Meet The Sisters Who Turned Their Side Hustle into a Successful Hair Extension Brand
Hana Johansen – Gee Hair Co-Founder
Hana and Cindy Johansen always had an entrepreneurial spirit growing up, and whilst at University, they decided to put it to good use and start their very own hair extension company now known as Gee Hair.
Today we caught up with Hana to see how the brand is doing today almost 8 years down the line, and what they’ve learned since starting up their own business.
Over to you, Hana.
When did you start your business?
We actually started Gee Hair as a side hustle when I was at university back in 2013. At that point we had no idea that it’d take off like it has and that it’d end up being our full time careers!
What’s it like running a business with your sister?
We definitely have our moments but we make a great team. Cindy focuses on how the business is run, whereas I focus on how it looks, but then we also cross over at times too. We’ve both done or tried to do everything in the business at one stage over the previous 7 and a half years so we’ve learnt to stick to what we’re good at and that’s how our roles have come about. We both know what we’re good at and what we enjoy doing in the business, which really does help keep morale high on a day-to-day basis.
What’s different about Gee Hair compared with other hair extension brands?
We innovate! The vast majority of our products are patented as new innovative products that really do speak for themselves. I hate to toot our own horn but the quality really is on another level. We also have some products that are pending patents, such as the seamless one piece hair extension and the Gee Hair hair extension hanger.
We were the first ever hair extension brand to introduce the seamless clip-in hair extensions, which many other brands have now followed suit to offer too. Our hair extensions are specially designed with the user in mind, allowing them to solve problems such as shedding as all of our hair extensions are completely shed-free. We’re always striving to offer the most comfortable, flattest fitting seamless hair extensions of the highest quality at unbeatable prices.
Quality and quality control are also really important to us. We’re the only hair extension brand to offer a 1-year risk-free warranty with all clip-in hair extensions and all of our hair extensions go through 4 different quality control checks before being shipped out to the customer.
We focus on colours, and work hard to get the most natural blends possible. Cindy is a total perfectionist when it comes to the colours, and her work really shows as we get so many compliments on how natural-looking they all are.
What effects did Covid have on your business?
The biggest effect was not having stock for months! This made things so difficult for us, but we did everything we could in that time to ensure that we were in the best possible position in terms of marketing and strategy for when we were able to get stock again.
Also, some of our product ranges include items that have to be applied by professionals, so with salons being closed, they can’t currently be applied, so sales have definitely been affected on that front.
How have you adapted?
We made some supply changes and started to focus primarily on products that can be used at home and on how you can transform your hair yourself to get that salon-fresh look without a hairdresser. With salons being closed, everyone is craving that feeling you get when you leave the salon and you can definitely achieve that with natural clip-in hair extensions.
We also developed in-store packaging, and now offer wholesale/trade accounts to countries that are back up and running. The pandemic has definitely pushed us to think more about how we can position our products to consumers outside of the UK, for sure.
What do you love most about running your business?
I love to create and work on new products, that’s my absolute favourite. I would do that all day everyday if I could! New products and new colours for sure – samples just excite me for some reason.
Another thing I love about running Gee Hair is the customers! Our customer service is definitely something that makes us unique. We aim to offer the best possible customer experience that’s also really personal, as we genuinely care about helping people to get where they want to be. For us, it’s more than just hair. We see our customers as friends and social media allows us to have that personal connection with them through images and direct messages.
When we get a message from a customer, we can see what they’ve purchased the last few times, what they thought of it, images of them wearing the hair extensions, what’s their favourite product/go-to colour is etc. We love hearing peoples’ thoughts and our customers have really shaped the products you see today.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with an aspiring entrepreneur?
It all starts with an idea right? So whatever that service or product is that you want to offer, make sure it’s an exceptional one, that it blows your competition out of the water and that it’s been thoroughly tested and perfected, even down to each stage of the manufacturing process for example. Once you have that exceptional product/service, then you can figure the rest out as you go.
As well, you have to be passionate about what you do. Gee Hair has only got this far because of how much we enjoy it and care about it! If it’s something you love, this will give you the motivation you need to get out of bed every morning and work hard to make it the best it can be.
Passion is definitely so important when it comes to running your own business, and Hana and Cindy have definitely proved over the last 8 years. It’ll be exciting to see how the business grows and changes again over the next few months once things start getting back to normal!
If you want to take a nosey at the types of products they offer and marketing they do, or want to get yourself a fresh set of locks, check out the Gee Hair website here.