CURLS offers organic hair care products for women, girls and babies with naturally curly, wavy and kinky textured tresses.
Founded by Mahisha Dellinger in 2002, the company’s product range is stocked across the United States in leading retailers including Target, Rite Aid, Sally’s Beauty Supply and Bed, Bath and Beyond. CURLS products can be found across international markets including the UK, Canada and Brazil.
Frustrated with the lack of effective products for naturally curly hair, Mahisha left her post as Marketing Manager at Intel Corporation to pursue her passion. Her aim is to provide women and children with naturally curly hair effective and eco-conscious products that are natural and safe to use.
Headquartered in Elk Grove California, the company employs a team of 15 providing customized hair care regimes, personalised hair care support and live workshops on demand.
The brand is coveted by a loyal celebrity following including Amerie, Ashanti, Janet Jackson, Sheryl Crow, Alicia Keys, Halle Berry and Zoe Saldana. CURLS won Allure magazine’s Best of Beauty award in 2011 and is exhibiting at the UK’s Afro Hair & Beauty Live show June 3rd-4th.
Why did you decide to start your company?
I decided to start CURLS because I was frustrated with the lack of hair care options for my naturally textured tresses. After intense research I found that it was a viable business opportunity for me.
What was your career path prior to starting your business?
Prior to launching CURLS, I was a corporate marketing manager. After I was downsized, I launched my own company.
Did you always know that you would start your own business?
No…I was planning on working in corporate America, until my job was eliminated.
What are you working on at the moment?
We are working on the acquisition of a new hair care brand. We also have a host of amazing TV deals in the works.
Can you describe your typical working day?
A typical work day? Not a chance! I love the fast pace, unexpected norm of my day to day work life.
As a business owner, you must wear multiple hats. So, from day to day, my challenges change, however CURLS’ success is the end result.
Which of your products is most in demand?
Wow, that is a hard question to answer. Our adult line has a host of fast selling stylers that are to die for! However, you cannot forget our one of a kind organic baby range, It’s a Curl, and kids line, Curly Q’s.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
There have been a host of amazing highlights…landing our first salon account two months after we launched, to landing our first national chain, Target, seven years later.
Industry recognition and our celebrity following have also been amazing. This has been an incredible ride!
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
As a mother of four, managing my work/life balance is the hardest part of owning my own business. It is a daily struggle, but I make it work.
What has been your proudest business moment so far?
My proudest moment, thus far, is reaching our 10 year anniversary. Most businesses do not make it to five years! 10 years later we are still here and growing exponentially.
Do you have a favourite business book?
The Bible – it reminds me to keep things in perspective. I cannot chase my dreams so much that I forget what is most important, my soul.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
My children motivate me. I have always wanted to give them a better life than I had. When I wake up to their beautiful faces, I am inspired to work hard.
Can you tell us more about your participation in the UK’s Afro Hair & Beauty Live show in June?
We are very excited about the Afro Hair and Beauty Show. This will be our first year in attendance. We are hosting a meet up and announcing the winner of our UK model search!
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a beauty business?
Hands down, do your due diligence. Know the market you are entering. Be prepared for two years of out of pocket investing into your company and not achieving immediate sales growth. Get an experienced mentor.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2017?
2017 will be an amazing year for CURLS! We will be a household name, synonymous with natural hair care, worldwide. Our five brands will be in all national chains and we will have a strong television presence.
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Mahisha Dellinger was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Do you have a question for Mahisha? If so, please feel free to post a comment below: