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TALENT: Q&A with Alan Eschenburg, Founder of Belegenza – Meet him at The WOMEN’S MAFIA INSIDER’S LOUNGE

By December 1, 2009No Comments8 min read


When I met Belegenza founder Alan Eschenburg and Marketing Director Anat Peri a year ago and they told me about their completely natural product line (soo natural it’s edible!) and how it could change the quality and vitality of your hair over time, I was a bit skeptical… I had tried all kinds of natural products. Now I can tell you – nothing works like Belegenza! My extended family and several of my friends are hooked too.

Alan Eschenburg will be in New York for The Women’s Mafia Insider’s Lounge: A Highly Productive Day At The Spa on Saturday December 5th and you can email to set up a personal hair consultation with this master stylist. Enjoy this Q&A with him below!

HighResolutionGroupWomens Mafia: So, you are an extremely talented hair stylist and colorist who now has an original line of natural, plant-based hair and skin care products – how do you do it all?

AE: I am able to do it because of the incredible people around me; not only the ones who work with me, but because of the clients and customers who believe in us, and demand that I (we) get things done! I learned to be a great stylist and colorist by putting myself around the best masters worldwide, and lived up to their expectations when I didn’t believe in myself. From there, I learned to demand the best of the people around me, and believe that everyone has something major to contribute, plus I just keep going whether I see immediate results or not, UNTIL I get the results.

WM: One of the things I love best about Belegenza (besides the smell and baby-soft effects on my hair) is that all the products are natural to the point of being edible (!). How important was the decision to be completely natural to you?

AE: I knew it had to be possible. In the 90’s as the industry went to synthetic ingredients (generally speaking), I developed skin ailments and health issues that I suspected were related. With my knowledge of formulations, I surmised that if we were able to split petroleum and silicone to make high performance derivatives, that it had to be possible to do the same with “safe” ingredients. The next question was how do we take the right/safe derivatives and blend them for high performance for hair and skin? That took another 12 years to find a chemist who could translate my concept into reality. Imagine looking for a chef to make a meal exactly the way you like it with certain ingredients, and interviewing them for 12 years! I guess it was pretty important, because once I found the team, it took us another year just to get the core ingredients perfected.

WM: What are some of the benefits for your clients and customers?

AE: The number one benefit is that people love the way their hair and skin feels immediately. I love to watch people tell me how they like it. They do this thing with their hands as they get this satisfied, decadent, luxuriating look on their faces as they portray how they caress their hair and comment on how delicious the product and their hair smells as they shampoo and condition. Then they comment on how their hair feels like it did when they were young (before coloring and chemicals and heat damage). Then, like a surprised look comes over their faces and they say, “and my hair grows so fast now!” The other benefits are to our stylists, who are now applying and making available a product that is safe for themselves to use and as it rinses down the drain, it is simply biodegradable and eco-friendly.

WM: How did you get your start in the world of high-end hair and what advice do you have for up-and-coming young stylists?

AE: I treat everyone the same, well, sort of. I mean if it is a celeb, I treat them like an everyday person, if it is a CEO, I treat them in a way that is respectful and attends to their expectations and standards of excellence, and if it is a soccer-mom, I treat her like she’s a celebrity who needs to be served! The foundation for all of that was that I trained like a musician. I practiced the basics til I could do them with my eyes closed. In fact, in my 18th year as a stylist, I became the shampoo assistant to a French trained-Madison Avenue stylist, so that I could personally observe his work. I served the master stylist and his clients coffee, swept hair, cleaned his workspace, escorted the clients through the salon, just so I could see myself from another perspective. I learned more than I could have ever expected.

WM: When did you realize you could make your passion your career?

AE: I originally went to beauty school because I was afraid I couldn’t make it as a musician. I would read my sister’s beauty magazines and was always fascinated with the makeup and hair. So, when it came time to looking at college, we (my family) didn’t have the money to send me to college, so I created a backup plan to pursue my musical career. I interviewed my haircutter and she pointed me to the top 3 beauty schools at the time. I figured I could get my training done in 9 months, and then go to college on the money I’d make as a part-time haircutter. Four weeks into school (by the way, I got myself hired as the school owners’ cook and housekeeper so that I could really be close to the masters!) , I went to a trade show and saw the best stylists in the industry performing things I had only seen in magazines, and I said then and there, that this was my career. In fact, in less than 4 years from that show, I was assisting the very stylists I had seen at that first trade show, and became a team member with that organization the following year (the youngest team member up until then!) About 7 years into it, I remembered that I was a musician, so one of these days I’ll get back to that!

WM: Where were you living at the time and what influences were around you?

AE: I lived in Houston, and again, I had surrounded myself with stylists who could run circles around me! I didn’t mind being the worst stylist in the best salons, so that’s where you’d find me. I found the best stylist of the salons where I got hired and stayed all day every day and assisted them. They were excellent at their craft and I would watch, go to my little apartment with my mannequins and practice every evening. I would give my work away just so that I could practice. I would even do presentations at the local modeling school, as if I knew something so that I could drum up clients or unsuspecting “broke” students who would sit still long enough for me to try something new on them! Word kind got out…..and I got busy with real paying customers!

WM: When you do feel powerful?

AE: LOL…. In the shower! I get my best ideas there and keep my notepad handy so that I can write down the ideas that I have.

WM: What energizes you?

AE: Music and growing plants! I have to be careful with certain music because I get so moved that I just burst into tears from its beauty, so I’m kinda like a closet-music-listener. I also find plants, gardens, etc. so fascinating . I relate to pruning plants like a cutting hair. I like to see the shape now, and love to see how beautifully it grows out! If shrubs paid for their pruning and were as fun to talk to as people, I might have been in that business. So, if you see me in the garden with a earphones and pruning shears crying over a shrub, you know what’s going on….please don’t call the white coats!
Ultimately people energize me, because you really can’t stop the creativity of people. I love to ask people about their passions and get them moving towards those passions because that energizes everyone!

WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you? That sounds like a question I should ask you, because my thinking is probably smaller than what is really possible from your capabilities. You’ve already made this interview possible, and have invited us into your circle, which is an honor, giving us a platform to tell more people what our concept is about… giving people the opportunity to be gorgeous and doing it with healthy ingredients that are safe for them and the environment….kinda gorgeous and guilt-free!

WM: Lastly, share with us – what is the wildest/bravest thing you’ve done?

AE: Started Belegenza Extraordinary Hair Care…….If “they” had told me what it would have taken, I would have stuck to crying over the bushes with the earphones! I guess I had to get real with myself. I have had to learn and continue to learn to trust myself to make the right decisions, and forgive myself when I make mistakes. I’ve had to learn that its’ all a matter of picking myself up, dusting myself off, and starting all over again……moment by moment. If I listen to that “little voice” of laziness and complacency, I’d be on the couch, as round as I am tall, and my shrubs would be overtaking my house by now. LOL! Thank goodness for energizing people, plants and music!

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