Hair products maker Kenra leaving after 88 years in Indy

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Kenra Professional LLC, a hair products company founded in Indianapolis in 1929, will be leaving the city for the Los Angeles area in mid-2017, the company disclosed this week.

Kenra produces and markets professional-grade shampoos and other hair-care products. Its headquarters is at 22 E. Washington St. in downtown Indianapolis, where it has a 40-person sales and marketing office.

Connecticut-based Henkel Corp. acquired Kenra, along with three other professional beauty brands, in 2014.

Now, Henkel plans to consolidate all four brands into a new North American beauty care hair professional headquarters tthat will be in the Los Angeles area.

Henkel spokeswoman Natalie Violi said the Indianapolis employees learned the news Thursday, and all will be offered the chance to keep their jobs if they’re willing to move.

“Everybody has been invited to relocate to the Los Angeles area. We’re hoping everybody says yes,” Violi said.

Joining Kenra in the new headquarters will be Schwarzkopf Professional, which has an office in Culver City, California; Alterna Holdings Corp., which has an office in New York City; and Sexy Hair Concepts LLC, which has an office in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles.

Kenra products aren't sold at mass market retailers but are popular with stylists. Celebrity hairstylist Michael Silva used Kenra Professional products to create Kim Kardashian's wet-look style at this year's MTV Video Music Awards ceremony, and stylist Christine Symonds used them on actress Kaley Cuoco at the People's Choice Awards. 

Kenra, originally known as Kenra Inc., was founded in 1929 to sell one product, a wax depilatory. The late Henry Meyers (1909-2001) bought the company in 1959, and Kenra started making hair-care products in 1960.

Members of the Meyers family retained ownership of Kenra until 2007, when Canada-based Imperial Capital Group purchased the company.

TSG Consumer Partners LLC, a consumer-products investment firm which has offices in both San Francisco and New York, acquired Kenra in 2010.

TSG sold Kenra—along with Sexy Hair and Alterna—to Henkel in 2014 for $370 million. At the time, the companies had combined annual revenue of about $190 million, mostly through hair salons.

Henkel operates three divisions: laundry and home care, beauty care, and adhesives. Its parent company is Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, which is based in Germany. Henkel has about 50,000 employees worldwide, including about 8,000 around North America.

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