How to start a hair business
Starting a hair business can be overwhelming, especially if you need to possess the correct information. In today’s post, we’ll give tips on building your own hair business the right way. So grab a notepad and pencil, and let’s take some notes!
(1) Becoming Legit
Becoming legit is the most crucial step for new hair business owners. When starting ANY business, you always want to ensure that your business is legit. And when I say legit, I mean registered.
You first want to come up with a legal name (a name for yourself). Not your hair business, but for yourself. For example, the name of our hair business is Jafar Raw Hair, but we registered our company under the name Jafar Enterprises LLC “legal name.” I will talk more about why this is so important in a few.
So now that you have a name for yourself, a “legal name,” you can create a name for your hair business. This name can be absolutely anything. If you get stuck on this step, look at a few of these keywords as a starting point “replace blanks with your unique name.”
“____ Hair Extensions”
“____ Gold Label”
“____ Virgin Hair”
When you have established your legal name and a name for your hair business, the next step is to get an EIN. EIN stands for Employer Identification Number. This number is issued to companies by the IRS. With an EIN, you can open business checking and saving accounts, open business lines of credit and credit cards, file taxes, and handle payroll.
Registering for an EIN is necessary to become a legitimate business. You will have to file taxes on your business at the end of the year. And you cannot do that without an EIN!
To get an EIN, you can type your state’s abbreviation with EIN after it in google “NC EIN.” Most states allow you to get an EIN instantly on their website! Also, when applying for your EIN, use your legal name and not your hair business name when registering.
Hooray! You have a legal name, a name for your hair business, and an EIN. So what’s next? Now you want to register your business with your Secretary of State as an LLC. LLC stands for Limited Liability Corporation. An LLC gives you the following:
- Legal protection for your assets.
- Limited liability for your business debts and obligations.
- NON-U.S citizens can register.
- It makes your business look better on paper and shows you are serious!
Why is registering as an LLC essential? It’s protection! Let’s say you took out a business line of credit and cannot pay it back. Creditors cannot come after your assets “home, car, checking & savings” for collection! That’s why it’s so important to register as an LLC.
There is a fee when registering your business as an LLC. Here in North Carolina, the cost is $125. Check with your secretary of state to see how much the fee would be for you.
Important note: Make sure you DO NOT register as a sole proprietorship. Registering as a sole proprietorship makes your assets vulnerable.
So that concludes this section. We will also be doing a few posts on how to build business credit to get business lines of credit and credit cards to help finance your hair business. So be on the lookout for those!
Next, you will need to brand your business. You already have your hair business name, and now you need a logo, business cards, social media accounts, and a website if you want to take it a step further!
Custom Logo – A custom logo will help customers recognize your brand.
- You can search google to create a free logo.
- You can search google for a graphic designer to design your custom logo.
Business Cards – You’ll need cards to hand out to potential customers.
- You can search google to make your business cards or use Microsoft Word.
- You can also search google for a graphic designer to design your custom logo.
Social Media Accounts – Create a business account for each using your hair business name. You are only setting these accounts up. You can add a logo later.
Website (not required) – Create an e-commerce site if you want to reach customers who aren’t local. Or just to have an online presense.
- You must register for a domain name. A domain name is a URL to your website. For example, our domain name is jafarhair.com. You can register a domain name with Godaddy.
Next, you’ll need to determine how you will host your website.
WordPress: You can host your website through WordPress. There’s no monthly fee with WordPress. But you do have to purchase hosting. You can do this through GoDaddy. GoDaddy has a one-click installation feature for WordPress. Making it very easy to install and create a website.
Shopify: Shopify is easy to set up for newbies. There is a $29.99 monthly fee. But you can have a very professional website up in a week!
(3) Hair Vendors & Custom Packaging
Whew, we finally made it here. The steps outlined here can either make or break your business. A good quality hair vendor is hard to find. I remember when we first started Jafar Raw Hair. We were overwhelmed trying to weave out the atrocious hair vendors from the good ones. And then, the excellent hair vendors would turn into unusable hair vendors due to the inability to keep up with high demands. The problems we were having were never-ending!
So we will share tips on finding good hair vendors for your business, the different shipping methods you can use, and information on custom packaging.
What type of hair should I sell?
First, you need to determine what kind of hair you want to sell. Quality should always be the most important. Many negative reviews and angry customers are different from how we want to start our business.
