By Taroue Brooks
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I fell into entrepeneurship by accident. There is truth behind the statement “necessity is the mother of all inventions!” As a woman who is no stranger to hair extensions, I realized that I was wasting money on hair. It was almost two years ago when I found myself sitting in the center of the floor attempting to sort through a bunch of tangled, matte and dry out hair extensions the night before my hair appointment. I had tons of quality extension however since I hadn’t properly stored them after each install, they didn’t look good and weren’t lasting as long as promised. So inevitably, I got frustrated, threw them out, bought new hair and promised to do better next time. I know I’m not alone. There are hundreds of women tossing their hair extensions in drawers, boxes or even grocery bags just to later find them a balled, tangled mess. It was that day I vowed to stop throwing money in the trash and buy the first hair extension storage unit I could lay my hands on. However, all I could find was a hair hanger which didn’t meet my needs. It was that moment, I sat down at my sewing machine and created the Hair Shield- not just for me but for all of my fellow frugal friends.
Tell us about your business.
The Hair Shield is a satin-lined protective unit that stores, transports and restores the beauty to your hair extensions. Its silky satin lining provides the optimal surface for storing extensions and ultimate quality preservation by reducing frizz and dryness. Some of its best features include:
- It holds hair up to 30 inches in length
- Holds every type of hair texture (bundles, weft and clip-ins)
- Easy to transport and to store
- Repeals water to prevent damage
- Keeps hair tangle-free and healthy
- Material locks in moisture to restore beauty
What has been the biggest challenge thus far in your experience as an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship has not been a smooth road. It is quite daunting and running an online business requires a lot of time. In addition, I work a full time job so it’s a constant balancing act trying to maintain both ventures along with a family. My initial hurdle was finding a manufacturer that could duplicate the product I made at home. Since the purpose of my product is to protect hair extensions, I needed a manufacturer that could produce my product with the same quality silk material used in my prototype. I also am a girl who loves glitz and glam, so the details on the unit are very elaborate. Trying to find a manufacturer, who could meet the design needs at a reasonable cost took over six months. I paid for several samples and stayed up many nights talking to my overseas manufacturer, but it was definitely worth the wait! My second hurdle came after my product was produced. No one knew about it!! Trying to get product exposure has been a slow steady process.
What advice would you give someone who desires to become an entrepreneur?
My advice to other entrepreneurs who are starting this journey is to take your time, be patient and learn your audience. I’ve learned that my product isn’t for every woman. Initially I thought “what beauty-enhanced-woman wouldn’t want this?” I was wrong. My product is designed for a certain type of women who invests in her beauty. Once I learned this and focused on my true customers, I saw my sales increase.
Where will people be able to purchase your product?
Currently my products are sold online at www.thehairshield.com and in select Dallas area boutique stores.
What will success look like for you?
For me success is being able to positively effect another persons life. Today the hair extension industry is a multi billion dollar industry I hope to one day see all ladies saving money on their hair extensions by using the Hair Shield. Becoming a nationally recognized brand in this industry is also of level of success I aim to achieve.
Where would you like to see your company in the next five years?
Within the next five years, Id like to see the Hair Shield expand to other products that cater to different hair systems. We are in the process of setting goals for that now. Id also like to see my profit margins increase to the point that I can donate a percent to teen moms and victims of domestic violence; two cause that are near and dear to me.
Questions or comments?