Gregorio Antonio Luciano, President
Sancocho is a hearty Dominican stew made from a variety of meats and vegetables and is a cherished national dish. Gregorio Luciano says, “Everybody knows the ingredients for Sancocho, yet what makes each family’s version unique is the way they prepare the recipe. It is the same for our haircare.” Luciano has taken natural ingredients indigenous to his native Dominican Republic and created a unique haircare formulation that works for a diversity of hair textures. The haircare line provides an effective treatment for dry, damaged, haircolor-treated, processed and thinning hair.
Luciano came to the United States in 1983, running track in high school and attending the University of Albany. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and a Master’s Degree in Organic Chemistry with an MBA from Long Island University. He worked as a chemist and researcher in his early career, winning ‘Chemist of the Year’ in 1998, while working for Wyeth Laboratories, now Pfizer. He went on to work as a service engineer, teaching chemistry as an adjunct professor and to work as an automation chemist. This allowed him to travel the world working as a professional technical support chemist and consultant for companies like Unilever, Procter & Gamble,
Abbot Laboratories and L’Oréal International.
Luciano was still working in the pharmaceutical industry when he began formulating his own haircare line, inspired by his family’s use of natural ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera and avocado. He made his first formulations in 2001 with his family testing the products. In 2004, they opened a hair salon with the purposes of having a platform to test they formulation against the main salon brands at the time and after much trial and error, they perfected the formulas and in 2006 launched Dominican Magic conditioner cream. Luciano dove in full time in 2009, when the demand for safe hair care line and natural hair straightening services and product continued to grow. “At age 40, I decided to take a chance with this new business; knowing that I didn’t want to be 50 and regret not doing it!” He wanted to elevate products from his native Dominican Republic and to create his brand using the fruits, plants and vegetables grown in their tropic terrains, which have also been used in indigenous hair treatments for over 500 years.
Inspiration also came from native Dominican Oscar de la Renta who showed success was achievable for anyone, as well as Steve Jobs, who showed that “people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the people who do so!” He recites a story that is an anecdote for growth: “Two men are working doing construction for a church. When asked what they are doing one answers they are laying brick for a foundation. The other answers they are building a cathedral! There has to be more than just making money when you are building a business. There has to be something greater that drives you. One day, we would like to go public with Dominican Magic Hair Care and create something of lasting value. Before you build something beautiful, it sometimes needs to get ugly! When you have a vision for a business, it is like construction. You first have to go through the mess and debris, yet at the end, it’s beautiful.”
Luciano also took inspiration from another country. “I most admire innovators like the Japanese founder of Sony, Akio Morita. In the 1950s, people would say if it was made in Japan it wasn’t good quality. He wanted to change the image of Japan. After creating the Walkman, he went on to become honored as the ‘Businessman Of The Century’. I thought if we want to properly offer the Dominican Blowout, why should we be using products from a different country? Most everyone was using Italian and Brazilian haircare products. We have the best ingredients here in the Dominican Republic. So, much like Morita was able to do in Japan; we want to change the image of Dominican haircare products to show we are the best!”
Daily life for Luciano includes every aspect of running a company from talking with manufacturers, sales reps, vendor, educators, hair designers and team members. He personally works with chemists to decide what is in development and keeps up with industry trends with research and trade shows. Because he is a chemist, he is able to keep on top of industry regulations and update formulations and packaging as needed. Attending trade shows on chemistry, business and in the professional beauty industry, Luciano loves to observe customer behavior and watch what people respond to at the shows. “We are very hands on, talking to our customers and listening to their feedback. We like to see how they select products. Spanish women love to smell our products, while Caucasian women read the labels. We are studying how to appeal to a wide variety of customers as our products are meant for a diversity of hair types and people.” Stressing that the Dominican Magic products are really for any hair type and ethnicity, Luciano even met with a Japanese company, knowing that women with straight hair will also benefit from the healthy ingredients and results the line offers.
The biggest successes for Luciano are the fact that he launched his company with no financial assistance, elevated the status of the Dominican community and created national pride. “We didn’t even have a credit card with a $5,000 balance! We were self-financed and able to get off the ground, while we are now on target to sell at least $2.5 million this year. We were able to create a brand where we are recognized as a very high quality professional product. Where before everyone bought haircare products from Italy; now they are saying the best are Dominican, changing the perception about Dominican products. We are now seeing the results and how proud people are when they see our TV commercials. We have combined the American way of doing business with our African, European and indigenous roots to successfully create a global company that our employees, shareholders and community are proud of!”
Dominican Magic Hair Care | 460 South 10th Avenue, Mount Vernon, NY 10550 USA | 914-668-5895 | www.DominicanMagic.com