One year on... Happy Birthday the LHAA!
An incredible first year at the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy in Camden: Since opening in August last year the LHAA have trained 120 young Apprentices in hairdressing and barbering
Tai Lawrence, the founder of Hairfinity, successfully built her own company from scratch. At the time, she was relatively inexperienced, but now her products sell around the world. Tai tells us about helping women like herself and starting a business in a competitive market.
I have both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Electrical Engineering. I worked as an Electrical Engineer for 4 years before starting my own business.
I didn’t think of Hairfinity as a business idea at first; I was only doing the hair care research as a side project. I had a problem with my hair, looked for more issues and then I found other women who had the same problems. I started sharing information online about healthy hair techniques and went from there.
Being a maths person, I thought about having an infinite amount of hair and that’s how the brand name was born. When we added other products to our offering, I thought we should have an umbrella company. This became Brock Beauty, which I named after my husband Brock.
Honestly, I didn’t know anything about starting a business when I founded Hairfinity. I Googled everything – and I still do.
Over the years, my work day has changed dramatically. In the early years, it was just my husband and I doing everything. That included customer service and packaging. Today, I am mostly involved with product development and management. So, a typical day in my working life is split into two parts. Half of the day is spent surfing the internet looking for ways to improve something for others. The other half of the is spent in the office working with our various departments.
When I get a letter from a customer whose life was changed because of our products. Some are cancer survivors who just wanted to feel normal again; others are women who have never felt comfortable with their hair and skin until using our products. Beauty products may not seem life changing, but they are when they help a person feel better about themselves.
Deciding what to tackle first and who to focus on. Our team comes up with lots of ideas about products to help people, but you can’t do everything for everyone. It’s difficult to decide which products make the cut, and which ones don’t. They are all great ideas.
I think my resourcefulness has been my key to success. I am great at finding information and people to get things accomplished. I know my strengths and weaknesses. My formula has always been; where I am weak, I get help and where I am strong, I give help.
I would tell someone who wants to start their own business to believe in themselves. When you try to do something different, people won’t always be supportive; they won’t always see your vision. If you believe in yourself, it will be easier to pursue your dreams and make them a reality.
As Tai mentions, it’s not necessary to know much about how to start a business before doing it. If you believe in yourself and you have a strong idea our dream will become reality.