Starter Story

How I Started A $650K/Month Hair Extensions And Products Business

$650,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
20
Employees
product
Private Label Ext...
from Atlanta
started January 2013
$650,000
revenue/mo
2
Founders
20
Employees
213K
alexa rank
42.9K
followers
228
followers
5.25K
subs

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name is Mikey Moran and I am one of the owners of Private Label Extensions. We started this company a little over 5 years ago to create another option for women looking for amazing quality hair and entrepreneurs looking to get into the hair industry.

Private Label Extensions is a hair distribution and technology company that builds hair brands from A to Z for entrepreneurs looking to get into the industry. We provide a variety of hair extension products including, hair extensions, wigs, frontals, closures, and much more. We also provide custom hair branding packaging and labels, websites, dropshipping, and wholesale options.

When we began this company we started off with an affiliate model and had distributors that sold our branded products. It wasn’t the best model to use in the hair industry and then found a gap, which was people wanting to start their own hair brand versus selling someone else’s brand. About a year and a half into the company we pivoted the model so that people couple purchase hair to sell for their own brand.

We’ve made a lot of mistakes during our business journey but have learned from them all and have seen an increase in business. We went from selling a few thousand dollars a month to over $650,000 monthly and even had a $1,000,000 month. One of our biggest accomplishments was being ranked #278 of the fastest-growing companies by Inc Magazine for 2018.

how-i-started-a-650k-month-hair-extensions-and-products-business

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

At lunch, one day my business partner was telling me about his girlfriend who was spending almost $700 at the hair salon to get extensions. I instantly thought there could be a huge opportunity here because someone is making a lot of money off hair clients. After digging a little deeper, I found out the insane amount woman was paying for hair extensions.

As a product guy, I quickly learned everything I could about hair extensions. Where the best places to source and manufacture. I have worked hard to bring the best quality products for the lowest cost to the USA market. My previous experience selling online gave me a good background in E-Commerce which helped a lot.

Now I spend about a month a year working with manufacturers in China to ensure we are on top of production and standards. Building relationships has been a huge part of our growth and success.

When I first got into the industry I was broke, recovering from a previous business failure. We invested only $28,000 in total to get started. I borrowed my half from my mom and have since paid her back. As of recent, we have sold over $20,000,000 in the last three years. Things are better now.

how-i-started-a-650k-month-hair-extensions-and-products-business

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

It is a very strenuous process when it comes to finding the best manufacturer overseas. A lot of people getting into the hair industry have this problem, and we did the hard work. We went through a lot of bad products to find the right manufacturer that would best suit our needs with great quality products.

The real key to success is being consistent. This goes for every aspect of your business and personal growth.

I now work very closely with manufacturers and spend time at their facilities overseas. This helps build our relationship and makes it easier for us to create new products faster.

We have changed our packaging a few times over the past five years to better fit our customer’s needs and our costs. The first set of packaging for our hair extensions was about three times what we pay today and was less functional. It’s been a great learning process that we have gone through and always strive to do better.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Our launch was not really what we expected. We thought our idea was so huge so we rented out a big space that we thought would be packed out. Instead, we had about 10 people show up. Well, you can only go up from there.

The initial investment for the business was a total of $14,000 to start with an additional $14,000 later to help keep the operations going. We didn’t rely on credit cards or any other type of credit to get started. Most of the other initial start-up costs were nothing more than putting in our own time to do everything. With a limited budget, we just couldn’t hire a bunch of people to do things for us.

Most of the initial money was wasted on technology that was not great for our website. Our initial affiliate marketing idea needed a complicated solution that was not as readily available. We went with a proprietary software system that was not well done. It was cheaper than the other solutions but at the end of the day, none of them would have worked great for the system because our initial idea was flawed from the beginning.

It did help us acquire a customer base to work with and get started in the industry so we chalk it up as a learning lesson. Many of the things we learned along the way were only possible by listening to our client base. It had to be learned step-by-step so we could create amazing products and services that we have today.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I find that many owners of businesses start paying themselves too early instead of investing back into the company for growth. I personally didn’t pay myself a dollar out of the business until two and a half years. It was painful at times but it really helped us build a solid foundation for the company.

