Start a hair business! Branding, finding vendors, wholesale & more
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How to start a hair business
Starting a hair business can be very overwhelming. Especially if you do not have the right information or know the proper steps to take to get started. In today’s post we are going to give you a few tips on how to start your very own hair business the right way. So go grab a notepad and pencil and let’s take some notes!
(1) Becoming Legit
This is probably one of the most important steps that gets overlooked by new hair business owners. When starting ANY business you always want to make sure that your business is legit. And when I say legit, I mean registered.
The first thing you want to do is 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 business under the name Jafar Enterprises LLC (legal name). This is for building business credit purposes. I will discuss this more in a different post.
So now that you have a name for yourself (legal name), you can create a name for your hair business. This 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 businesses 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.
This step must be done in order for your business to be legit. You’re going to 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 simply type your state’s abbreviation with EIN after it in google (NC EIN). Most states allows you to get an EIN instantly on their website! Also, when applying for your EIN make sure you use your legal name and not your hair business name when registering.
Hooray! So now 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 a LLC. LLC stands for Limited Liability Corporation. A LLC gives you:
- Legal protection for your personal assets.
- Limited liability for your business debts and obligations.
- NON U.S citizens can register.
- Makes your business look better on paper and shows you are serious!
Why is registering as a LLC important? It’s protection! Let’s say, you took out a business line of credit and you’re not able to pay it back. Creditors cannot come after your personal assets (home, car, checking & savings) for collection! That’s why it’s so important to register as a LLC.
There is a fee when registering your business as a LLC. Here in North Carolina the fee is $125. Check with your secretary of state to see how much the fee would be for you.
Important note: When registering make sure you DO NOT register as a sole proprietorship. Registering as a sole proprietorship makes your personal 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, now you need a logo, business cards, social media accounts, and if you want to take it a step further a website!
- Custom Logo
- A custom logo will help customers recognize you and your business.
- You can search google to create your own free logo.
- We do custom logo designs for $20. You can email us at [email protected] and put custom logo in the subject line. Let us know your business name & color scheme.
- You can search on google for a graphic designer to design your custom logo.
- Business Cards
- You’ll need business cards to hand out to potential customers.
- You can search google to make your own business cards or use Microsoft word.
- We design professional business cards for $20. You can email us at [email protected] and put custom business cards in the subject line. Let us know all your business information such as business name, social media accounts, phone number, and etc.
- You can also search google for a graphic designer to design your custom logo.
- Social Media Account (Create a business account for each using your hair business name). You are only setting these account up. If you do not have a logo yet, you can add this later.
- Website (not required)
- You will need to register for a domain name. A domain name is a URL to your personal site. For example our domain name is jafarhair.com.
- You can register a domain name with Godaddy. They’re cheap!
- 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 your own hosting. You can also do this through Godaddy. Godaddy also have a one click installation feature for wordpress. Making it very easy to install and create a website.
- Shopify: Shopify is easy to setup for newbies. However, there is a monthly fee. I think right now they’re cheapest plan is $9 a month. But you can have a very decent website up in a week!
- There are other sites that helps with websites. Do a quick search in google to find one that’s best suited for you.
(3) Hair Vendors & Custom Packaging
Whew, we finally made it here. This is the step that can either make or break your business. A good quality hair vendor is oh so hard to find. I remember when we first started Jafar Raw Hair. We were so overwhelmed with trying to weave out the bad hair vendors from the good ones. And then the good hair vendors would turn into bad hair vendors due to not being able to keep up with high demands. The problems we were having were never ending!
So we are going to share with you a few tips on how to find good hair vendors for your business, the different shipping methods you can use, and tips 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. If you do not have good quality hair extensions, guess what you’re going to get? A whole lot of negative reviews and angry customers. Your business will be over before it even starts!
There’s 2 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. But to sum it up virgin hair is unprocessed hair that has not been chemically treated, have any acids, or have 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, and etc. There has been a lot of talk about were virgin hair really comes from, and if it’s actually Brazilian, Malaysian, or Peruvian hair. But that’s a whole different topic that we will not be discussing in this post.
