Wahl Clipper has built a business providing products that groom globally. The company makes and markets electric hair clippers, massagers, beard trimmers, and accessories. While it sells to the professional market, Wahl also peddles its products through retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond, among others. It also operates four operating divisions: Professional, Home Products, Animal, and International. Wahl boasts operations in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Germany, Holland, Hungary, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and the US. Founded in 1919 by Leo Wahl, the family-run manufacturer is headed by Wahl's grandson, Greg, is its president and CEO.
Since the economy took a nosedive and more consumers looked for ways to cut costs for hair care, Wahl has logged sales increases. The company boasts three-fourths of the consumer clippers market and its share has been rising. Wahl typically gains or loses one percentage point in sales each year. During 2008 and 2009, however, the clipper company saw its revenue rise some 10% or more as consumers took hair care matters into their own hands.
To help the company maintain its momentum even after the economy turns around, Wahl has boosted promotion of its home haircutting kits. It's also pushing newer products, such as its Wahl Lithium Ion Grooming Kit that is said to be the first grooming tool to be powered by rechargeable lithium ion.
Wahl has concentrated on increasing its presence overseas, as well. In past years the company has opened subsidiaries in Russia (2010), Brazil (2008), and South Africa (2006). In late 2011 Wahl established a subsidiary in Mumbai to market its products in the highly populated country. Its challenge there in 2012 is to spur change among the current culture to trade in scissors and manual hair clippers, which are used extensively, for electric hair clippers. Unlike Russia, which was already fairly established, India presents hurdles for Wahl as it plans to spend time upfront educating stylists -- seeking early adopters to its products -- before it launches into selling and even manufacturing in the country. The company stands to up its global market share substantially if its expansion in the country goes as planned.
Besides strategically adding subsidiaries to secure its foothold globally, Wahl has grown internationally in recent years through acquisitions. The company now operates in some 165 countries. Its purchase of UK-based Kim Laube & Company added pet clippers to its products portfolio and its Swenson Canada buy brought grooming appliances. – less