Easy Step By Step Guide to Starting a Hair Business
I'm going to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know about selling hair.
You clicked this article because your interested in starting your own hair business and you already have an ideal of the type of hair you want to sell.
Now there is no one recipe for what works best when starting a hair business so I want to give you my experience with some tips.
All I want to do is inspire you because being able to pay the bills just from selling hair is an amazing feeling.
I am going to be as detailed as possible of everything you need to know so that you don't make the same mistakes I did when I first started.
Before we get started add yourself to this Facebook Group and stay updated with what women are doing to make their hair business a success!!
In this article we are going to go over these chapters:
How I Got Started
Wear Your Hair Before You Sell It
How to Find a Vendor
Gauge How Much Hair You Should Buy
Branding Your Hair
Should I Try and Get a Business Loan
Should You Get a Business License
How Should I Market My Hair Business
How To Get People To Trust Your Hair
Presentation Is Everything
Don't Ignore Bad Reviews or Comments
How Much You Can Expect To Make Early On
How Did I Get Started
When I first started I didn't know what I was doing.
I did like everyone else did and googled how tos and watched videos
I said ok "I'm Ready"
I lost about $700
Quality of the hair was bad and I had to replace peoples bundles
My own aunt had called me personally and said "Look, the hair is SHIT"
So this brings me to my first mistake
Wear Your Hair Before You Sell It
If I had sold that hair to 20 people I would have gotten 20 people plus their family members blowing me up on Facebook and sending me angry texts.
Luckily it was just my aunt
and a few coworkers
If you don't do anything else try your own hair before you sell it.
Run it through a rigorous trial period.
Brush it when wet to see how much it sheds
Wash it at least 4-5 times
I myself went through 3 vendors before I found one that met my expectations back then
This cost me about $500 in total.
I cant stress enough the importance of having quality hair.
No one who owns a successful hair business is going to tell you their vendor so you have to find one yourself
How to Find a Vendor
This is tricky
The hair that I sell now is 100% Virgin Indian Remy.
And I kind of got lucky to be honest.
When I opened my store In early 2017 I started going to hair conventions and meeting a lot of really smart people from salons
A lady who I talked to almost everyday that the convention was in town had took a liking to my passion for hair and gave me her vendor
The vendor required a business license (which I already had) and $10,000 before he would even work with me
I had to sell every last bundle of my other hair and wipe all the work I did on card's, logo's, social media, websites, everything and start over.
And because my old hair wasn't that great quality I promised my clients who I sold it to that I would give them crazy discounts on the new hair.
Kind of how you would upgrade your IPhone
I know most ladies don't have $10,000 in cash but remember I started from 3 bundles and it took me over a year to build that into over $10,000 in product.
So just be patient.
But anyway that's my story of how I found my vendor.
Here is an updated list of vendors
Popular ways to find a vendor are:
Alibaba: Works for some people (I don't recommend)
Aliexpress: Works for some people ( I don't recommend)
#wholesalehair on Instagram: I recommend because at least you can look for more trust signals such as followers and pictures.
As for the sites that offer to make a website for you, set up your online shop, and drop ship you hair:
Lets talk about this one
This is the most popular option people choose for many reasons:
Low upfront costs if any
Easy website set up
Being able to stand behind a company backed by celebrities
Being able to say you have your own business
Were going to get into advertising later on in this article but I will say this
Your CUSTOMERS will decide whether or not your business will be a success or fail.
If the quality of hair from some of these companies is shit which most of the time they are then you're going to lose the trust of your customers.
There is one company that does this that is based in Atlanta that are Legit and very respected. But I Cant mention the company for legal reasons. You will know it when you find it.
I've never tried these kinds of companies so I may be completely bias and lacking insight but I have read A LOT of reviews over time and it seems like a path that doesn't lead anywhere.
But if you feel these options will work best for you
If you fail, try something else
I can only give advice but I'm not always right
Even I am still learning
But anyway failing is good (as weird as that sounds)
So you have found the perfect vendor with quality hair what now?
