Shop now: https://www.hairsyrup.uk
1/First of all, we would love you to share the story of your business with us in a short statement - where and how you started and what inspired you.
After suffering a few major hair disasters over the years, in 2019 I decided to take action & look at bringing my frazzled, severely damaged locks back to health. After spending hundreds of pounds on various products to no avail, I decided to dig a little deeper & do some research into hair care. I happened to stumble across a short article championing the benefits of using pre-wash hair treatments, which at the time was totally new to me. I decided I would try out these pre-wash treatments but realized there were literally none available on the UK market! After researching ingredients and trialling and erroring various concoctions, I finally found the perfect formula - which is now known as Hair Syrup. I used this on my own hair & found it to be the only product that left lasting results on my hair - any other products I'd used would give me the appearance of nice hair for a few hours, before it would regress back into its matted, damaged state - this product was actually changing my hair before my eyes! I used the syrup for around a year and a half and it transformed my own hair. After posting a TikTok video of me using this product went viral (upwards of 1/2 million views) I was inundated with messages from girls asking where I got this product & begging for me to post them a bottle. It was late summer of 2020 when these messages had persisted for months I realised I'd formulated something special and there was definitely a market for it; particularly thanks to the rise of Hair-Tok.
2/As your own boss and a small business owner how do you juggle your work and life and ensure that you don't work too much?
I'm not the best person to answer this - since October 2020 I've juggled running Hair Syrup full time as a 1 woman band, completing my final year of studying at The University of Warwick, and on top of this, renovating a derelict house with my partner! I started off being super strict and organized with my time, my days would start at 8 AM and finish at 9PM, but because of the stress of the pandemic/lockdowns and the impact this had on my mental health, I eventually gave up trying to be so regimented and just started taking things hour by hour. If I felt like I needed some time off, I would just close the shop without hesitation. If I felt that I was spending too much time working & neglecting my university work, I would just take my website down. This was risky & I'm sure cost me lots of sales and customers, but sometimes your wellbeing just has to come first. I was confident in my business & knew that once I'd graduated, I could go full-speed ahead with it. The most difficult part was trying to have a night off & my phone would just be going crazy! I get hundreds of messages & emails per week & at times it's very overwhelming. I'm looking into purchasing a work phone because it's too stressful having my personal life mixed with business.
I physically couldn't face the enormity of what was on my plate, so I lived in a semi-state of denial and just went along with things - had I allowed myself to get stressed, I would have imploded.
I think being in lockdown has made work-life balance easier in a weird way, most of my friends and I are very cautious about covid, etc, so we haven't done much socializing, except a few socially distanced trips to the beach, etc. In all honesty, my boyfriend is my favorite person to hang out with in the world, he's my best friend & lots of my down-time is spent with him; which makes time management easier, given that we live together.
3/Where do your product and branding ideas come from?
This is a funny one - my products haven't come from 'ideas' per say, they're just the products I've been using on my own hair for months to tackle different issues, which is why (in my humble opinion) they work so well. I never made these products with the intention of them being 'sellable', I made them because I needed to find solutions to my hair problems. For example, I made Mint Condition to help with my dandruff/itchy scalp, whereas I use Quench Me if I get my hair colour-treated. I don't formulate a product because I think it would sell or because I think it's a good idea, I only sell products that have survived the test of time and cater to specific hair grievances.
4/Your product ingredients and scents are very unique and very polished - do you come from a creative background?
I most certainly do, I've been branded 'creative' my whole life, ever since I was a little kid I've always been into crafts, making stuff, etc. Being creative is just about the only 'hobby' I ever have to put on my CV - I'm not into sport, etc, I just love being inventive & imaginative. In the typical creative style, I studied English Literature at University and have a professional background in Branding, Marketing, Advertising, PR & Communications.
5/What is your best advise for people starting small businesses that you wish you knew when you were starting?
Best advice - find a niche in the market & think of a solution to your customers' problems, and then go from there. You need an idea you believe in and are passionate about before starting the business. I think a lot of people decided they want to start a business just because they've seen others do it, and kind of wing it with no direction; this might be ok for a temporary thing, but not so much as a long-term strategy. Another piece of advice (this may cause controversy), don't feel that you have to tell everyone you know about your business, especially when you're starting out, it can be very overwhelming & if too many people are involved, this adds to the pressure.
I wish I knew how badly I'd be plagued by imposter syndrome!
Shop now: https://www.hairsyrup.uk