We had the good fortune of connecting with Chaz Dean and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chaz, what are you inspired by?
Really everything around me: Nature, art, beauty, fashion, friends and family, music, my angels (Bella & Riley), and spirituality.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
While in school for photography at the age of 19, I realized that in order to portray my unique vision, I needed to learn the art of makeup and hairstyling. Once I got into hair, I instantly fell in love, and knew I wanted to pursue it as a career. I then enrolled in cosmetology school. Once I graduated I moved to Los Angeles and started at a salon and completed an apprentice program in a short six months.
I quickly climbed the ranks and was a salon manager by the age of 22. What opened up my career is when I asked the people I worked for, why they did not have a deep conditioner in their product line. They offered to set me up with a lab to create the product for them. I successfully created and launched an amazing reconstructor hair conditioner. Shortly after, they approached me about launching a more natural product line, and I created three products which launched a year and a half later. Big Sexy Hair then became a world-wide, multi-million dollar brand.
Years later, the owners asked if I would be interested in purchasing the salon, which would become one of the best decisions in my lifetime and is now known as the Chaz Dean Studio. On May 1st 1993, I opened my salon and infused my own beliefs. I did not pay attention to what other salons were doing, because I wanted to do things my way without being influenced by others. Coincidentally at the same time I decided to give up lather.
After being lather free for two years and formulating my own concoctions on each and every client I decided to develop on my own product line. At the time it was a radical concept, a lather free shampoo, but I knew that if we could shift the mindset worldwide of what it means to gently cleanse the hair without harsh detergents and surfactants it would shake the industry. The development of the lather free shampoo took five years of research, formula adjusting, and testing to become the universal 5-in-1 product (shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, detangler, and leave-in conditioner) that is now known worldwide as Cleansing Conditioner.
In November of 2000, I launched Wen by Chaz Dean Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner. I was grateful enough to have my friend Mindy Cohn who helped me get the product into the hands of celebrities like Halle Berry, Drew Barrymore, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and many more. In 2004, I was introduced to the cast of Desperate Housewives, who fell in love with WEN and they created a house account for their set. This opened the door to opportunities like gifting Oprah Winfrey, which gave me the confidence to pursue a partnership with QVC in August of 2005 and later go on to produce an infomercial for the collection. The product line rapidly gained popularity, growing steadily, to eventually capture the spot (in 2015), as the #1 beauty brand on QVC and #3 haircare brand in the US. To date I currently have expanded our products not only in haircare, but now into skincare, kids, men’s, pets, fragrances and candles with much more to come.
I want the world to know that I believe in following your passion in life and to not let “no’s” be the final answer. To rather find a new path and solutions that would lead you a “yes” and ultimately reach your end goal.
People often ask me if I ever doubt what I’m doing and I always tell them that the day I start to question this, will be the day that I need to move on and do something else. I love doing what I do and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Visit Project Angel Food Walk around The Grove
Outdoors / Hiking
– Beaches in Santa Barbara
– Take the dogs to Huntington Dog Beach
– Runyon Canyon Park
– Hiking – The Observatory
– Gracias Madre West Hollywood
– Bottega Louie
– Nic’s On Beverly
– The Greek Theatre
– Hollywood Bowl
– Dodgers game
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, I want to recognize my family for allowing me to express myself to be who I am and to live my life authentically. When I was starting out in my career at 19 years old Madonna and Oprah really inspired me because they always seemed to find a way to really keep pushing, finding success, and persevering through any and all naysayers and obstacles. In terms of spirituality, Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book The Power of Intention, as well as Dr. Reverend Della Reese Lett who was my minister and friend for over 25 years prior to her passing.