This September Hair Fairy turned 4 years old. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment with this milestone. Telling a buyer we’ve been in business for four years lends a little more street cred than telling them we’re a start-up. For me, it all boils down to this: We’ve survived. And we’ve thrived.
When I’m approached by people who want to start a business and they ask for advice, I always pause and take a deep breath. Where do I start? Starting a business is HARD. It’s a dream come true but the day-to-day isn’t glam and your self-confidence can take a serious hit.
Here’s what I tell them:
Get a partner
This little gem of advice was in almost every “Starting a Business article” I read. Only problem is I read them AFTER I started Hair Fairy. The jist of it is, with a shared vision, partners can divide up the work and each bring different but synergistic strengths to running a business. In place of a true business partner, I had huge support from my parents and my sisters. But if I were to do this again, I’d find someone with the passion and time to run the company with me.
Be flexible and able to pivot
Soon after we launched, we had many people tell us they loved their daughter/grand daughter’s Hair Fairy and asked if we had a women’s version they could buy. We quickly repackaged some inventory with a lavender sachet in place of Harriet and in a box that spoke to benefits for women and teens. Today about half of our sales come from our women and teens line.
Hire professionals so you can focus on what you're good at
I would rather have a root canal than spend a morning in QuickBooks. As the owner, I know I need to keep a close eye on our financials and how to reconcile every month. But when I can, I hire this and other pieces of the business out to experts so I can focus on what I like to do.
Stick to your ethics
I felt sick when our first manufacturing order arrived from China and every box was wrapped in plastic. I knew this was standard and something stores deal with every day. But knowing I was contributing to thousands of plastic bags being thrown out eventually made my heart hurt. When it came time to replenish our inventory we did a number of things including we redesigned all of our packaging which is now made from recycled paper, manufactured and printed in the US and recyclable itself. We also switched to local US based manufacturing (more on that later!) and our sewing partner delivers the goods without the plastic. I feel good making business decision that while may not be the cheapest, allow me to sleep better at night.
Find some inspiration and keep it flowing
I am addicted to the podcast “How I Built this” by Guy Raz. When I’m feeling stuck or down, it’s better than a glass of wine and therapy. Guy Raz interviews entrepreneurs and how they got started and the stories are riveting, inspiring and sometimes downright funny. People he’s interviewed include Bobbi Brown, Lisa Price, Howard Schultz and one of my very favorites was Kate Spade. Do yourself a favor and start listening.
I would love to hear inspiration you use to turn an idea into a business. Or if you have any other questions, feel free to email me and we can chat!
Pictures are from the delivery and unpacking of our first shipment AND first photoshoot!