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(Yonhap Interview) Dyson touts Korea's trend-setting beauty culture in product development

Retail/Tourism 17:15 November 01, 2019

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, Nov. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is an ideal place for Dyson Ltd., the British company known for its high-end vacuum cleaners, to develop and test its haircare products, given the trend-setting popularity of K-pop, fashion and cosmetics, a senior Dyson engineer said.

Luke Kavanagh, a senior design engineer at Dyson, told Yonhap News Agency that the British company has begun work to study Korean people's hair as it seeks to eventually develop specialized haircare products.

"Korea is a very important market ... global trends emerge from here," Kavanagh said in an interview on Thursday. "That is partly why I am here."

Kavanagh, who participated in the early stage of developing Dyson's mega-hit hair styling tools -- the Supersonic hair dryer and Airwrap styler -- in Britain, is now based in Seoul to understand and analyze Asian people's hair, particularly for Koreans.

"We are trying to understand consumers we are making the product for," he said, adding that expertise in hair science first comes from studying differences of ethnicity.

A team of more than 200 design engineers and hair scientists has continued to reveal the intricacies of how hair is affected by both drying and styling, so that people can get salon-perfect styling and at the same protect their hair.

"What's so special about Dyson products is that not just it is very lovely and aesthetic but there is technology and science behind," Kavanagh said. "Our motor, which is very small, is about three to four times faster than conventional ones."

After successfully rolling out Dyson's hair dryer in 2016, Dyson also showcased a US$550 hair curler that uses jets of air to achieve voluminous curls, natural waves and smooth blow-dry finishes at home.

To showcase Dyson's knowledge of hair science, the British firm opened Dyson Demo Store Beauty Lab in Seoul where shoppers can experience the latest technology. The place features a machine, called Scanning Electron Microscope, that allows Dyson engineers to analyze a shoppers' hair condition and type to provide personalized recommendations on how they can best care for and style their hair.

"Beauty and health. We are putting (two things) on the same level," the engineer said, adding that Dyson carefully listens to customers' feedback when upgrading the model or showcasing accessories.

Dyson rolled out new attachments for better styling purposes, including Gentle air attachment, called gentle air ring, that reduces hair dryer's velocity but boasts similar performance after some customers complained that airflow was too strong, he said.

In the long term, Dyson eventually aims to manufacture other hair products that are catered to each ethnicity, based on a huge amount of data that will be collected over the next one year while he is stationed in the country.

"First thing is to understand. We are always craving for more knowledge. The more we know the better products we can create," he said. "This is the very first step."

Luke Kavanagh, Senior Design Engineer at Dyson Ltd., talks to Yonhap News Agency on Oct. 31, 2019, in this photo provided by Dyson. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr
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