The Mane Master: Sacha Mitic

His inadvertent rise to the top of the beauty world
The Mane Master: Sacha Mitic
Sacha Mitic, co-founder of cult-favorite brand Sachajuan, is an “accidental hairstylist.” His inadvertent rise to the top of the beauty world started with an attempt to woo a woman wielding scissors. “When I was 14, I had my hair cut in a big salon in Gothenburg, Sweden by this really cute girl,” Mitic explained. “I wanted to have a chat with her, so I asked, ‘What’s it like to be a hairdresser?’ I didn’t know what to say!” While he didn’t exactly score a date with his hairstylist, he was invited to work at the salon on the weekends. He started by sweeping the floors, but quickly became fully invested in the craft. At 19, Mitic skipped studying at a traditional university and relocated to Stockholm where he explored the glamorous world of editorial hairdressing. A move to New York City in the early ’90s soon followed. “I wanted a bigger challenge,” he said. “When you’re young, you think you are super fabulous even if you’re not!” While it was an important learning experience that resulted in coveted placements in glossy magazines like Elle and international editions of Vogue, his heart (this time the girl he was crushing on would eventually become his wife) ultimately called him home to Sweden.

It was there that he teamed up with fellow hairstylist, Juan Rosenlind, and opened a salon in Stockholm dubbed Sachajuan (a clever combo of their first names). “We wanted to create something that had a different perspective on luxury and how high-end service was executed,” said Mitic. “Around ’96 or ’97, at least in Sweden, every salon looked very traditional, so we decided to do something very minimalist. At that time everything was very black, so we made the salon completely white. It was very classic and still looks very classic, but at that time, it also looked very different.” Having always marched—and styled hair—to the beat of their own drums, the duo began formulating in the lab in 2000. Creating products and designing the ultimate “toolbox” for pros and their customers felt like a “natural extension” of what they were doing in their namesake salon. “All of the product lines back then were very complicated and we wanted to do the total opposite. We took it back to basics and the minimal approach was reflective of our aesthetic,” said Mitic. “For us, it’s all about balance and making products work for you, not against you. Hair should look healthy and have movement—the product shouldn’t take over.”

Launching with five straightforward products in two Swedish department stores, Sachajuan started at the bottom (quite literally) before sales skyrocketed. “NK Stockholm put us down on the lowest shelf simply because our products looked interesting and had a different aesthetic than other brands,” said Mitic. “In five months, we had the best-selling shampoo in the department store.” Since then, the range has evolved organically and expanded globally, but the co-founders’ mission remains the same. “We never created products because someone said, I want this on the market,” said Mitic.  We have eyes looking into what’s happening, of course, but we don’t ask 100 people what they think. It’s more about what Juan and I believe is good.”

Following your instincts instead of following others is the key to Sachajuan’s success and Mitic’s best piece of advice to anyone hoping to follow in his footsteps: “Whether you’re a hairdresser or not, it’s not about copying but being able to trust your ideas—even if they aren’t fashionable at the time. In the end, it’s all about taste and your unique approach.”

Sachajuan Salon - Stockholm Sweden

Here, the Swedish pro put down his salt spray and scissors to reveal his fluff-free beauty philosophy and explain why failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

His best life lesson: “People don't speak about failure, but if you don't fail, you can't succeed, learn, or really make things progress. Sometimes, you have to make some choices that are totally wrong at the time to get feedback on why something didn’t work.” Mitic cites skipping over London and Paris for New York as both a “good opportunity” and “a very big setback in many ways.” He said: “Working in NYC was a really big challenge and I did some things that were very successful and some things that were totally crap. I made a lot of mistakes. After making some of those mistakes, I thought I would never touch hair again. I felt bad because [the look] didn’t come out the way I wanted it to and there was a lot of competition at that time, but I got myself through those rough spots and did some great work. In the end, I had a career with an agent in New York, Miami, Boston, and LA before moving back to Stockholm.”

His daily hair ritual: “I don't do much! I shave. I wash my hair with our Normal Hair Shampoo, which is perfect for my hair. Sometimes I do the Curl Shampoo. Then, I just use conditioner, Finish Cream, and some Hair Wax.”

His one-and-done: “I use our body lotion on my face. My wife and my son spend hilarious amounts of money on skincare. I don’t do anything to my skin aside from growing old!”

His biggest beauty indulgence: “I got a facial in Toronto where they massaged the inside of my mouth, but usually when I'm traveling, I’ll just pop into a spa for a relaxing Swedish massage.”

His latest discovery: “I was in Barneys in Beverly Hills the other day and they sell luxury vape pens that are really chic and super high-end. The packaging and presentation are very nice. I tried it last night before I went to sleep. It was very relaxing.”

His go-to pro: Himself. “My staff never want to cut my hair. They always say, ‘No, I don't want to cut it, please get someone else.’ So, I cut it myself. I don't have that much hair left, so it's OK!”

His biggest beauty mistake: “I was actually cutting my hair in the salon and it was really long, thick, and curly at that time. I was so sick of it that I just took the clipper and shaved it all off. I looked awful. I had a big nose and the back of my head is quite flat. I came home and my wife said, ‘Oh my god, what did you do? Are you crazy!?’”

His ultimate escape: “I love going to the golf course because it’s natural, but also manicured and thoughtful. The people I meet when I play don’t do anything like me. We never speak about work. My favorite course is in Pebble Beach.”

His beauty icon: “I think Elle Macpherson always has a great look. She’s always very chic but relaxed. So many women want to look like that. I have several icons because I don’t just like one style. I like when people are well put together and have a great personality. It’s about finding yourself.”

Written by Amber Kallor

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