Jess Gerring is the Co-founder of Hello Hair - an all natural hair care brand that is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. With over 400,000 social media followers, Hello Hair is also Australian made and owned.
Where did you get the idea for your business?
We had been searching endlessly for an all natural hair treatment which wasn't going to add any additional chemicals to our already damaged strands. My business partners and I all had over-processed, fried blonde hair at the time. We quickly identified that everything on the market at the time was packed full of chemicals, harsh emulsifiers and non-biodegradable ingredients. We realised that there was a gap in the market for an all natural alternative to these commercial hair care products, and set out to create a hair mask which was vegan, cruelty-free and suitable for all hair types. Essentially we just wanted to create something that we had a need for, and really hoped that everyone else felt the same way!
How did you get your business started?
Our business started on a shoestring budget, with very little investment and just lots of bright ideas. My business partners and I scrambled to turn our idea into a reality in the space of 3 months. We did it! This all came about around the time when Instagram had really started to 'take off' and it was an amazing (free) platform for businesses to reach customers around the world through beautiful and engaging imagery. We knew that we never wanted a brick and mortar store, our products would be sold exclusively online through our website and we'd do all of our marketing through social media, to keep costs to a bare minimum. We immediately began utilising social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to reach customers and followers around the world. Before we knew it, Hello Hair went viral and it became evident that so many girls around the world had been seeking the exact product which we had brought to market.
Hello Hair hair mask, Photographer: Tori Ray.
What lessons have you learned so far on your business journey?
Its tough, but also incredibly rewarding. Owning and managing my own business has been the hardest and most challenging thing I have ever committed to. However, nothing compares to working for yourself and making your own rules. You just need to be prepared to get stuck into it and be in it for the long haul. Not everyone is nice, helpful or supportive. A lot of doors have closed on us and people (who we didn't expect) have turned their backs on us. Every roadblock or struggle is a learning experience though and you're always better and wiser for it.
Be patient! A lot of things we've worked on for months and years have taken an incredibly long time to come to fruition. But when they finally do, the wait is worth it.
Surround yourself with positive people who are going to support you and be there for you when the going gets tough (and it often does). Having a strong network of friends and family around us has been amazing.
How important for you has it been to have a mentor?
To be honest, I have not had a specific mentor in business up until this point! I have been fortunate to have had wonderful friends around me who have mentored me in other aspects of my life, so the business part we have kind of made our way through on our own.
We are reaching a point in our business now though where there are many different avenues we'd like to explore and we will be bringing mentors and consultants on board. It is never too late to start, and in hindsight, I think I would have benefited from having a specific business mentor on this journey.
Hello Hair has recently introduced Shampoo and Conditioner into their product range
What are your top three tips for starting a business?
1. Create the things that you wish existed! If you have identified a gap in the market for an amazing product or service, then go for it! If you don't, then someone else will do it and you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't take the plunge first.
2. Be brave! Self-doubt kills more ideas than failure ever will.
3. Have confidence in yourself when others will doubt you. If you work hard, are passionate and believe in what you are doing, your authenticity will shine through.
Jess Gerring studied the RMIT Advanced Diploma Business (Public Relations)
"Be brave! Self-doubt kills more ideas than failure ever will." Jess Gerring