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Home » Watch How This New Mom Turned $1.5K into a $100 Million Hair Extensions Business

Watch How This New Mom Turned $1.5K into a $100 Million Hair Extensions Business

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In 2012, I took $1,500 and started a side hustle.

By 2022, I grossed over

a hundred million dollars in revenue.

and this is how I did it.

[energetic music]

I’m Alexandra Cristin,

the owner of Glam Seamless hair extensions.

We’re known for our clip-ins, our tape-ins,

and our weft hair extensions,

but what we really sell is transformation.

In 2012, I went to a hair salon

and there was someone next to me

getting these brand new extensions called tape extensions

and I had no idea what they were.

I asked the hairstylist, how much are those extensions?

And she told me they were a thousand dollars.

As being a recent college graduate,

there was no way that I could afford them.

So I went home and I was like, you know what?

Of course we can buy this online for cheaper.

I go online,

and to my surprise, there were no tape extensions online.

That is how my company Glam Seamless was born.

I decided to go and create my own company

for this product that I just thought

was too expensive at the salon.

My first investment was from me,

saved up from my side hustles

and I ended up using $1500 for three specific things.

First was to get $500 a product off of Alibaba.

The second was to start a Shopify store

and the third was to use a little bit of money

for marketing and graphic design

to put up some web banners and some social media ads.

When I first started out,

I went through 25 different vendors on Alibaba.

It was such a tedious process

seeing who had the best quality,

who was reliable,

who was actually gonna deliver on what they said.

Obviously, today I’m no longer sourcing off of Alibaba.

I’ve found really good suppliers.

The bigger my business got,

people started hearing about the brand

and actually suppliers would come to us.

Also, you could find suppliers at trade shows

and a lot of international suppliers

will come and fly in from different countries.

I know a lot of international suppliers

really, really appreciate the face-to-face,

so if you can get to a wholesale trade show,

this is gonna be one of your best bets

when it comes to finding vendors.

The ROI with the $1500 that I spent on my business,

I started to see that back within six months.

Pretty quickly, we were doing

a couple thousand dollars in sales each month,

and what I would do with all of that revenue

is I kept investing it back into the business.

I never quit my side hustle.

I was still working as a nanny.

I was still working as a plus size model

for up to two years.

I did everything myself.

I did what they call guerilla marketing,

and this is basically a really low cost marketing tactic.

I started doing blogs.

These were free.

I’ve had all the time in the world to just sit there

and blog about different types of hair problems.

Now, this blogging really helped me

with something very important called SEO.

This is what you need to grow an e-commerce store

for basically nothing.

I didn’t know it at the time,

but all of that blogging

was helping me gain traffic to my website.

My second big money move was taking out

a high interest loan.

After a year and a half of running the business,

the sales were just rolling through

and what no one really tells you about business

is that growth eats cash.

What does that mean?

The more money you’re making,

the faster the orders are coming in,

the more money you’re going to need to grow the business,

especially if you’re a product based business.

This loan was for $25,000.

It was 18%, which is outrageous.

I took that risk because I knew that

I needed this money to purchase my inventory.

When I first started my business,

the whole goal for me

was that I could stop doing these side hustles

and just work on one main thing.

But after two years,

we started doing 20,000, $30,000 a month

and I’m like, this is insane.

I’m working from home, I’m generating $30,000 a month,

it’s just insane.

It’s just me from my two bedroom apartment,

next I’m like, what else can we do?

My goal was, I wanna hit a million dollars in revenue.

And so I said, how much is a million dollars?

A million dollars in revenue is $83,000.

I would write this number down in a notebook

every single day

and then eventually over the next 12 to 18 months

I started seeing the sales skyrocket.

It went from 30000, 500000, 60,

next you know, within two and a half years,

we were at a million dollars a year

and this was when I finally started to scale my business

and finally hire a team.

My next big money move

was I took out a hundred thousand dollar loan

and I used it for four different things.

One of my favorite lines is scare money, don’t make money.

And it’s so true.

When it comes to business

or anything in life, really, you’ve gotta pay to play.

So before I decided to take out

the hundred thousand dollar loan

I already had an idea of how I wanted to use the funds.

I wanted to be very meticulous, very diligent

of where the money was gonna go

because if I didn’t have a plan before I took out the loan,

I felt like I was just gonna blow it

and that was something I was not willing to risk.

The first way I used the business loan

was to actually hire a night nurse.

In 2016, I had a baby.

I was running my business from home.

Our revenue was 2.5 million dollars a year

and I was the one running all of this.

I had to make sure that I was gonna be able to work.

So I used that loan to hire a night nurse.

This gave me the ability to sleep, to work longer,

and really helped me propel the business forward

in one of our most crucial times.

Looking back, I felt like I was either being

a really good business woman,

or a really good mother,

but rarely both at the same time.

As women, we have to not be afraid to invest in ourselves

so that we can financially protect

and take care of our families.

I grew up really poor

and I watched my mother work two and three jobs.

My father was never around.

I’ve seen this woman just do whatever it took

to make sure that I was good, that I had opportunities.

For me, when I had this business and I had my baby

at the same time,

I promised myself that I would do whatever it took

to make sure that my business was successful.

I think women, we have a lot of guilt around,

Maybe I shouldn’t take out a hundred thousand dollar loan

and risk this for my family,

or Maybe I definitely shouldn’t get a night nurse.

I should be the one there every single night

and so you grapple with that.

Where should I invest my time, my energy.

At the end of the day,

if you can take care of your child in the future,

for me, that was the reward.

The second way I used the money

was to create a better website.

Of course, it’s an e-commerce store

so we had to have the best of the best.

The third way that I used the money

was to do photo shoots and videos.

Of course, when I was first growing the business

I was using free stock images and those worked for a while.

But when you start to build a brand,

you’ve got to have an identity

and unfortunately you’re not gonna find that

on stock images.

That’s what we invested in,

really creating the brand.

The imagery, videography, what is the story we’re telling?

What are we really selling here?

And when we did that, people really started to see

what Glam Seamless was all about.

The fourth thing we invested in with this business loan

was advertising.

Now, this was very scary.

Again, it had been three years.

We were already making over a million dollars a year

without any advertising.

We were basically generating all that revenue

from blogs, SEO,

but it was time for us to scale up,

so we decided to invest money in advertising

and it really, really, really helped the business.

We took out the hundred thousand dollar loan

and within the next year,

we doubled our sales from 2.5 million to 5 million dollars.

My next big money move was taking out

a $500,000 personal loan from one of my mentors.

The first thing that we did was get more inventory

and finally move this business

from my two bedroom apartment into an office.

Then, we decided to take $150,000 and pay a spokesperson.

Now, our budget that year was only $75,000

for paid spokespeople,

but we decided this was a celebrity hair artist

who was hopefully going

to take our business to the next level.

And for us, it was one of the biggest investments

we’ve ever made.

I didn’t even have any employees

that were making $150,000 a year at this point.

And it was risky because at the end of the day,

we didn’t know how this was going to perform.

Was he going to help us get our word out there?

Was he going to create content?

Would the press

and the celebrities actually use the product.

Luckily, it worked out.

We were able to get a lot of press

and go on many different shows

and actually have celebrities wear our product.

So now the celebrities are being tagged in our product

which obviously gave us social proof and credibility.

So obviously taking a half a million dollar loan

is such a huge risk

and when it comes to business

you have to take calculated risks.

For me, how I do that is I envision the worst case scenario.

Now, I grew up poor

so I literally come from nothing.

I know what it’s like to build from the bottom.

For me, I wasn’t afraid of what was gonna happen

because I already knew what it was like to have nothing.

I’ve seen my mom take plenty of risks growing up

and I’ve seen her work really hard.

For me, it was all about,

what is the worst that could really happen.

And when you envision the worst that you can happen,

one, it’s gonna motivate you to work harder

and make sure that doesn’t happen,

and two, worst case scenario that it does happen,

you know exactly what it is you’re up against

and what is there really to be scared of.

All of these money moves

resulted in a business that was doing more than

10 million dollars in revenue per year

in less than five years

from the day I started the company.

My number one money tip is to invest in yourself.

You are the best investment

so you should always bet on yourself

and take risks to get you

into the position where you want to be.

Thank you so much for tuning in,

I’m Alexandra Cristin, the self-made boss babe.

Thank you so much to Glamour and everyone,

let’s go get that money.

[upbeat music]

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