Beauty Connect LA has always been at the forefront of celebrating innovation within the beauty industry, and this year’s Indie Brand Spotlight Award has brought another trailblazer into the limelight. Locks & Mane, a brand that has redefined the hair extension market with its commitment to quality and accessibility, has been honored as the winner of the 2023 Indie Brand Spotlight Award.
In an exclusive interview, we delve into the journey of Locks & Mane with its visionary CEO and Founder, Jennifer Parrott, whose personal experiences and business acumen have shaped the company into a leading name in the beauty sector. Join us as we uncover the story behind Locks & Mane’s success and Jennifer Parrott’s inspiring story that has led the brand to Beauty Connect LA prestigious accolade.
1. Jennifer, can you tell us about the journey that led to the founding of Locks & Mane?
Sure, I’d love to! It really came from a place of trying to solve my own problem – I’ve struggled with having fine, thin hair my whole life and when I discovered extensions and the confidence they unlocked it was life-changing for me! I had put together a business plan to build the ‘DryBar of Extensions’ and days before I planned to quit my job I found out I was pregnant…not really the best time to start a new business! I kept working at my Sales & Marketing job and then when I was nearing the end of my maternity leave I decided to take the leap of faith and start L&M and I’m so grateful I did.
2. As the founder & CEO of Locks & Mane, what was your personal experience with hair extensions that inspired you to start this company?
I have been wearing hair extensions for almost 2 ½ decades (not to date myself!) and I was always frustrated with the lack of options that were natural looking, easy-to-use, non-damaging & didn’t cost a fortune! So I decided to do something about it.
3. You’ve mentioned that Locks & Mane was the first company to create a two-piece clip-in set. Can you explain the unique design of your extensions and how it benefits the users?
Of course! When you look at the hair extension market, you’ll see most clip-ins come in 8-10 pieces, which can be challenging to know where to place the various pieces. Our aim was really to make these accessible to all women, including those who had little-to-no prior experience. We found that a two-piece set is a lot less intimidating to someone who hasn’t used them before. We wanted to make a product that was quick and easy to use – our motto is “50 seconds to fabulous!”
I also want to mention the unique design of our clips, as we are the only company where the clips look like they are upside-down (this is intentional!). We find that when you are pushing the clips up into your hair, rather than pulling them down, there’s a more secure hold (with no need to backcomb!) and it’s much gentler on your natural hair. There is a bit of a learning curve with our clips but once our customer is comfortable with our ‘shimmy, scoop & snap’ technique they can’t imagine ever using downward facing clips again!
4. Who would you say is the target customer for Locks & Mane?
This is such an interesting question and although they say (still not quite sure who “they” are!) you should have a very specific customer that you’re speaking to, our target customers happen to be all women looking for longer and/or thicker hair! We have customers in their teens looking for extra length and then customers in their 70’s that only want added volume. What’s really nice is that nearly 70% of our customers are brand new to extensions which makes us.
5. Can you tell us more about your classic 18-inch extensions and why they are so popular among your customers?
Our clip-ins are made from beautiful natural hair and come in 10 multi-dimensional shades that match nearly all hair colors! They can also be cut, heat-styled & dyed to suit any color/style! Our 18” clip-ins are 140 grams of hair and are thick from root to tip which helps with a seamless blend.
6. When you were named the Indie Beauty Spotlight Winner for 2023, you looked visibly surprised. What does it mean to you to be recognized as the winner of this category?
Haha, I was actually quite surprised – I typically never win anything so I really wasn’t expecting my name to be called! Not to mention the competition was steep, the other founders who presented were absolutely amazing and all have built such incredible companies.
I’ve been growing this business for almost 10 years now, and there have been more ups and downs to mention so to get this kind of recognition from some of the most inspiring and successful people in the industry was incredibly validating and really meant the world to me.
7. Lastly, as a successful entrepreneur, what advice would you give to others who are looking to start their own business?
My advice is don’t be afraid to start small and to make mistakes, it’s the best way to learn and grow. When you hear the word ‘no’ (and you will hear this word a lot), know that it just means ‘not right now’. Keep going, persistence is everything! Lastly, be authentic and build genuine relationships and the rest will fall into place!