Gauge How Much Hair You Should Buy
Depending on how much cash you have on hand its time to buy some more bundles
Instead of ordering in bulk just place orders as you sell.
But we need to gauge how much and of what type is popular
These types and lengths have been known to be the most popular":
Straight Wave: 16” -20” after that its 12” 14” 16”
Body Wave: 16” - 22”
Deep Curly: (unknown atm)
Loose Wave and Straight (depending on the type of hair you are selling) its 16”-20” after that its 12” 14” 16”
An easy way to do this is to text/ call people that might buy hair from you and ask the lengths they would be looking for.
Remember the majority of the time these people aren't going to buy your hair simply because they need the hair now and you still have to get it shipped.
But that doesn't matter
Get info on the lengths and type from about 20 people and find the most popular.
Buy those to start.
Once you receive the shipment they should sell quite fast
Buy more of the same exact type of hair that you sell and use only the PROFIT to buy other types of hair and lengths.
Don't take the profit you make and spend it on shoes or purses.
I know its tempting trust me (one of my many mistakes)
Reinvest it all back into your business
Every last penny
Rinse and Repeat
The profit margin with hair is so high that you will literally almost always double your money every sell.
It actually took me about a month before I had enough profit to even buy CLOSURES.
So people are loving your hair now its time brand it
Branding Your Hair
We need to come up with a name
It took me about a week to think of one but it's worth taking the time to find something that sticks in peoples head.
If its not something that can be abbreviated into 3 letters it should be something that is 10 letters or less
Don't do like some people and have something like "super awesome raw virgin hair place"
Don't do it
For example IHI stands for Indian Hair Independent
IHI Bundles is easier to remember
And it looks good on cards, posters, etc
Now that you have a name the cheapest route is using Vistaprint to make your cards
If you want someone to do your logo then I highly recommend fiverr.com
Even with the greatest quality hair some woman don't know how to take care of it
So I made a poster describing how to take care of their hair and I give it to every customer I sale to
I never did anything as far as getting my logo printed on my bags but i used stickers that way I could save money
Satin bags I use only when I'm selling to someone who has a lot of influence whether that be Facebook or Instagram
Otherwise I buy party bags and I also put stickers on those.
I put the type of hair, the inch, logo on them and I could just stare at the tag all day
Amazing how something so small will give your hair a very professional clean look.
You can order hang tags and bundle wraps from a wholesaler in china as this is definitely the cheapest way to go.
So now that everything is ready we need to get your hair business officiated
Should I Try and Get A Business Loan?
I see this question come up a lot.
But let me answer a question with a question:
The answer is NO.
Selling hair isn't something you need a business loan for and if you are willing to go into debt, ask yourself if this business is really right for you.
It takes patience
You have to learn the game
And the best way to that is to start small and watch it grow
I started this company with only 3 bundles literally.
And I learned so much so much along that I just make money now
I don't have to pay interest to a bank.
Don't make the mistake of doing this, unless you absolutely know what you are doing.
Should You Get A Business License
Yes and No.
When it comes to protecting your personal assets, having a license is a must.
But if you don’t have enough to buy but a couple bundles at first then your definitely not going to have $600+ to get a business license
Just make sure you report your expenses and earnings to the IRS
But getting a business license is EXTREMELY easy and takes about 20 min.
You can even do it online.
It is a single form that looks like this
How Should I Market My Hair Business
I have an entire article on how to increase your hair sales with different marketing strategies.
I love finding new ways to sell my hair
Constantly thinking outside of the box
I’m a big fan of passive income
What I mean by that is if I can get 1,000 people to see my hair without me passing out 1 card, i'm doing something right.
The best way to do this is through a website.
I highly recommend using Squarespace to make your website.
Its extremely easy and if you want to pay someone else to make it its really cheap
This website is made through Squarespace.
Remember in the other section I wanted you to come up with a short or abbreviated name that was easy to remember?
This is why
We have to find the right domain name.
And it also has to be easy for people to remember
I couldn't have something like Indianhairindependant.com
So I had to shorten it to Ihibundles.com
So your website is done and is now public
but your not getting any traffic which means your not getting any sales.
