A lot of us dream of finding the perfect job, one that we really love and can actually grow with. Mary Centofanti was lucky enough to find this at an early age with Dresslier, which you might know better as Davroe – South Australia’s very own natural and vegan haircare brand. Currently the company’s managing director, Mary has worked hard to transform the brand into what we know now and they’ve gone from strength to strength. And this passion shines through as she celebrates 34 years with the company this year.
Starting as a teenage receptionist at Dresslier, she’s grown into many different roles at the business before taking over in 2007 with her husband John. From there it was onwards and upwards for the company, choosing to focus on producing their own product Davroe. On the occasion of 34 years, we ask whether she ever though that she’d still be here and not to mention in charge as well. “No way! But while I worked for the company I always treated it like I owned it,” she explains. “I always worked hard and I always asked questions, I genuinely wanted to know what we were doing and how we were going to achieve it”.
This hard work and hands on approach is evident in the quality of Davroe products, which are completely vegan, petro-chemical free, paraben free and sulphate free. It was a decision that Mary made ten years ago and it’s one of their biggest calling cards, especially in an age where people have become hyper conscious about what they put on and in their bodies.
But it wasn’t always easy considering the haircare market was remarkably different a decade ago. “When we made the decision to change our formulations in 2008, it was very different to what anyone was doing and to be completely honest salons weren’t sure about it so it was a hard slog,” she explains. “[But] being the first manufacturer of salon professional hair care products to be sulphate, paraben, petro-free and vegan gave us the ability and heads up to get our formulations ‘right’,” she continues.
Davroe have also made a mark on the international market recently, with the South Australian made products launching State side but also their massive partnership with emerging designer platforms Face Fashion as well as Fashion Palette both in Sydney and in New York City. “We love [the fashion partnership] side of the industry; it gives the Davroe brand and our creative team the opportunity to showcase how effective our products can be on the runway or editorial,” Mary says.
We ask Mary whether she has any advice for young women looking to building their own brands and careers. She says that the key is passion. “When I started at the age of 15 with Dresslier, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, at that stage I just wanted to get into the workplace,” she says. “What I have always had is passion, so you have to be passionate about what you are doing or what you want to do…I just fell in love with what I was doing, the industry, the people and I think the fact I was able to contribute to so many things in my journey with the company set me on my path.”
“When I took over the company with my husband, I had a dream about what I wanted to do and achieve, so I had to chase that dream,” she continues. “Fight for it if you have to. Believe in yourself. Work damn hard and sacrifice if you have to. Love what you do it will make it that little bit easier”.
As for her favourite moment from the last 34 years with Dresslier? “Gosh there have been so many, minor and major moments, moments that are more on a personal level, but if I were to choose just one it would be seeing our products on the production line in our lab and then seeing our Davroe products in a store in Soho in New York City,” she says excitedly.
So what’s next for the woman and the company that seem to have it all? “So many exciting things coming up but I can’t tell you everything,” she says. “…we have just launched our Davroe Revive Dry Shampoo which has received some pretty good reviews and we are in the process of launching Davroe Complete Aerosol Hairspray, which we are very excited about”. They’re also heading back to the Big Apple for New York Fashion Week with the creative team headed by another Adelaide talent, Ben Gully from MABE Hair. But most importantly, it’s just delivering and doing their best.
“We will continue to grow and evolve as a brand and a company to bring our customers and consumers the best products we can”.
Shop the full collection at davroe.com.
P.S. We’re also giving away FIVE Davroe hair packs here.