Bronde. Salted Carmel. Hot Sauce.
These may sound like flavors that you would order at a funky ice cream shop but guess again. They are actually the unique names used to denote the diverse range of colors that you can order a pack of crochet locks in online (and that your local beauty supply store typically won’t provide). These colors are the brainchild of Lulu Pierre, a full-time beauty entrepreneur based in London, who founded Boho Locs, a crochet locks company that offers a range of high-quality, stylish and affordable loc extensions for women of color. The Trinidadian beauty has been in business for two years but has already made a name for herself on the internet. With her trendy “mermaid” and “goddess” locs selling out like hot cakes every few weeks, Lulu’s global customer base seems like it’s tripling overnight.
But what makes Lulu’s product so unique and cult-like? Why has her black-owned company amassed hundreds of reviews and several dollars in revenue without having to drop loads of money on advertising? In this interview with BAUCE, Lulu shares how a personal hair crisis gave her the idea for her company and how one very specific digital marketing channel helped her blow up overnight.
Lulu, can you tell us how long have you been in business and how you started your company?
Lulu: Well, I started Boho Locs in late 2016. So this year will be two years. I initially started it as a service business, so I was doing crochet locs on people in my home in London. And I developed like a signature style for the locs. I got so busy on the locks that I wanted a way to do it faster so I could see more people and crochet locs came up. I found some different crochet locs that I could have retailed, but I didn’t really like any of them so what I decided to do was develop my own crochet loc which meant I would hand customize the loc before application so it had a unique look. What then happened was I started to wear them on myself and put them on my Instagram page. I put them up for sale and every time since then they pretty much sold out. So I kind of just started developing into more colors and we started selling them in stock. So I’ve got a small team who manufacture them for me and now we are expanding. We’re going to develop different types of locs, different colors, different lengths and lots of different products.
What were you doing before you started Boho Locs?
Lulu: I’ve been an entrepreneur for over ten years and in that time I have had a hair salon, and I have had a number one bestselling book which was called Natural Hair Care for Girls. I was working on the book project and had developed an online course while the book was on sale on Amazon. And I was really promoting that.
And then…drumroll, please…
Lulu: Well, basically what happened was I actually damaged my natural hair [laughs]. I was wearing my natural hair in afros at first. Great. I was doing twist outs which were fantastic. And then I did a Brazilian blow dry treatment which is something that is supposed to sort of make your hair more versatile so you can blow dry it and it can be straight quite easily and stay straight. And then if you put like curl creme in [your hair] gets curly and your curls pop. It was fantastic the first time I did it, but I actually did it twice and the second time I did it [the treatment] ended up breaking my hair really badly. I knew I couldn’t wear my twist out anymore and I didn’t really know what to do.
My mum’s got dreadlocks and both of my sisters do. So, I thought that faux locs would be a good interim style as I grew out the damage — that’s what I initially thought. But basically I started wearing the locs and I fell in love and Boho Locs was born out of that.
How did you first introduce the world to your product? What did you do to get so many loyal customers?
Lulu: Instagram. The first time people saw the crochet locs online was when I just had them in and I was taking some selfies on my phone. I just looked and felt really great in them. So I started posing and dancing and I don’t know it just came out and then I kind of just posted it for a bit of a joke really. I just thought let me just post this and it resonated with people. So that’s how the world was first introduced to Boho Locs.
What is the most challenging part of running your business?
Lulu: I definitely think building a team is quite challenging — relinquishing tasks is also hard because I’ve been doing everything for myself for so long. I’ve taken somebody on now. Training her and letting go of some areas of things I just can’t do anymore because I just don’t have the time has been challenging, but I’ve been really blessed that I found the perfect person for my business and we’re looking for a second person now. But yeah that has definitely been the most challenging thing.
Alright, Lulu. Give us the scoop. What’s the best marketing strategy that you have used to date and why?
Lulu: The best marketing strategy I’ve used would be email marketing — so that would be lead generation, building an email list and then sending an offer to them. The reason is that email marketing has a higher conversion rate and total return on investment than social media so for me, it is better than Instagram and Facebook. I mean if you’re thinking of paid ads on Facebook that is completely different but if you’re just talking about general social media posts, you’re going to get along better if you have email marketing. It really helps you connect with your buyers and you can really explain your product. I would highly recommend e-mail marketing for all businesses really.
What do you enjoy most about running your business?
Lulu: I love it. It’s challenging but I feel like I am going to be able to release my full potential in my life. And that is something that makes me feel good and excited and energized to take on the challenges that are going to come up every day. Knowing that I’m building something for myself, for future generations hopefully. Something that can become global motivates me every day to do it. And I actually love the product. I’m addicted to Boho Locs and a lot my customers are addicted to it.
Did you ever see yourself as a beauty entrepreneur growing up? Do you have plans to expand Boho Locs?
Lulu: Yes. I’ve been an entrepreneur for about 12 years now. And I come from a family where it’s pretty normal to be an entrepreneur. So I was never like, “Oh, I’m going to leave my job to start something.” I just went out on my own in my early 20s and I’ve never really looked back. So, yeah, I think I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur.
We have huge plans for Boho Locs. It is going to include more lines, different products, and different programs for people to get involved if they want to collaborate with us and resell our products. We’re not going to go anywhere anytime soon.
The hair industry is so crowded but you have found a super unique product to set you apart. What is your advice to anyone else who’s interested in getting into the hair industry?
Lulu: I think you have to have your own twist on something. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel because I don’t think there’s any scope for that really, but you can make your own take on the wheels and you can create something that’s unique and that stands out for you. Maybe it’s colors that you like, textures that you like, lengths that you like. There’s always going to be a hair extensions industry and there’s always going to be similar products — but I think it’s good if you kind of develop something that’s like a bit unique to you.