Last week I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Megan, the genius behind Hotline Hair Ties! Her revolutionary product is taking over boutiques across the country. Here is my interview with her!
How did you get started with Hotline Hair Ties? Tell me about your company.
Well, first off, hi! I’m Megan, the owner of Hotline Hair Ties. I have been a part of the boutique world for nearly five years now. I launched my online boutique in 2014, and have been working on that and watching it grow since! In 2016 we moved into our first storefront, but by mid 2017, I was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder that causes debilitating headaches. I had to get a lumbar puncture to release the pressure off my brain, which knocked me out for a few weeks as I recovered. I had had the dream of owning a storefront, and I wasn’t ready to give it up. I pushed through that Holiday season, but ultimately decided that I needed time to step back and move back to online only.
During all that time, I was still dealing with the effects of my condition, one of which being that I could no longer wear my hair in a messy bun or up at all. It seems small, but when you’re not able to do something anymore because of the pain it puts you in, you start to realize what small things you took for granted. That is when I came across coil hair ties. They were the small, thin ones that look more like the coil key rings. It was the first time I was able to wear my hair up without being in pain. I knew right then that I needed to take that idea and make it better and make it my own. After countless samples, revisions, name ideas, and branding, Hotline Hair Ties was born! We started with our original sets of hair ties, but now I designed and just released a Hotline Headband! It is the FIRST coil headband to come to market, and I am just so excited to premiere it! It does all the great things the hair ties do, but as a headband that can hold back all your hair or just add a little flare to your style. I have so many more styles I am working on right now, and I can’t wait to launch them!
What makes Hotline Hair Ties so revolutionary?
Hair ties NEEDED a revolution! I’ve been doing some research into the history of hair ties, and they had been the same for far too long. From when they were just rubber bands, had they really evolved enough? Traditional hair ties get terribly tangled, put stress on hair, and don’t hold up. Hotline Hair Ties’ coil design works to keep your hair styled without creasing or tangling your hair, and it really works!
Which hurdles did you personally face when starting your business and how did you overcome them?
I’ll take this question back to when I first started with Paperback Boutique (now Shop Lovelea). I had just graduated with my MA in English, and was trying desperately to get a job. I wasn’t having any luck, and months were going by applying to tons of jobs without securing one. I knew I had to do something to make money, and I had been on Poshmark for a few years thrifting to resell, but it was time to move to that next level and open a boutique. I had never really seen a boutique before. I grew up in an area where we just went to the malls and department stores to shop—I had no idea that people like me could own a store. I started incredibly small. I was only getting new inventory in about once every 3 months. Everything I made was used to pay bills with just a little left over to reinvest. As hard as it was, I didn’t give up. I have been working on this dream for four years, and I am so glad to still be here with my business today! Now that I’ve launched Hotline Hair Ties, I think I have found my true calling. As much as I love my boutique, and still run it more so on the side, I get so much joy from Hotline and the relationships I have created with other boutique owners. Ultimately, I think my experiences as a boutique owner are what have helped me get the success I have had with Hotline. I know what boutique owners need, and I try to help them grow by not just selling them a product, but providing them with all the tools they need to sell it to their customers.
What are some of the most surprising lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Working with a factory and doing manufacturing is HARD work. I knew it would be difficult, but I didn’t realize all that would go into it. I’ve been running my boutique for years, so I am familiar with the boutique world; however, I don’t think I understood all the new challenges that come along with manufacturing.
What is your favorite part about what you do?
What I love more than anything is when someone comes to me and tells me how much they love Hotline Hair Ties. When a boutique owner tells me they are flying out her door because the customers can’t get enough, it brings me so much joy.
Is there anything that you believe everyone in this industry should be working towards?
Branding is everything. I think it’s important to create a brand around your boutique that speaks to your customer and invites them in. Your customers should be able to look at a photo without seeing your name attached to it and just know that it’s from your store. Creating a brand is definitely a lot of work and takes time to develop, but it is worth it in the long run and it’s what really makes your boutique grow and reach that next level.
What inspires you personally?
Seeing the success of the boutiques I work with drives me to grow and keep going. I love joining the VIP groups of the boutiques Hotline Hair Ties are sold in because nothing gives me more motivation than seeing their customers get excited about my products!
Do you have any mentors / people you look towards for inspiration?
Meredith Hedrick Jurica of Makeup Junkie Bags is such an inspiration to me. She has managed to build an amazing and successful brand while still being one of the nicest people I have ever met. I got to chat with her right before the official launch of Hotline Hair Ties, and I told her about my worries and struggles. She was sweet, understanding, and incredibly encouraging. She is one of those people who you can tell cares deeply about the people around her, and above all else, she doesn’t take anything she has for granted. She is constantly giving back and doing things for her retailers, other boutique owners, and her entire community. She is such an inspiration, and I love watching her story.
If you could give advice to those who are just starting, what would it be?
Keep your head up during the rough patches. It’s one of the things you know will happen when starting a business, but still, when it happens, you’re hit pretty hard. Being a business owner is a LOT of work, and sometimes it can feel like you’re bogged down and lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep pushing. Sometimes it helps to get away for a minute, a day, a week—whatever you need to reset and find your focus to keep growing. I know what always helps me is to surround myself with other women who are on this same journey. Finding communities of boutique owners that create a space where you can learn from each other, grow in your own businesses, and inspire each other to continue to build your empire. It’s easy to look at all the boutiques out there and feel weighed down by the competition, but when you switch your mindset to start seeing it as a community of business owners who understand all the struggles you are having and have probably been there before, you can find your place in that community to grow alongside all the other boutiques.
How can people find out more about your business?
Our website is www.hotlinehairties.com! You can also follow us on Facebook & Instagram @hotlinehairties. For boutique owners, we have a private Facebook group for our wholesale side of the business where we announce new products, provide marketing content, and keep you updated on what’s going on with Hotline Hair Ties!