It was recently announced that Jim Wahl, executive vice president of Wahl Clipper Corporation, retired early last month after leading the family business for 46 years. The decision to retire comes shortly before the company's 100-year anniversary—and after considerable deliberation, according to son, Lance Wahl, the company's global vice president of professional products. Family, employees and stockholders were present for an official and heartfelt sendoff in early July at Wahl's Sterling, Illinois factory.
“After 46 years, it is time to step back. I look forward to spending more time with my wife and visiting friends and family,” says Wahl.
Aside from a stint in the Army, Jim devoted his entire professional career to the company, beginning in 1972 as marketing service manager for the consumer division, eventually finishing his career as the company’s executive vice president. He is particularly proud of the company's upcoming 100-year anniversary.
Among his many achievements, one of his most impactful decisions that contributed to the company’s success was to shift the focus of who Wahl marketed its products to and how. Specifically, he shifted the company to market directly to beauty and barber suppliers with a trained staff of sales representatives who knew the salon and barbering business. “He pushed true sales and marketing versus just being a manufacturer,” says Lance. “He also pushed to reach out to female stylists and barbers.”
Jim's vision for the company has also contributed to Wahl’s continued success, which places value on making quality products and caring for employees and customers. He has always sought to treat all employees and customers fairly and avoid favoritism.
“We truly care about our products because we make them from scratch here in the U.S. and we back that up with great customer service. Jim pushed us to truly care about what the industry thinks of our tools,” says Lance.
Customer feedback has led to the creation of the 8900, the Peanut, and the 5 Star line—products that allow Wahl to appeal to stylists as well as barbers, thereby increasing the products’ potential customer base.
“None of that success would have been possible without the talented group of employees who have helped the company grow and become the leader it is,” says Jim.
“Our future is bright as long as we think about our employees, the stylists and barbers and their needs. We have my dad’s legacy of investigating their needs, our ability to dig deeper with our research and our desire to launch new innovations. We also have a ton of people rooting for Wahl and we need to make sure we keep that perspective,” says Lance.
Wahl Clipper Corporation was founded in 1919 with the invention of the first practical electric hair clipper. Today, Wahl has more than 2,500 employees around the world, distributes to 176 countries and has eight global manufacturing facilities as well as 25 sales offices. For more information, visit wahlpro.com.