After a horrible experience at a hair salon, Lana Boone left her career in journalism and launched Kurly Klips, a natural hair clip-in line, and in just 13 months carved out a new category within the hair extension industry and acquired a global consumer base.
Name: Lana Boone
Location: Atlanta, GA
Profession: Owner of Kurly Klips–natural hair clip-in extensions
How did you get started?
I decided to buy clip-in extensions after a horrible experience with a hair stylist. When googling “natural hair clip-ins” yielded zero results, I could not believe my eyes. Recognizing the potential demand, I got to work. Within three months, Kurly Klips was open for business.
Three keys to success:
1) Business Plan – A business plan forces you to consider all aspects of your business. Although it’s not the sexiest thing to spend time on, it yields fantastic results. Within my first six months in business, my online store had shipped hair to more than 20 countries. My execution would not have been that effective without a business plan.
2) Goal Setting – From day one, I established weekly sales goals. In the early days, my goal was to sell one set of Kurly Klips a week. I passed out fliers and set up booths at church events; I did everything in my power to meet that goal. One set a week soon became three sets a week, which soon became five sets a day, etc. Now I give myself monthly targets to hit.
3) Vision – I envision a world where afro-hair stigmas don’t exist. For that to happen, we need to normalize natural hair in society.
Kurly Klips help women have fun with their hair texture! It was never my dream to sell hair online. Having a larger mission helps me stay motivated to provide the highest quality work, day in and day out.
What industry were you working in before KK and how were you able to leverage your skill set when starting KK?
Before starting Kurly Klips, I worked in network news, which was an incredible experience. I wore many hats and even got to travel with President Obama in the press corp.
Working in news taught me how to research, think on my feet, and roll with the punches. I grew such thick skin and acquired an incredible attention to detail. These qualities are integral to entrepreneurship and eased my professional transition.
Natural hair will become mainstream and the stigma will disappear.
There are several hair extension companies out there, one of the ways you’ve distinguished Kurly Klips is through it’s branding. How did you approach defining the brand?
Good branding tells a story through imaging and language. This story should mimic a company’s ideal customer.
My ideal customer has an inner light that differentiates her from the crowd. She’s quirky, polished, and knows what she wants. She’s not afraid to be unique and she takes pride in defining her own beauty.
I am my ideal customer and I use branding to attract likeminded women. It’s worked out remarkably well! My Kurlies are a pleasure to serve and I rarely deal with drama.
What’s an average day like?
I try to be at my computer with a cup of tea no later than 8am. I eat the frog – meaning, I tackle the project I dread first. Then, I finish tasks that need the most focus. This keeps me productive.
Once I finish those tasks, I answer emails, exercise, make lunch, and work on side projects. I end my day with education. This could be in the form of a book, podcast, webinar, etc.
I also go to dance class twice a week! And whenever my neighbor’s dog walker comes to take their cocker spaniel out, I always join them! We have a lot of fun and it’s good to get some fresh air.
Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:
I love getting positive feedback from people. When customers tell me how Kurly Klips improve their lives, my heart SOARS! I know it’s their victory, but it also feels like mine as well – just because it’s such an honor to serve in this way. I love when my products have positive, tangible impacts on people’s lives. For example one happy customer shared:
Kurly Klips has given me the confidence I need to wear my hair natural. And not just my hair but also my face. I rarely wear makeup nowadays and I’m proud to walk around with bare face and natural hair. …But I’m not dependent on Kurly Klips. Kurly Klips gave me the push that I needed to see myself as beautiful in my own natural skin and hair but now nothing can change my image of myself. If I take my Kurly Klips out, I’m still beautiful.
When I started Kurly Klips, I used to have a lot more downs. That’s because I would take EVERYTHING personally – from rejection, to theft, to complaints. Now that I’m some years in, I don’t see these things as personal attacks anymore. I delegate the appropriate focus and move on. I’m thankful for this improvement in my quality of life.
Your greatest achievement so far?
There were no natural clip-ins before I started Kurly Klips. On YouTube, my videos were pretty much the only ones. I created a need that forced an entire manufacturing industry to adapt. Today, I see other company’s billboards selling natural hair clip-ins. Not only that, but there are thousands of YouTube videos online.
On every continent (excluding Antartica), there’s a woman wearing Kurly Klips. There’s a woman who feels GORGEOUS flaunting her natural hair texture. I created a global phenomenon with just one idea. I mean, it’s not like I cured cancer, but damn… LOL. It’s still a pretty big achievement.
On every continent (excluding Antartica), there’s a woman wearing Kurly Klips. There’s a woman who feels GORGEOUS flaunting her natural hair texture.
The Black hair industry has changed significantly in a short period of time. Any thoughts on the future of Black hair?
When I first started Kurly Klips, people outside of the community would call natural hair a fad. They would ask what I would do once the fad was over. I believe the contrary. Natural hair will become mainstream and the stigma will disappear.
What might be next for you?
I’m working on a new business! Fingers crossed for a fall launch!
What is one thing an aspiring beauty entrepreneur can do today to get started?
BUSINESS PLAN. BUSINESS PLAN. BUSINESS PLAN.
Lana’s got loads more business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out her business journal, Lana Ink.
What are your top 5 go-to hair tips?
- Listen to your hair
- Get off YouTube
- Don’t take part in hair envy
- Do what makes you happy :)
Fun Fact: I was in a hip hop dance group in Egypt. There was a lot of Missy Elliott involved.