Our team invested heavily in blogging, learning SEO, and Facebook marketing to increase traffic, sales, and brand awareness. There wasn’t anything we wouldn’t try with ads, email marketing, push notifications, podcasting, creating videos, or anything else for marketing.

Being an Entrepreneur is tough enough. Unless you have a huge savings account, I highly recommend working your business as a side hustle while you have a steady income.

Retargeted ads have worked best for us, especially on Facebook and Instagram. Focusing on creating audiences based on user interactions on our website has been a huge success. It’s really not as complicated as you might think. The key is to focus on learning what the best first steps are and continuing to try new things. Some of the ideas I thought were not going to work ended up being the best. It’s all about trying everything and seeing what sticks. Once it has a little stick then find out how to ramp it up into something that stays!

We have the largest Facebook Group for starting a hair business and often look for feedback for desired products and services. This has been an amazing channel to help grow our business based on feedback. Listening to your clients is key. Actually getting what they want quickly is money.

In 2020 we are adding Amazon as a sales channel to the business. This past year we got a trademark for our brand so we could sell as a verified brand on Amazon. We thought this was an important step to make us stand out from the crowd and add more legitimacy to the brand.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are highly focused on growing our brands consistently.

While many businesses are going away from retail stores, we are focusing on opening them in key cities. Our clients love to feel and touch the products. If we can make a store just half as successful as our flagship location in Atlanta we can do really well. This year we opened our second location and are using it as a template to open more in the near future.

This year we also got our logo trademarked so we can have our own store on Amazon. It’s an important sales channel despite not having full control of the selling system. A necessary evil I would say.

The raw material costs for many of our products have increased over the past year. Increasing our order volume is about the only way we can stay hyper-competitive with pricing.

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Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

It’s really incredible to look back and see what I have learned in the last 14 years of Entrepreneurship.

When I first started out I was not as detailed and determined for perfection as I am today. Doing things the right way to start will save you so much time and money later.

Learning how to let go of your responsibilities and hand them off to employees was initially a challenge but it’s really the only way to grow your company. I have tried to take myself out of most of the daily operations to focus on the big picture and ideas for my business.

The real key to success is being consistent. This goes for every aspect of your business and personal growth. The next would be to stay focused. Entrepreneurs often come up with new ideas all the time and spread themselves too thin. Make sure you have a winning project before trying to start a new idea.

A business takes a long time to grow. Embrace the fact that you are not going to hit a home run the first time up to bat.

Over the years I have tried to teach myself as much as possible for marketing, sales, technology, and languages. I am a firm believer that we are not as successful as we wish because we just have not learned how to get there. Everything is a journey that needs to be embraced.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

The two website platforms we use are WordPress and Shopify. 34% of all websites are used on WordPress and Shopify is one of the best e-commerce platforms you can use.

Shopify has never supported payments for hair extensions because the industry is a high risk for fraud, however, this year, we were able to build a relationship with Shopify and Private Label Extensions is the only hair extension company to partner with Shopify. We created the first hair extension app in their app store, which is the Dropship Beauty App.

Our influencer marketing platform, Beauty Clout, is custom-built.

Some of the tools and services we like to use are Dialpad, GrooveHQ, Live Chat, Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, MailChimp, Later, Upwork, and probably a dozen more. They can get expensive so only use what you need.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I am an avid podcast listener and love learning. I equate fitness and health to the success of your business. When I work out I am actively listening to a podcast. I always do my 2-mile walk at night and have a chance to listen to podcasts. That’s normally when I get all my creative ideas.

A few podcasts I enjoy are:

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t quit your day job!

Being an Entrepreneur is tough enough. Unless you have a huge savings account, I highly recommend working your business as a side hustle while you have a steady income.

Don’t be fooled by the glamorous social media posts you see on Instagram. Entrepreneurship is not that beautiful. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

Make sure you stay healthy and take care of yourself. You can be the richest person in the world but if you are not healthy it doesn’t really matter.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking to hire great people that can help take our business to the next level. Our team has even created positions for certain individuals we thought would be great.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Mikey Moran ,   Founder of Private Label Extensions

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nisha changela
4 days ago

What an inspiring story! Thank you for Sharing Mikey. You are a talented bunch of people to take the business to this heights in short 5 years. Kudos :)

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