Vivo Co-Founder Lynden Mason Exits to Launch Consulting Firm

Wednesday 29 May 2024, 9:33AM

By Impact PR


Kiwi entrepreneur Lynden Mason, co-founder of New Zealand’s largest hairdressing group Vivo, has sold his share of the nationwide business to pursue other interests. 

Starting with just one salon in 2011, Lynden and a business partner grew Vivo to 80+ privately owned salons nationwide, employing around 600 staff and generating $60 million in annual revenue. At its peak, the group added 27 salons in one year and is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Lynden says, “Our objective was always to grow Vivo to be a nationwide brand and potentially expand internationally.”  In 2019 Vivo attracted investment interest and a 2020 deal saw half of the group sold to a local private equity fund.

The growth and establishment of Vivo has been an exciting and challenging chapter of life, says Mason. “I’ve always been passionate about business and to see this brand flourish from a startup is something I’m incredibly proud of.” 

The concept of what business means has evolved for Lynden over the years.

“When I started out in business, it meant focusing on the numbers and data and using that to direct employees and their efforts. But over time I’ve pivoted my leadership and strategic approach.” Mason says the insight of his wife Teréze Taber, who worked alongside him on a multitude of projects as a co-owner at Vivo, has been hugely influential in the last few years. “Now, it’s understanding that the data simply reflects people, their experience with a business and their behaviours. Growth comes naturally when employees feel part of something bigger than themselves and are able to contribute in meaningful ways.  The work I am most proud of at Vivo was working with individuals and teams across NZ, developing strategy and implementing tactics that address challenges and cultivate opportunity, in turn resulting in true success”.

His decision to exit Vivo arose from a desire to ‘do more’. “Vivo is established, and I want to use my skill set to make an impact in other areas now. There’s a lot still left in the tank!”

Mason, who is also an optometrist, once launched the country’s first online retailer of contact lenses and built a group of optometry clinics, which he then sold to OPSM. He is now turning his hand to a philanthropic venture while the next chapter unfolds. “I grew up in South Auckland in a Decile 1 area,” he says. “I want to spend some time giving back to that community.” He is now working with a charitable healthcare initiative to identify and treat vision issues among vulnerable tamariki.

“Vision conditions in young people are often undiagnosed, and when a student can't see well, they can become frustrated and mislabelled as disruptive - unnecessarily putting them on a path towards poor educational and life outcomes. These initiatives have the potential to make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of children. I am looking forward to supporting them and using my skills as both an optometrist and business strategist to create an infrastructure to get this amazing initiative established,” he says.

As for the future, Lynden and his wife Tereze are focused on doing what they love. “Business in 2024 looks different to how it did even 5 years ago. We believe empowerment and culture have to be at the heart of success. Consumers have a multitude of opportunities available now, and business is not about dictating to them; it’s about responding, listening and developing powerful avenues to engage. Business owners engage with their employees in entirely new ways nowadays. There are more expectations from staff than just a paycheque.  I want to share my learnings with other owners of businesses around NZ under a mentoring or consulting framework so that we can shape NZ in a way that puts people at the core.”