Looking Good: From Small Business Concept to Multimillion-Dollar Minority Business Success

The Hairbrella Story

“When I saw a woman carrying her child over her head to protect her hair from the rain, I knew that I had hit on a problem that needed to be solved.”  That’s how Tracey Pickett, founder of Hairbrella, describes how to find a pain point.  “At first, I thought it was just me.  Every time I walked out of the salon after getting my hair styled, it would start to rain and ruin my hair.  It was demoralizing.” 

In just five years, Pickett has turned her frustration into a best-selling product on amazon.  In a recent fireside chat,  Rod Robinson, VP, Supplier Inclusion  at Coupa sat down with Tracey to learn how, in less than five years, she took her idea and turned it into multimillion-dollar success.

“If there is a problem and someone hasn’t come up with a fix for it, it is because it is tough to solve,” Tracey explained.  “I spent hours on the internet, searching for something to keep hair dry from the rain.  I found plastic bonnets, shower caps, and bucket hats. They were functional but hideous.  There was nothing stylish and modern for today’s fashion-conscious women.”

Building the prototype was a challenge for the highly-skilled attorney. “I knew how to develop ideas, write briefs, and negotiate contracts, but I couldn’t sew a seam.  I hired a friend, and we made and remade prototypes.”  Pickett points out that you don’t have to be an expert in everything to launch a successful product. “It’s critical that you do what you are good at and find people who share your passion and are good at the things you can’t do.”

After 60 prototypes and four focus groups, Pickett launched a Kickstarter campaign to sell some of her initial designs.  In addition to bringing in much-needed funds, Pickett collected priceless feedback from the 250 women who embraced her new product.   She used the insight to refine her product and her mission.  

In 2016, Pickett left her job as an attorney and, in 2017, launched her product on amazon. “I knew nothing about e-commerce, marketing, or logistics.  The folks at amazon were amazing.  They assigned a small business advisor to Hairbrella, and they helped us think through everything from pricing to how to get customers to write reviews.”

Pickett has built her business by listening to her customers.  At the beginning of the pandemic, her customers cried out for help.  Hairbrella’s mission is to “keep women polished, protected, and prepared, no matter the forecast.”  At the pandemic’s start, the forecast for front line workers called for protection, and Pickett and her team quickly pivoted.  In less than four weeks, they created the Hairbrella Pro Rain Hat and Face Shield.  She is incredibly proud that her company has been able to help and protect thousands of amazing front line workers at this critical time.   

In a recent article with Forbes, Pickett emphasizes, “The most important aspect of building a business is ensuring that an entrepreneur has developed the mindset and faith to manifest their wildest dreams.”  For her, that means having the flexibility and drive to move from $2,000 in sales a month to over $200,000.

Coupa recently hosted a fireside chat about the benefits of becoming a seller on the Amazon Marketplace and Coupa Open Buy, featuring Tracey Pickett. To learn more about Hairbrella and how amazon helped Pickett grow during the pandemic, listen to the Coupa interview.

We hope this story inspired you! If you have a success story you would like to share, write to us.