Rather unusually for the beauty industry, Claire Shread trained as a painter. Portraits are a fascination for her, whether real, drawn, photographed or painted and watching people and how they portray themselves has been a lifelong fascination. Claire still paints, so perhaps an interest in beauty is not so surprising.
At 22 Claire Shread launched Inardec, an interior design company from an artist’s studio in an industrial warehouse in Birmingham. The 1990’s nightclub scene provided lots of work for Inardecs teams of artists who travelled internationally painting huge, large-scale murals. A time, which Claire describes as crazy, hectic, exhausting, exhilarating and messy!
Commissioned by Umberto Giannini in the mid 1990’s to design his latest salon, the two became partners, sharing a love of the arts and a passion for great design and creativity. They went on to have two children, both now following creative careers; one is training to be an architect and the other an actor and musician.
In 1998 the Umberto Giannini product range was launched including what were then revolutionary products for curly hair including the revolutionary Curl Jelly designed by Umberto for Claire, who’s naturally curly and needed to spend as little time as possible doing her hair. This product is still the company’s biggest seller and the UK’s number one bestselling curl product.
Soon after Umberto’s tragic and untimely death in 2001, Claire took over the running of the business, bringing to it her artistic flair and non-hairdresser wish list of what women really want for their hair.
16 years later and the vision remains the same. Claire has always had a singleminded view of the power of putting creativity and people first. Whilst some promise celebrity good looks and an identikit way for women to wear their hair, Claire’s vision is simply to make every woman feel good about their hair, to give the salon tips, tricks and formulations straight to the women that need them, and to always invent new ways to improve the daily hair ritual.
There is a humour and warmth about Umberto Giannini, Claire is at the heart of staying true to that voice and injecting her energy along with that of her staff and partners, who have been with her from the beginning.