Jess Gerring and Sophie Zalkausas, along with their business partner Jade Thomson, developed all-natural haircare brand Hello Hair after the struggle to find blonde hair treatments on the market that weren’t packed full of artificial ingredients, nasty chemicals and harsh emulsifiers. The duo joined us on the B With Us Live couch. Get to know the girls and catch the livestream via our Facebook link below.
WHAT ROLE HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED IN YOUR SUCCESS?
“It has played a massive and integral role in ensuring the success and longevity of Hello Hair! The launch of our business essentially took place on Instagram and Facebook, with Instagram always being our core marketing tool. When we launched Hello Hair in December 2013, there were very few businesses using the platform as their prime focus, which was definitely an advantage for us. It was the perfect time to launch because Instagram had just started to peak and it wasn’t as cluttered as it is today. Without even planning to, we were able to reach people in countries we had never dreamt of. It was an extremely cost effective way to reach our target audience and grow our online community through gorgeous imagery that our customers could resonate with.”
WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS BACKGROUND?
“None of us came from a hairdressing or product development background at all! Which goes to show that so long as you have an amazing idea and passion for what you’re doing, you can make your dream a reality. I (Jess) came from a PR, and marketing background. Sophie is an Osteopath and Jade was a personal assistant.”
ARE YOU FULL TIME AT HELLO HAIR?
“Yes, Jade and myself work in the business full time. Sophie splits her time between Hello Hair and her Osteopathy business.”
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED TO RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
“Not at all! Five years ago if you told me that I would be running my own online haircare business, I definitely wouldn’t have believed you. It has been the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life, but also the most rewarding. The knowledge and experience that I have gained from being on this journey is paramount.”
HOW WOULD PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED WITH YOU DESCRIBE YOU?
“I was always the girl in high school and uni who had more than one job at a time. I would like to think that people would see me as having a great work ethic as well as being passionate about my work. Every job I’ve had, I really try to immerse myself in.”
WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
“I’ve been really independent from a young age and have been taught to get out there and get things for yourself, instead of relying on others to get them for you. I am proud that I can look back and say that I have achieved a lot on my own.
I am proud of us at Hello Hair for taking a massive chance on creating this business in the first place. We launched Hello Hair in 3 months without a formal business plan, no prior experience in the industry and no idea around how it would go! Our hard work and persistence certainly paid off.”
WHAT WOMEN DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
“We have been fortunate to attend many ‘women in business’ conferences and seminars hosted by organisations like Business Chicks and The League Of Extraordinary Women.
I highly encourage any women in business to attend events like these, if only to reignite their motivation! I have listened to some wonderful women share their stories about juggling business with motherhood and family, and they all manage to make it happen.
I also admire all of the amazing women in my life who are doing the same thing, all of my friends are such go-getters and hard workers who are passionate about what they do.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP MOTIVATED?
“It has definitely been hard to stay motivated at times, I have had many sleepless nights worrying about the business. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day ‘stuff’. Sometimes I have to remind myself why we started the business in the first place and how hard we have worked to get to this point. It helps to take a step back and look at how far you’ve come and set future goals so that you’re always working towards something.”
TOP 5 TIPS FOR SOMEONE WANTING TO START AN ONLINE BUSINESS…
- Believe in your business and the product or service that you’re offering! Authenticity will always shine through in everything that you do.
- Ensure that your product or service has a point of difference. What will make consumers choose you over something or someone else?
- Be prepared to work hard and often! Owning your own business is certainly no walk in the park and there’s no such thing as ‘9 to 5’.
- Build strong and long lasting relationships with all of your stakeholders. It is so important to have a great rapport with your customers and suppliers.
- Make sure to take time out for yourself. It is easy to become consumed by the business and you need to make time to step away and do things for YOU.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
“Credit Cards are the enemy! Love is blind (also don’t waste your time crying over boys).
And that, everything you are learning is preparing you for something else…
I wished that I believed in myself more and trusted that I was on the right path.”
WHAT ARE YOU KEEN TO GET OUT OF BEING INVOLVED IN OUR B WITH US LIVE SERIES?
“We love partnering with likeminded businesses who share the same values and ethos as we do! Cotton On Body is a brand that all three of us love (we have a slight ‘athleisure’ obsession), so when the opportunity came up for us to collaborate we jumped at the chance. We hope that your customers and readers can take something away from our story.”
Click here to watch the Livestream B With Us Live Q&A.
Jess & Sophie wear our Transparent Lightweight Jacket & Active Tights.