This website is constantly updated with guides and new ways to improve your hair sales
Also the Hair Money Making Facebook Group is full of a bunch of really smart people that are willing to help.
There is a whole lot of information out there on how to rank in google and get more traffic but I'm not going to overload you with SEO knowledge right now.
I will say that the easiest way to gain more traffic is to write quality content on what you know and/or passionate about.
You will eventually build a community and you will always have traffic.
Traffic doesn't always equal sales.
A rule of thumb, out of 1,000 visitors a month, 1 person will buy hair, and you will have about 10 abandoned carts.
Always have a gallery on your website showcasing real people wearing your hair.
Don't use stock images in your gallery section
I've seen this on many new sites.
Even if you pay models to wear your hair.
If it looks like a stock photo, don't put it in the gallery section
If you need pictures the cheapest way to do this, is buy the most expensive camera you can afford, take the pictures and return it within 5-7 days.
When it comes to social media marketing Instagram takes the cake
Ive sold more hair and connected to more salons through instagram than facebook
In my opinion when it comes to hair, facebook is a tool used more so to get people to follow you on instagram.
Passing out cards is another way to market so I don't need to really go in depth with that.
As soon as your business starts growing, marketing will cost nothing
Marketing is more effective when you are first starting out
Facebook ad copying is however an awesome marketing tool
Its more advanced but once you get the hang of it......
over $2000 in sales from this one $50 Facebook ad.
Check out how I did this in this article: How to Get 200% More Hair Sales in 14 days (New Strategy + Case Study)
How To Get People to Trust Your Hair
Whenever I go to a new site to look at their hair, aside from seeing the stock photo or pricing, I look at the reviews.
There are so many scams out there now that reviews are starting to become required.
Yes reviews can be faked but there are ways for us to increase our trust with new clients
One way would be adding your reviews and complaints section directly on your product page.
People are going to want to know if they can trust your hair and that's one of the simplest ways to gain that trust.
So keep in contact with the people you sell hair to ask and them to leave a customer review whether its on social media or through text or email.
The more critical comments you get the better your business will be when you improve it.
Presentation is Everything
If the hair on your head looks like a rat trap then its probably not a good ideal to sell to people.
Getting your hair done before you pitch your hair to clients or salons will pay for itself trust me.
You might also want to look at upgrading your car.
As for my situation I sell most of my hair out of state so I always buy a really nice rental car.
Say I'm going headed to California to sell hair
I would rent a cheap car
Drive down to cali
Upgrade my car to a 2018 Mercedes at the next rental place the next day.
And start selling hair and making connections.
Might be a little excessive but I like to guarantee the sale and if driving a nice car has any influence on salons and clients then so be it.
I only rent the car for a day maybe 2 and I always end up having $10,000+ in sales.
As for the appearance of your hair.
I would recommend whatever you are showcasing, leave in a deep conditioner overnight.
This will allow your hair to be extra soft and shiny.
It Needs to stand out from the rest.
Don’t Ignore Bad Reviews On Your Hair
Never ever ever ignore bad reviews.
About every 5-6 months I take the time to call every salon and client that I have sold hair to, to see how they are doing.
I never hear complaints from salons but I will get that 1 client ever so often that is like " Its Tangled!! and I look like a mess right now "
I talk with them and recommend products that they should be using and if they are are in town and I know them personally I will drive to their house with some shampoo and conditioner and fix the problem on the spot.
Some clients don’t really understand how to take care of their hair but I don’t throw that in their face.
I help them then follow up a couple days later and they are happy as ever.
I had 1 lady blow my phone up one time saying the "Hair Sheds, Its Crap, I want my money back!!
I said OK, let me see what the the problem is and if I cant fix it I will refund or replace your bundles.
I get to her house, come to find out it wasn't even my hair in her head.
Who ever was doing her hair at the Salon had switched out the bundles!!!!
The moral of the story is, is that if you know you have a quality product you should have no problem hearing everyone's complaints because most of the time it will be something very very simple and easily fixed.
