Carolyn Aronson, the founder of ‘It’s a 10’ haircare, candidly shares her experience of being CEO as a Hispanic woman in America, her charitably work and advice on all things hair and beauty.
What inspired you to create ‘It’s a 10’? And what makes the brand different from any other?
My inspiration in creating It’s a 10 was to fulfil some of the frustrations I had behind the chair. I stood behind the chair for 20 years, I was a salon owner and a lot of times I would cherry-pick the haircare lines I used and sold as it was really hard to find a line where all the products were excellent. So I started a mission to create a haircare line where every product was a 10.
Amazing! Can you share your experience, as a Hispanic woman, rising to CEO in America, of one of the largest female-owned independent brands in the world, which was primarily considered a male-dominated industry?
Absolutely as a woman in a male-dominated industry, I was a minority. The challenges I had to overcome were mainly in the business world and proving that I was not going to allow myself to be labelled as just a hairdresser or just a woman. Working hard to surround myself with brilliant people and learning from them was really how I overcame most of my challenges.
Were there any major setbacks when creating and developing your business?
My first company failed, which was a major set-back and figuring out how I was going to start over and try again. So I had to learn from my mistakes and having to start a company with little to no money. The first company I started had quite a bit of funding (self-funding) which helped, but by losing everything I had to be very creative and start again and I started the company with just one bottle, which is by miracle leave-in product and we built from that product over the years.
You made history in 2017 of being the first indie owned (as well as female-owned company) haircare brand to run a national Super Bowl commercial, where you celebrated the diversity of your nation among your feature, how did that achievement make you feel?
It was one of those pinch-me moments! I had recently bought my partner out, which was quite an inspirational story in itself. I had always been the creator of the products, but my role was behind the curtains. Once I bought my partner out, I decided to come out with a bang and bring the brand to a national and worldwide level.
It was the first hairdressing brand to ever to a Super Bowl commercial and the mantra behind my brand is that it’s a haircare brand for all hair types. America is extremely diversified and it’s becoming more so all the time and I think it’s important to unite people and unity cultures; I think beauty is a great way to do it! So that was the concept behind my commercial, it was shot in black and white but it was about every type of hair and skin colour. It expressed a lot of different messages on different levels and we reached over 150 million people, which made a ripple effect in my industry. It showed my industry that It’s a 10 is here to stay. We are a 15 year-old-brand and by this time people mostly sell-out to the “big guys”, but instead I bought my partner out and I started over. For a woman to be doing that is very rare.
What is your advice to others on how to succeed in launching their own independent hair or beauty brand?
My advice would be to bring something new to the industry that has a uniqueness about it, and that you have a structured business plan from the beginning, as I never expected to blow up like this so quickly, so I would advise you have your business buttoned-up.
It is known that you prioritise in giving back to communities that have supported ‘It’s A 10’, such as Right Action for Women, Red Cross America, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Society, what advocacy programs are you supporting this year?
I’m a strong believer in business with a purpose, I have said that mantra since I started this company. As you mentioned right action for women, that is something I created an entire pink collection, called the Whip Collection, which was about whipping cancer and I partnered with Christina Applegate to donate to her brand.
I also believe in supporting different types of causes. This year we partnered with the world-renowned artist Bruno, to create the special edition Bruno bottle, that is giving back to Best Buddies, a foundation that supports adults and children with special needs. I’m so happy to support this 30-year-old foundation.
What are your top tips for styling and to achieve healthy hair? (oily, dry & damaged, combination etc.)
It is really important to use healthy products to protect your hair! You need to make sure that it is well-conditioned as healthy hair brings back its natural elasticity and bounce.
It’s a 10 has 7 different leave-ins and we’ve adapted each one for different types of hair. They are all colour-coded and really easy to understand and use. For ethnic hair, I would suggest using the collection with the most oils. I always say we are a colourful brand that sees no colour, all of the products are suitable for everyone. There is just not one hair type anymore, we’re adjusting with the times!
What do you believe are the new upcoming hair trends for 2020?
I love the direction it’s going, which is the natural look, where everyone is embracing their uniqueness. But also the structured looks, with very soft waves is a beautiful look. Finally, colour, I love all the adventurous colours everyone is using. I always say if you can’t change your life, change your hair!
Where will buyers be able to purchase your products in the UK?
So we’re selling with a professional distributor who has sold over 40,000 bottles so far, but we’re recently starting with Amazon’s professional sector, where the products are sourced directly from the company. We will have our own It’s a 10 page on amazon, and hopefully more UK beauty retailers in the future.
For more information visit www.itsa10haircare.com