10 Ways to Brand an Online Hair Extension Business
Let's be frank, the hair extension industry is a very crowded market. With so many options out there and people even selling from the trunk of their car how do you reach your consumer?
The answer is very simple: Branding. In this post I am going to share with you 10 things you can do to help brand your online hair extension business. Don't be the fly by night company that sells a couple of bundles then disappears. You are going to learn that although you sell a product in a heavily saturated market, by following these tips you can make your unique mark. Doing so will create customer loyalty, recognition and most of all profit. So hold on to your weaves! Let's go!
1. QUALITY PRODUCT
Product is one of the 3 P's of business success (People, Process, Product). Offering quality hair extensions is key. With so many selling hair, there is a lot of product out there that is of poor quality. I've seen thin wefts, hair that sheds profusely, and hair that gets so matted up after a few wears it is impossible to untangle. Prior to putting anything up online you will want to have tested your hair by ordering samples of the textures you want to sell. I recommend 30 days of really playing around with the hair to see how it holds up. Wash it, condition it, dye it, if it's curly straighten it. When you know your hair extensions and you can give an actual testimony of their wear and quality you are already half way there.
2. A Unique Name
Think outside of the box. Generic names are a bore and make your business forgettable. Avoid names like Beautiful Extensions, Hot Hair, Butterfly Extensions (EEEK! I'm probably sure I may have named a real company in there!). Remember you are not just selling hair you are selling a BRAND.
3. Well Designed Logo & Website
Once you've chosen a name you will need a well designed logo and website. A strong professional logo and website is a must for anyone who wants to create a recognizable brand. While it may be tempting to follow the latest design trend or just use a template or cookie cutter website, this WILL NOT help you standout. From the font choices, to the colors, and photography be deliberate with what you choose. With so many hair extension stores online, taking the time to actually create a unique logo and website makes your store a stand out. Below you find a link to a Brand U exercise on finding your unique style. This exercise will help you avoid creative overwhelm whether you are designing these things yourself or hiring a professional.
4. Know Your Consumer
Will you be selling hair extensions to Black women or White women? Normally race is relative when it comes to business, but for a hair extension line it is valuable knowledge to know the race of your ideal consumer. Hair extensions come in a variety of textures and colors and knowing which ones are attractive to whom is very necessary to your success. Will you be going after women who want to wear natural hair extensions or those who want unprocessed Indian Hair. Will you sell only weft extensions, wigs, clip-ins or all three? This leads me to the next thing on the list...
5. CHOOSE WHAT TYPE(S) OF HAIR TO SELL
With so much variety in hair extensions honing in on a particular type can create a niche market for your business. There are not only extensions on the traditional weft there are clip-ins, wigs, closures, halo style, fusions and others that I'm sure I am missing here, but you get the idea. Then there are the various textures. Will you target Naturals and sell hair that is kinky or curly? Or ladies who are looking for premium untouched Indian Extensions? Choose what is best for your image as a brand. If you are aiming at Naturals who prefer kinky hair textures then you shouldn't carry straight haired extensions. Carrying the right type of hair in your store will attract your ideal customer.
6. BECOME AN EXPERT
Know your craft. Being an expert in the hair extension business will mean understanding industry terminology, the different quality types of hair, the origins, the process of how it is wefted or texturized and more. Once you have familiarized yourself you may take it a step further by becoming an expert in a specific type of hair extensions or hair care process. For example you may specialize in supplying products to women with hair loss. You can use your expertise to your advantage when marketing to your ideal customer.
7. Professional Photographs
Presentation is indeed everything. You will want to do your best to either have professional photos taken of your hair extensions or take some great quality photos yourself. If you must take photos for yourself you don't need a pricey camera to do it and do it right! When utilizing a cell phone camera the best quality photos are taken in natural light. Place your extensions against a white back drop. You can easily do this by moving a table near the window and placing a big sheet of clean white paper on top of it. Lay your hair extensions on the paper climb on a stool or chair and snap several shots. You want to get a good clean picture! I will go more into product photo styling in another post as this deserves a full write up on it's own.
Deliver your extensions to your customer with your branding front and center. Tags with your logo and type of hair ordered, a few of your business cards for your customer to share with friends, instructions on how to best care for the hair, and a plastic sleeve or tissue paper stamped with your logo to protect the product is a must for every shipment. If custom packaging is not yet in the cards, at the very least wrap your extensions in tissue paper and include a card with your company info and care instructions.
9. SOCIAL MEDIA
Some of the keys to a successful social media account is consistent posting and cohesive images and tone of voice. This is definitely an area where it is important to know who your customer is. You will not just want to post product photos of your hair, but images on models, inspiration quotes and other things that may appeal to your target consumer. Do this consistently and always keep the same level of quality through out your post. Create post that are sharable and have your brand name stamped on them. The internet is a vast place and image sources become lost. By having your name on your images you create more opportunity to drive traffic to your social media pages and website. In the example below of the brand I created "Let it Fro" (a natural hair extension line), I used vintage photos with the familiar "Just Keep Calm and Carry On" sentiment replaced with "Just Keep Calm & Let it Fro." The images served as a reminder to Let it Fro's audience to just embrace their natural textures.
10. bUILD A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CUSTOMER
Investing in a relationship with your client goes a long way when it comes to branding your hair extension business. Keep your brand on their radar even when they aren't in the process of buying hair. Surprise your clients with discounts, contests, promotional gifts (key chains, brushes, hair care samples,etc). When your customer needs to buy hair again or someone she knows wants to buy hair who do you think she is going to recommend if you have kept your name in her psyche? This is what branding is all about.
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written & illustrated by Tiffani Ink.