Sisters + Hair Color = Growing Business
Adrienne and Stephanie are both natural redheads and have struggled to find beauty and fashion items that cater to young, trendy redheaded women.
Since there was no place for Adrienne and Stephanie to turn to for advice, they created HowtobeaRedhead.com for redheads throughout the world to celebrate a redhead’s beauty, in both the fashion and beauty sector. The redhead sisters have coined the phrase “Rock it like a Redhead” as the tag line for their blog posts and social media photos to proclaim that it’s all about rockin’ your red hair with certainty and spunk.
Since HowtobeaRedhead.com’s launch, it has been recognized by the top beauty companies in the world and in 2012, Adrienne and Stephanie were L’Oreal Paris Brand Ambassadors. This powerhouse sister duo are also the Curators and Producers for Rock it like a Redhead Events. The events aim to bring together their loyal audience with brands that empower them to feel beautiful, inside and out. The Rock it like a Redhead TOUR will premiere in 2015.
1. What is How to be a Redhead LLC and why did you start the company?
Stephanie: Adrienne and I were born natural redheads. Growing up, we loved beauty products, but finding the right items for our sensitive skin and hair was a nightmare. It took us buying hundreds of ‘redhead friendly’ items to get it right. One day in high school, we looked at each other and said, “We know How to be a Redhead.” The name stuck. We always joked that we would come out with a book titled “How to be a Redhead,” because websites weren’t as popular as they are now.
When we launched HowtobeaRedhead.com, we wanted it to be a positive, confident environment that also gave the top beauty and fashion advice for redheads. When we began HowtobeaRedhead.com on January 11, 2011 , I was a senior at the University of Miami and Adrienne had just recently graduated in 2009. At the time, Adrienne was working at a law firm in Boston and taking her LSAT’s to go to law school. I was in the process of applying to Marketing jobs in New York City. We had spent some time together in October of 2010 and said to ourselves, “What are we doing? Let’s start How to be a Redhead.” It felt so natural and “right” from the start. We moved to New York City shortly thereafter and never looked back.
2. As sisters, have you always worked well together?
Adrienne: We don’t have any other siblings, so I guess we were forced to always work well together. Kidding! Since the start we have always got along well. There was a lot of laughter in our household growing up and we always talking about how great our childhood was. Starting a business together was very natural.
Stephanie: And, we are lucky because my strengths are Adrienne’s weaknesses and vise vera. We feel very blessed.
3. How to be a Redhead is the world’s only redhead brand and has been featured in publications such as Huffington Post, SHAPE Magazine, Fast Company, Daily Mail.. and more. How are you able to get such great press?
Adrienne: To be completely honest, we are relentless. We have a goal of where we want How to be a Redhead to be and we work really smart.
Stephanie: We spend many hours a week pitching to company’s and connecting with media. It’s really enjoyable spreading the word about a business you started. Many people ask us why we haven’t hired a publicist. We could, but choose not to. Right now, we want to be the voices of our brand and we think it comes through strongly in our e-mails and phone calls. We’ve always wanted our press, media and brand to be very organic.
4. Your brand seems to be somewhat of a niche market. Do you agree? If so, how did you establish this niche?
Adrienne. Oh, absolutely. 100%. We wanted to create a place where redheads could go and feel beautiful, something we didn’t have when we were teenagers. It can be tough being a redhead, it’s almost like you’re a minority because you look so different.
Stephanie: We sat down in 2010, before our launch, and talked about all the things we wish we had as redheads growing up. How to be a Redhead is everything we wish we had and more. Just wait until you see what’s in store for 2015!
5. What has been your greatest challenge?
Adrienne: This is a really great question because with every great company comes challenges. My personal challenge (and not many people know this!) was when I moved to New York City in 2011, with Stephanie, to continue to grow How to be a Redhead. At the same time, I fell in love with my now husband who is active duty in the US Army. We married in 2012 and moved to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Many thought it would be the end of How to be a Redhead, but Stephanie and I knew it was just the beginning. Thanks to modern day technology, we are able to feel like we work together every single day. And, thanks to frequent flier miles, I am able to fly up to New York City in a jiffy whenever we have meetings (which is quite frequently!)
Stephanie: Another challenge is probably pitching the idea about something that no one has ever done or thought of before. People thought we were absolutely CRAZY when we launched How to be a Redhead. We kept going and now the response is completely the opposite. People say, “Wait, you mean before you there wasn’t a website for redheads?” It’s safe to say that Adrienne and I always turn our “negatives” into positives.
6. If you could provide one key tip to establishing a successful brand, what would that be?
Adrienne and Stephanie: One tip is hard! For establishing a successful brand, these are our many tips:
1. Don’t Give Up- Along the way, there are going to be so many opportunities to quit. Don’t listen to anyone.
2. Follow Your Gut- When things get tough, follow your gut. For us, we always knew How to be a Redhead would succeed and anytime we faced a struggle, we followed our gut— which told us to keep going.
3. Learn Something Every Day- With the news right at your finger tips, you can always learn more about starting a business. We’re constantly reading up on entrepreneur stories and success stories to gain wisdom.
4. Logo- Design and perfect the perfect logo. It all begins here. Put it on everything important.
5. Take Yourself Seriously – Your work reflects your brand. Take yourself seriously and put the time in to make your work look gorgeous. People, especially women, admire pretty things!
6. Construct Your Brand – Name yourself an LLC (or C, S, etc.. whatever you may be). People will take your business far more seriously if you are legally a business! Make sure to trademark and protect all of your work.
7. Plan- We aren’t avid believers in “formal business plans” and that sort of thing, but we are believers in having a plan of action. If your next goal, for example, is to start a Kickstarter campaign, don’t “wing” it. Put time and effort into making it successful.
8. Don’t Forget Social Media – It’s the backbone and strength of every company. Don’t disregard it! We have gained over 120,000+ social media followers in a little over 3 years & 99% of our sales come from those networks. It’s pretty amazing.
7. What’s next for you ladies?
Adrienne: We will be launching our Kickstarter campaign very soon for the Rock it like a Redhead 2015 Beauty Tour. You can find out more information on www.RockitlikeaRedhead.com and our social media channels.
Stephanie: We will also be growing our website and gaining more followers. It has always been a goal of ours to start writing books about how we launched this ‘ redhead beauty empire’ (we have some great, hilarious stories), a mobile application and teaming up with more ‘redhead friendly’ companies; by 2015-2016, we want to be able to showcase our ‘Redhead Friendly’ approved (www.howtobearedhead.com/redhead-friendly ) logo on products. That way, redheads can walk into a pharmacy/department store and find products that were tested by us for them. As redheads, we had so much trouble finding beauty products, and spent way too much money in the process. We want to redheads to have it ‘easy’ when they purchase beauty products, thanks to the work of How to be a Redhead.