Smart, sassy and enterprising, Princess Woodard is well suited for the business opportunities in virgin hair, which has become the next big thing. A recent graduate of law school, she has already been a business owner for three years, focusing on importing virgin hair from abroad. With attention to detail and an eye for the bottom line, Woodard is poised for success as she shares her story of the hustle of hair.
Carlee McCullough: Tell me about yourself.
Princess Woodard: My name is Princess Woodard. I am a native Memphian and a recent graduate of the University of Memphis' School of Law. I have been a virgin hair retailer since 2011.
CM: What is the name of your business and how did you get into the weave business?
PW: The name of my company is Fierce Hair. For over ten years I have been a weave purchaser and wearer, repeatedly spending hundreds of dollars on "over the counter" processed weave. I have purchased virgin hair – 100 percent human hair from one living donor – for personal use since 2010.
I realized that the virgin hair was more durable, could be worn for 6 to 12 months, and more affordable than "over the counter" weave. After personally using virgin hair for over a year, I decided to become a retailer and provide a premium option for women like me who were tired of throwing away money on "over the counter" weave.
CM: How does your business model work?
PW: Through a website portal, I offer premium virgin hair for women that seek quality, exclusivity and affordability when purchasing weave.
CM: What product and services do you offer?
PW: I offer 100 percent human hair in a variety of ethnicities, textures, and lengths. I also make custom wigs with the virgin hair.
CM: What type of weave do you carry?
PW: I carry six ethnicities of virgin hair: Brazilian, Indian, Peruvian, Malaysian, Cambodian and Filipino. All hair is available in a variety of textures and lengths.
CM: How do you decide what type of hair to sell?
PW: Each ethnicity differs in density, luster and coarseness. I have personally used each ethnicity and believe that each ethnicity offers a different look. Having options allows a woman to achieve the unique look she desires.
CM: In your opinion what does it take to run a business?
PW: You must know your product, know your market and focus on providing great customer service.
CM: If you had one piece of advice to give to someone just starting a business, what would it be?
PW: Be knowledgeable about your business.
CM: How does a potential client book your services or purchase products?
CM: What challenges have you experienced along the way?
PW: Virgin hair comes in a wide range of pricing and quality. It can occasionally be difficult getting clients to understand that superior quality will not be as cheap as some options, but it will be a better investment because it will last longer.
CM: How did you go about building your client base?
PW: I am a walking advertisement. I take pride in my hair. People see my hair and often inquire. I started with friends and family. I now promote on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
CM: What business development strategies worked best?
PW: I only do custom orders. I do not keep hair in bulk. Custom orders allow clients to get exactly what they are looking for and only takes 3-4 business days to arrive from overseas. As a small business, doing custom orders allows me to reduce my overhead because money does not go out until it comes in.
CM: What emerging trends do you see affecting you industry in the next five years?
PW: Weave is big business. Virgin hair has enabled individuals like myself to enter the hair industry and allows women of color to shop with a woman of color in an industry benefitting greatly from people of color while having few representations of people of color on the business side.
CM: Any closing remarks?
PW: Remember I have FIERCE hair at FABULOUS prices. This hair is not for the average girl...only a FIERCE female. Thank you for the opportunity to share my business.