I do more traveling than shipping so I might not be the best person for this topic
But I will say this
Most companies take 4-6 business days to get the hair to the customer
If I don"t have the hair on hand it can take me 2 weeks for my clients to receive the hair.
Once I get the hair I soak it and condition it for 3 days.
You would think well....Your going to lose the sale every time.
Yes and No.
If the client hasn't ordered my hair before I will almost always lose that sale when I let them know how long it will take because majority of the time they need the hair either now or within a week.
But here's the thing.
Now I know what Type and Inches that they are looking for.
And I know that the hair they buy from someone else is only going to last about 3-4 weeks.
So I order the hair they wanted initially and email or text them a picture of it when it arrives
80% of the time they buy the hair within a month or 2.
Squarespace has an add-on that will create a shipping order for you as soon as someone buys hair on your site.
How Much You Can Expect To Make Early On
Unless you already have clients lined up even before you start selling hair you will probably only see 1-3 sales in the first month.
On average people will make $40-$70 per bundle
A lot of the pricing will depend on how much you’re vendor charges you and who you are targeting.
Starting A Hair Business Common Questions and Answers
A hairstylist wants to off my hair to her clients. How much should I give her for the referral?
15% commission to stylist is pretty standard
But it also comes down how much you want to make and what your profit margins are
If her customer base is large, then don’t worry too much on making a profit. Use the opportunity to get your business name and trust out there.
You can raise your prices to compensate the hair stylist and brand ambassadors.
I was wondering what was the first thing you did while starting your business such as getting your logo, permits to sell, EIN, etc
Make an IG page and post pictures of what you are selling
Post pictures of your logo
Sample vendors for the type of hair you want to sell
Join as many hair groups as you can
Choose a business name
Begin the legalization Process
Learn as much as you can on youtube. A popular one is Eboni Chanel
What would the transition be like if I quit my 9-5 job and just sell hair? My dream is to become an entrepreneur.
It will be ROUGH for about the first six months
For the most part, you will work harder and put in more hours than you ever did at your job.
But it can be done
It is best to use the money you make from your job to fund your business up until the profit from your company can fund itself.
Mentally prepare to quit your job and write down your fears and goals.
You can hire a business accelerator to help you with your pricing, target profits, promotions, and budgeting. Business accelerators can cost anywhere from $50-$90
How should I go about announcing my hair business? Should I start off with a sale, do a giveaway, get emails. What pictures should I post on social media?
Post pictures of your hair so that potential buyers can see it
Wear the hair to special events and answers woman's questions about your hair
Pass out business cards and flyers
You can start promoting your launch on social with the time and date you will be officially open for business.
Start reading and watching everything about marketing and sell hair.
Join hair groups and learn from them
Know your audience, and who you want to sell to so you can save money on the type of hair you will buy in the future.
It’s a big step so take your time
Start creating a business plan
How do you educate my customers on processed and unprocessed hair?
Honestly, most customers don’t care or even know the difference
Unless your selling to “raw” hair customers most only want to know if it is virgin or not, in which case you say “yes.”
You will want to take the time to teach your customers how to take care of the hair you sell them. This will alleviate a lot of headaches and complaints.
If you are also wearing the hair, you sell, then that goes a long way.
What should I post on Instagram if I just started my hair business?
Post pictures and video of you:
Washing the hair
Packaging the hair
You wearing the hair
Running your hands through the hair
The hair industry is very niche specific.
There are women that want expensive hair and some that will settle for Chinese bundle deals
Know which type of hair you want to sell and make your business plan accordingly.
If your going to sell synthetic hair be aware that the hair is very temporary.
No matter how exotic the name unless your paying $3000 from a Brazilian donor its not Brazilian.
Be honest with yourself and what your selling.
If you know its going to cause a lot of complaints and headache don't be surprised when it happens.
Trying and failing and trying some more is the BEST STRATEGY I have found.
I try everything almost expecting to fail.
The things that I fail I improve on until it works.
And when something works it works.
If there Is anything that I didn't cover or that you want to know more of please please let me know.
If there's anything that you have found that worked best for you I will add it to the article if you like.