There are two different types of hair to consider. There’s virgin hair, and there’s raw hair. We’re not going to go into a whole discussion about the difference between the two.
Virgin hair is unprocessed, non-chemically treated hair with no acids or has been permed or dyed (unless you purchase custom colors). Virgin hair usually comes in Brazilian, Malaysian, and Peruvian brands. And in textures like body wave, loose wave, straight, kinky curly, deep wave, etc. There has been a lot of talk about where virgin hair comes from and if it’s Brazilian, Malaysian, or Peruvian. But that’s a different topic we will not discuss in this post.
Raw hair is unprocessed hair that’s not chemically treated or dyed—primarily sourced from India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma. In its original state, raw hair comes entirely in its most authentic form straight from the donor. Raw hair is usually more expensive than virgin hair because the quality is better. But you can find good quality virgin hair to sell.
So the type of hair you sell ultimately boils down to you. If you want to sell hair to customers with smaller budgets, virgin hair is the way to go. Raw hair may be the way to go if you want to sell high-quality hair extensions to customers with a larger budget. Of course, you can sell both as well. But you want to start small and grow big. And keeping the two separated is the smartest thing to do for beginners.
How to find hair vendors?
Now that you have the type of hair you want to sell, the next step is to find your vendor(s). Many people use Aliexpress to source their hair. We wouldn’t recommend using Aliexpress. Nothing against Aliexpress. But you may find yourself getting bad reviews and angry customers due to the amount of shedding and matting that a lot of Aliexpress vendor’s hair experiences.
Once again, you want to avoid driving your business into the dirt before it even starts! So a neat way to find hair vendors, in our personal experience, is to use Instagram! Log into your new business Instagram account and search for #virginhairvendors or #rawhairvendors. A ton of results will come up. And this is where you will start your “finding a perfect hair vendor” journey.
Check out each vendor’s Instagram account for their products, sales, and wholesale information. Only contact the vendor(s) whose products interest you the most. Ask for wholesale prices, samples, shipping costs, etc. Ask to see their factory through video calling to ensure they’re manufacturing their hair. This process is trial and error. And you have to keep researching to find a supplier who will work best for your business. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!
What about Shipping?
Shipping, of course, plays a massive part in the success of your business. Customers want to receive their hair as soon as possible. You have a few options when it comes to shipping.
Dropshipping – Dropshipping is perfect for business owners who don’t have a lot of startup capital to buy wholesale or purchase inventory. It helps you get your foot through the door. So with dropshipping, a customer comes to your site and places an order. You take the money you received from that order, tell your supplier the order details (hair, lengths, color, customer address, etc.), and pay the invoice they will send you. Your supplier will then send the order directly to your customer. In most cases, the supplier will put your logo on the packaging, so it looks like the hair is being shipped directly from you. This method is called private labeling.
- Dropshipping shouldn’t be permanent. In the beginning, you should only use the dropshipping method to get your business off the ground. When you start profiting from your business, you need to reinvest your profits through wholesale and advertising—building a successful long-term business.
- Dropshipping isn’t meant to be perfect! Suppliers mess up. And you’re dependent on your supplier for the hair and shipping. For example, if you are working with a supplier from China, you may experience a shipping delay due to their Chinese holiday at the beginning of the year. During this holiday, orders aren’t processed or shipped for about two weeks.
Wholesale Shipping – Purchase wholesale if you have a larger budget and can purchase hair in bulk. This is the shipping method you will most likely use from your supplier. Wholesale shipping is the standard shipping suppliers charge based on the quantity or weight of your order. Usually, the more you buy, the more expensive shipping will be.
- With wholesale shipping, you will have complete control over your inventory. You will be responsible for packaging, shipping, and tracking numbers.
- You’ll want to stay on top of your stock since you’ll carry your inventory.
- Take inventory daily.
- You should have a minimum amount. For example, your minimum amount can be three bundles per brand, per texture, and per length. So this means if you sell Cambodian hair, you want to ensure you have a minimum of three bundles of Cambodian curly in 16″ or three bundles of Cambodian straight in 18″.
- Once you grow your company, you’ll get more insight into which items sell the best and can put a higher minimum on those items.
- You never want to run low or be out of stock. So staying on top of your inventory is huge.