Raw hair is unprocessed hair that has not been previously treated with chemicals, dyes, and acids. Raw hair comes from countries like India, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Burma. This hair is sold in its natural state. And unlike virgin hair, raw hair doesn’t come in textures like body wave, loose wave, or kinky curly. Those textures are not natural and virgin hair is manipulated to create those textures.
Raw hair is usually more expensive than virgin hair because the quality is better. But you can definitely 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. If you want to sell high quality hair extensions to people with who may have larger budget, raw hair may be the way to go. 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 would like to sell, the next step is to find your vendor. Many people uses Aliexpress to source their hair. We personally wouldn’t recommend using Aliexpress. Not saying Aliexpress has horrible hair. But you may find yourself getting bad reviews and angry customers due to the amount of shedding and matting that a lot of Aliexpress vendors hair experiences.
Once again you do not want to drive 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.
Look at each vendor’s Instagram account, just to check out their products, sales, and wholesale information. Contact the vendor who products interest you the most. Ask for their wholesale price list, if they give out samples, shipping costs, and etc. Ask to see their factory through video calling to make sure they’re actually manufacturing their own hair. This process is trial and error. And you have to keep doing your research to find a supplier who’s going to work the best for your business. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN OVERNIGHT!
Here at Jafar Raw Hair, we do offer wholesale. You can actually order our raw Indian hair sample kit which comes with (3) 4” wefts in our raw Indian straight, curly, and wavy textures for only $19.99. You can get our sample kit by clicking here.
What about Shipping?
If you’re taking the online approach to getting customers through your website. Shipping of course plays a huge part on the success of your business. Customers do not want to wait forever to receive their hair. So you have a few options when it comes to shipping.
- Dropshipping – Dropshipping is perfect for business owners who doesn’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 and communicate to your supplier the details of the order (hair, lengths, color, customer address, and etc.), and pay the invoice they will send you. You 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.
- Dropshipping shouldn’t be permanent. You should only use the dropshipping method in the beginning to get your business off the ground. When you start profiting from your business you need to reinvest your profits back in through wholesale and advertising. This is how you build a successful long term business.
- Dropshipping also isn’t 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. They do not ship out any hair during this holiday which lasts for about a week (I believe). So you will have to communicate to your customers that shipping will be delayed.
- Wholesale Shipping – If you have a larger budget and can purchase hair in bulk, wholesale shipping is the shipping method you will most likely use. Wholesale shipping is the standard shipping suppliers charge based on the quantity or weight of the order you place with them. Usually the more you buy, the more expensive shipping will be.
- With wholesale shipping you will have full control over your inventory. You will be responsible for packaging, shipping, and tracking numbers.
- You also want to stay on top of your stock. Since you carry your own inventory, you will need to make sure that you are fully stock at all times.
- Take inventory daily. If you have a website on WordPress. WordPress can manage this for you.
- You should have a minimum amount. For example your minimum amount can be 3 bundles per brand, per texture, per length. So this means if you sell Cambodian hair, you want to make sure you have a minimum of 3 bundles of Cambodian curly in 16” or 3 bundles of Cambodian straight in 18”.
- Once you start to grow your company you’ll get more insight on which items sells 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. Make sure you are placing new wholesale orders when inventory starts reaching your minimum!
What about Packaging?
Packaging is important because it shows customers you care about your brand and is legit. It helps customers identify you and your business as well.
- Dropshipping packaging – You can get your suppliers to add your logo to your packaging when they’re shipping your customers orders. Each supplier is different with the packaging they offer. So I would contact them directly to find out what packaging they use.
- Your custom packaging – What’s neat about carrying your own inventory is being able to create your own packaging. You can use Alibaba for custom packaging. They are reasonable and have custom packaging just for hair extensions. But starting out I would recommend something cheaper that does require you to buy a lot of quantity. You are starting a business, not established yet.
I would advise you to go to a hobby store, Amazon, or Walmart, and find cute little bags, ribbons, tags, and etc for about 15 orders. You never know, you may not need Alibaba in the future. You can come up with some pretty neat creative ideas on your own!
Wrapping it up
So these are the basics steps to help you start a hair business. Following these steps should get you up and going. In more posts we will discuss topics like building business credit, advertising, and maybe how to set up your own website using WordPress!
Please leave any questions & comments below!!!