A hair disaster led Lana Boone to start her own hair products business. She launched Kurly Klips, curly textured clip-in hair extensions, to further empower women in their personal hair care journeys. According to Boone,? “I created Kurly Klips in July 2013 after looking for clip-in extensions to match my Afro-textured hair. When I realized no one was selling them, I decided to open up my own e-commerce business and sell them myself.”
Kurly Klips has become an instant hit. “In my first 13 months, I?ve had more than 2,000 customers from 30 countries. If you had asked me two years ago whether I would be in the hair business, I would have thought you were crazy. But the Internet has made it incredibly easy for Black women to sell hair products to other Black women, and who knows our hair better than us?” she asks.
When Boone ventured into the industry, she used her own money. “I funded Kurly Klips 100 percent out of pocket. I took out $10K from my savings and structured my business around this budget,” she shares.
New to the industry, she faced some challenges. “Creating brand awareness proved to be one of the biggest challenges. With such a small budget, I had very little wiggle room for marketing. To overcome, I asked popular bloggers and YouTube celebrities to review my product. Many never responded to me, but the ones that did were popular enough to give Kurly Klips global recognition,” she explains. But she realized that having been a consumer of Black hair care products, she knew more about the industry than others.
“Corporate has not kept up with the Black community?s natural hair movement, which is why entrepreneurs like myself have really been able to thrive in the e-commerce environment. We?re consumers turned entrepreneurs. I am my market. No one knows it better than me,” she points out.
There were some techinical challenges of going the e-commerce route. “The initial Kurly Klips website was another challenge. It was literally a Powerpoint presentation saved as jpegs and plugged into an e-commerce platform: the definition of basic. However, the site looked clean, the images were correctly sized, and we had the backing of prominent bloggers and beauty magazines. This gave us enough credibility to get our first 1000 orders, but as soon as there was enough money to reinvest, we did. The current Kurly Klips site gives our customers a better shopping experience and leaves few people wondering about the legitimacy of the company,”? says Boone.?
Looking forward, Boone says, “My goals for the rest of 2014 are all branding-related. From the website, to promotional material, to packaging, I would like the Kurly Klips brand to be defining and consistent. I?m also looking for ways to improve the customer experience via packaging.”? Eventually, she hopes to expand her product line.
During this process, Boone says she has learned some unexpected business lessons. Her advice to others: “Think about a product or service you would absolutely love to have, but that is nonexistent or does not exist to your satisfaction. Create a budget, a business plan, a daily and weekly goal list, and before you know it, your ambitions will be within reach. Study your competition, but don?t concentrate on them too much. Run your own race and lean on your natural strengths. Research and critically analyze everything, and know when to rest in faith.”