set against darker ones. Like Scandinavian beauty itself, the packaging is clean, stripped back, minimal, and effortless. DewGibbons + Partners also borrows heavily from the skincare category. Soft muted colours reinforce the brand’s refined elegance and the natural Scandinavian aesthetic, and the use of silver references its premium nature.
The Eleni & Chris Salon Signature Collection is currently shipping to selected Headmasters Salons in the UK. It has been available in Scandinavian salons for the past year and results there have been incredibly impressive given the context of a price-sensitive, declining market, heavy discounts from well-established global brand competitors (with none from Eleni & Chris), and very little marketing expenditure compared to that of global competitors:
• Exceptional +52% sales value versus target
• Outstanding +50% sales volume versus objective
• Amazing double digit 14% share of salon sales doubles objective
• Fastest growing brand within Scandinavian salons
Joachim Schwartzbach, Director at Eleni & Chris, said: “Without the positioning and brand design, Eleni & Chris Salon Signature Collection could never have been as successful as it is. We simply can’t compete with the marketing and promotional budgets of big global salon professional brands, so the packaging design has to really work hard for us. Salons are telling us that customers always ask about it because the design is ownable, has a strong on shelf impact, and is very differentiated from competitors.”