Ever dreamt of having amazing hair everyday? Well this blonde babe and her business partners, Sophie and Jade, did just that! Sick and tired of the nasty chemicals found in most salon hair treatments, they embarked on a journey to find the perfect solution. Today, their 100% natural hair care ranges are stocked all over the global and are helping women achieve #hairgoals daily!
Guest Interview by: Sarah Lindsay!
1. Hi Jess! Thanks for chatting with us today. Hello Hair is one the most successful online beauty brands in Australia. Would you mind telling us a little about how the idea came about? Thank you to the Health Lab team for allowing us to share our story!
Hello Hair came about when my business partners and I realized that we’d been searching for a hair mask that was suitable for all hair types and wasn’t packed full of artificial, nasty ingredients. We were sick of paying extortionate amounts of money for salon basin treatments (which would only be applied for a few minutes) and not see any results.
We identified a gap in the market for a natural, vegan friendly and cruelty free alternative, and hoped that other girls out there might have been experiencing the same hair struggles we were! Fortunately, that did happen to be the case and so, Hello Hair was born.
It was a really fast process, we developed and launched our Original Hair Mask in the space of 3 months and took it to market. We grew our online business organically and it’s just gone from there! Slowly but surely we have been able to grow our product offering and now we are taming manes all around the world.
2. Creating your own business is a mammoth task. What were some of the biggest challenges of launching a start-up?
When we think back now, it kind of seems bizarre that we were able to pull everything together so quickly and so fearlessly! In some aspects, perhaps it was our naivety that gave us the confidence to pursue our business idea and just 'roll with it' so to speak.
Initially we were definitely ‘winging it’ and making lots of decisions ‘hoping for the best’ because none of us had any product development experience, we weren’t hairdressers or scientists! We were fortunate that we have been able to find amazing suppliers and manufacturers and likeminded businesses to support us and our vision, and help us grow our business.
Looking back, there’s certainly a lot of things we could have done differently and we have made some decisions which were costly, lots of things were ‘trial and error’ and of course some aspects of our business haven’t excelled as quickly as we would have liked, or profited as well as we would have liked.
However, if anything, I think we are grateful for the failed attempts and mistakes we've made. It teaches you a lot and helps you to make better decisions next time around.
We started this business with a singular product, not anticipating the fully fledged business it was going to become.
Basically – good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement. All of the business decisions we have made along the way (whether they succeeded or failed) led us to the point we’re at now, and we are now 4.5 years deep into the Hello Hair journey.
Running a small business is no easy feat, so that’s certainly something to be proud of!
One of the biggest challenges has probably been the uncertainty of it all. We are a business who has used social media as our driving force, and it’s a forever changing landscape. We just need to make sure that we keep adapting to change and continue to ‘ride the wave’, so that we can ensure to longevity of the business.
A lot has changed in the online and bricks and mortar space since we launched in December 2013, so its just about continuing to grow and thrive!
3. Considering the wide success that the brand has garnered, are there any highlights that stand out? There’s certainly been PR related highlights which have been amazing, like Aussie treasure Denise Drysdale giving our shampoo a glowing review on national TV earlier this year (which was totally unexpected).
We have had our products featured in magazines, blogs, been profiled by publications and had inspiring women speak about our products on their social media channels.
However I think what we love the most, is when customers take the time to email us and say – ‘your products have completely saved and transformed my hair’.
We've spent so much time developing our range with our Melbourne supplier, to ensure that every product is as natural and clean as possible, as well as being high performing.
We have met people and when we introduce ourselves and they find out we own Hello Hair, they’re like - ‘STOP, I love your products, I have them in my shower’.
Its really humbling and pretty cool that people out there are using our haircare range daily and they’re finding our products beneficial, we can't ask for much more than that.
4. Hello Hair is obviously the product of a very strong female community; how has working in a female driven workplace impacted on the success of the brand? To be honest, it wasn’t something that we recognised as being an integral part of the business in the beginning. I think when its your own business and you’re immersed in it, day in, day out, you lose sight of the bigger picture, or aspects of the business that outsiders would recognise as being crucial and integral.
We never put ourselves out there as the ‘faces’ of the business, we didn’t even have a bio page on our website so our customers would know we were an all female start up.
Then, people started to ask us why we weren't doing that, because if we did, it would actually attract a larger female audience.
As far as people knew, we could have been a subsidiary business of a large multinational corporation, or a company operated by guys.
Once we started to share our story, we quickly realised how many other women in business resonated with our story, our struggles and they celebrated our success with us!
We never wanted to seem like we were in any way ‘spruiking’ ourselves or coming across as these amazing entrepreneurs. We wanted our high quality products to speak for themselves. However, putting ourselves out there as girls in business has done wonders!
We really hadn’t exposed ourselves to various ‘women in business’ organisations or social media groups, and it was wonderful once we did!
Chatting to other women who are on the same page as us and who ‘get’ what we go through as a small business is reassuring and invaluable for our personal and professional growth.
In 2018, there’s really been no better time to be a girl in business. And so we love to share our story and spread the message to other young (or old) girls out there that you can do anything you want! I think we are a prime example of that!
5. What advice would you give to other young females who are thinking about branching out and start their own business?
Absolutely, go for it! Yes, its daunting and people will probably doubt you. People aren’t always nice, or supportive, they will probably try to talk you out of it and make you second guess yourself. But if you are passionate and determined, you can do anything.
If someone told any of us 6 years ago that in a few year’s time we would be running a successful haircare business, we would have literally laughed in their face. There’s not one part of me that would have believed them. But here we are! Which is the best part – if you put your mind to something and you stick to it, you can make it happen.
6. Since we are talking to one of the best heads of hair in the business, what would be your three top tips for keeping our hair soft and frizz-free?
Well, this time of year can be a major struggle for girls with curly, wild, unruly manes (myself included). There’s so many factors that can make your hair go crazy, but maintaining a good haircare regimen can make a massive difference.
Incorporating one of our hydrating hair masks into your weekly routine will help to reduce frizz, cut down blow-drying time, moisturise your scalp, prevent dryness and protect against split ends, breakage and snapping.
Our shampoos and conditioners are free from a lot of the nasties that commercial and generic brands contain. A lot of haircare products contain harsh emulsifiers which coat your hair in chemical residue, giving the illusion that it is soft and healthy, when in actual fact, its just under a layer of synthetic gunk.
Switching to a natural haircare routine will ensure that your strands are squeaky clean, soft, and free from parabens, sulphates, proteins, formaldehydes and artificial fragrances.
We of course also recommend drinking lots of water and getting regular trims at the hairdresser, even if it’s just a tiny little ‘dusting’ of your ends! A mini haircut every 8-12 weeks can make a huge difference to the overall health and appearance of your tresses.
7. As the Marketing Manager with such a heavy focus on social media, do you have any techniques for switching off at the end of a long day? This is something that I am definitely still working on! I think that any business owner will agree – it seems impossible to switch off a lot of the time. Especially in the online and social media space, because the internet never closes! We are a global business and so our customers are active on social media at all given times of the day and night.
In the first couple of years our business was operating, I used to be a lot worse with my phone usage late at night and I was compulsively checking it at all hours, setting alarms for 3AM to make Instagram posts, it was madness.
These days I really try to stay away from my phone for 30 minutes at least before I go to bed so that my mind can relax and I can fall asleep easier.
I will admit this isn’t something I have mastered, I am making it my mission for 2018 to relax more and not be wound up like a clock 24/7 worrying about Instagram and our other various social media platforms – easier said than done though!
Follow Hello Hair's journey at: @ohhellohair