Living in sunny Central Florida comes with a price—a toll on hair. Salon owner and businesswoman Janet West knew her target market needed better products to protect aging hair from the environment so she developed a line of hair care items to meet those needs.
STORY Mary Ann DeSantis /// PHOTOGRAPHY Fred Lopez
After being in the salon business for 30 years in the tri-county area of Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties, Janet West understands her clientele has special hair needs. Hair gets thin and loses its luster with age, not to mention the environmental elements can wreck havoc on a well-coiffed hairstyle.
“I’ve worked with some great products over the years, but I saw a need for products that protected hair from Central Florida’s heat and humidity,” says West, CEO of the newly renamed Tenaj Salon Institute. West is also president/CEO of Salon Jaylee, which has three locations in The Villages area.
The idea for ProTENAJ® products started about four years ago after she talked to stylists in her salons and at her professional salon academy, an accredited training site for hair professionals. She believes stylists know best what customers want and need.
“Our stylists identified the needs of our guests,” says Jeff Morris, marketing director for Salon Jaylee and the Tenaj institute. “Our true focus is to protect hair so we developed products that filled the needs of people who live here.”
After West developed the ideas and proprietary blends, she and her team worked with a California-based lab to select and test the formulas for the hair care line, which includes shampoos, conditioners, styling and treatment creams, and sprays, as well as a system that restores and revitalizes thin hair. All of the products are sulfate-free, which is healthier and extends hair color. She dreamed big and the line initially included 45 products.
“We learned as we developed that more is not always better,” West says. “We’ve ‘edited’ our line and focused on the top sellers.”
That’s not to say more products aren’t in the works. She watches closely to see what customers and stylists still want and need. And she watches how her market is changing. With more baby boomers retiring to the area, she is seeing longer and coarser hair that needs more moisturizing. Thus, she developed the Hydrate Inflection line that is formulated with Villageberry® Complex, a proprietary blend of berries and fruit extracts plus antioxidants that protect hair.
“We also saw a need for products that addressed thinning hair,” West explains. “We developed a formula designed to restore and revitalize the hair and also treat strands at the source by improving circulation at the scalp and follicles.”
Developing a new line of products required a unique name that stood out in the hair care industry. Tenaj, which some say means “forbidden love,” is quickly becoming a memorable name locally.
“Our products invite you to give in to the temptation and indulge in treatments and solutions designed for the needs of your hair,” adds Morris.
Currently, the ProTENAJ® line is available in West’s salons and will soon be available online. The focus for now is developing an e-commerce website, but West still dreams big.
“Our intention for the future is to distribute to other salons in our region,” she says.