by Cathy Martin
Rodger Azadganian knows a thing or two about the salon industry. Before moving to North Carolina a decade ago, he owned a thriving business in Seattle with salons, an academy and a line of hair care products that were sold in 600 West Coast salons. Azadganian sold that business in 2008 and moved to the beach with his wife, Amy.
But after a year or two, Azadganian realized he wasn’t quite ready to give up working altogether. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the fulfillment,” he says. So in 2010, the couple moved to Charlotte — Amy’s hometown — and opened 8 The Salon at the Village at SouthPark.
In August, Azadganian soft-launched Äz Haircare, a line of shampoos, conditioners, and other styling and finishing products he describes as “craft luxury.”
Azadganian’s goal was to create high-end products that are sulfate-, paraben- and sodium chloride-free. But many similar products currently on the market don’t lather well, leaving consumers feeling like their hair isn’t clean. With Äz, he dedicated six months exclusively to working on getting the lather just right.
“This time, we had more resources at our disposal,” Azadganian says. “We really went out of our way to hire the best of the best,” from the chemistry to the packaging design. In November, he tapped former L’Oréal executive Rocky Rumpel as president of Äz Haircare.
For now, Äz products are available at 8 The Salon and online at azhaircare.com. But Azadganian has his sights set on a much wider distribution. He’s in talks with a large North American distributor, and ultimately, he’d love to take the brand global.
Launching a new line while living in Charlotte has been slightly more challenging than it was in Seattle, Azadganian says. But the Queen City’s reputation is changing, and it’s a more culturally rich city that it was years ago, he says.
“This Charlotte genuinely feels like what Seattle felt like back in 1998-2002, when you could feel the energy and the buzz in the air.”
Äz Haircare products are available at 8 The Salon at 4310 Sharon Road and at azhaircare.com.