Kenra is founded in Indianapolis with "no tweeze" wax depilaroty
Kenra haircare line launch
Kenra Volume Spray 25 launch
Kenra adopts iconic silver packaging
Kenra Platinum launch
Kenra Volune Spray 25 wins first Stylist Choice Award
Kenra accquired by imperian Capital Group
Kenra moves to 22 East Washington Street
Kenra acquired by TSG
Kenra acquired by Henkel
Kenra Color launch
Kenra Color launches Guy Tang Metallic Shades
Kenra Professional launches International
Kenra Volume 25 wins 12th Stylist Choice Award
Henry Meyers came to America with his Dutch parents in 1920 as a wide-eyed, adventuresome 10- year-old. They came to scape Nazi occupation of their homeland, and to pursue freedom and prosperity. Henry grew up in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, quickly learning English, and getting very involved in school, music and sports... anything that involved people. But even as a teenager, he was in his uncle’s barber shop cutting hair and just cutting up with everyone who entered the shop.
It didn’t take Henry long to buy his uncle’s barber shop, and of course you know the first thing he did was raise his prices because he was worth it. If the barber down the street was worth a nickel, certainly he was worth a dime. It became very clear that he could and would engage every person in his chair in a wandering verbal exchange to delight everyone within earshot. Whenever the barber supply salesman came in to Henry’s shop, Henry couldn’t wait to see and to sell the newest, finest item to all his customers. He knew they would love it, and there’s little he enjoyed more than selling (even if it were only his point of view he was proffering)
That skill was not lost on the barber supply company and soon Henry was offered a job with Kennedy Beauty Supply in Michigan. He hit the road selling and the world will never be the same. If his boss wanted 10 barber chairs sold in a whole region, Henry would move 25 himself. He loved showing the features and benefits of his wares because he loved people, and he knew they would be as excited as he was about these new-fangled gadgets. He would tell you of the many firsts that he witnessed in the barber and beauty supply industry from the “cold wave” to shampoo (works even better than shaved soap in a gallon of water!)
It didn’t take long before manufactures heard about the success of this distributor salesman, and soon he was offered a territory sales management job by Ray Lee of the Rayette Company. He remembers receiving his very first bonus check ($600 – back in those days, a huge amount of money), and he immediately endorsed it and mailed it on to his mon as he had no need for it. His successes continued until he was promoted to the national sales manager there. He knew every aspect of the industry from the barber’s chair to the manufacturer’s P&L. but his company grew more bureaucratic, he found himself at odds with ivory towers managers who has no idea what was happening in the field or what had made the company successful. He had put more distributors in business than office-dwellers had ever visited. It was time to move on.
He had done everything else in the barber/beauty business, so why not start a new company, or better yet, buy one. So in late 1959 at the ripe old age of almost 50 years, he acquired a small manufacturer of wax depilatories in Indianapolis called Kenra Laboratories, which since the late 40’s had tried to make its way into the shampoo business. This little company has total annual revenues nearing $170,000 but Henry was thinking bigger. So he moved his wife and daughters, all of whom were or were to become hairstylist, to Indianapolis to take on this new challenge.
Henry knew what it took to make shampoo and to sell shampoo. He loved every aspect of this business and all the people he had met and worked with over his 75-year career. His experience and his love for people did not let him down. He progressively grew his company beyond private label manufacturing to be regarded as producing high quality professional products.
Henry made it his daily routine to move quickly to the plant and assist on the production line. In spite of his limited vision, he learned to move cases from the production line to waiting pallets. In the meantime, he would talk with all the employees in the plant. He would talk, he would cajole, he would kid, he would make up nick-names for every single employee he would know everyone by their voice, even the sound of their walk. He relished pay-day, when he would personally hand out every check, making sure to inquire about everyone’s families, their hurts and their joys. The people of Kenra were his extended family – he knew it… and we knew it. And no one would have it any other way.
He remained active in Kenra until he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2000. On March 6, 2001, the beauty and barber supply industry lost one of its pillars, one of its very best, but we are all better off for Henry Meyers having dared, cared, and shared!