VoyageLA caught up with Indique's Co-Founder & Creative Director, Ericka Dotson and got the inside scoop on her journey as an entrepreneur. Check out the article below:
Ericka, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was a hair extension stylist working in Austin, TX. I ran across this amazing premium, non-Remy human hair and thought it would be a great idea to sell it to my clients for convenience purposes. The idea came to mind after dealing with the issues related to ordering from a hair retailer in California. I was constantly dealing with cross-country hair shipments and lack of available hair extensions. Since customer service really is the No. 1 priority in the hair styling arena, I thought it would be more convenient for my clients, and me, if I had my own stock readily available for the hair extension installs.
My search for quality hair led me to Krishan Jhalani, my business partner. Krishan, originally based in India, wanted to retail premium hair in the states. We discovered that we had great synergy around how this hair should be marketed and retailed. Shortly thereafter, we decided to launch Indique at the Bronner Bros. Hair show in Atlanta, in 2007.
We became the first company to brand premium human hair extensions globally. At that time, the majority of the hair on the market was of synthetic grade. So, the first couple of years entailed educating women on our product, which was considered foreign to most. Here we are today, 9 years later, with an amazing brand and a multitude of happy clients.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It took a few years before Indique was profitable. Building a successful business required many hours of hard work and dedication. I also become a master juggler in the early years – learning to manage my salon appointments down to the minute, in order to squeeze in enough clients to pay the bills! I don’t recall getting much sleep in those days. And through it all, I was raising my daughter, as a single mom. She was always my first priority. No matter what, I had to ensure my daughter knew she had a full-time mother who was tuned-in to her, engaged, and showered her with love.
Indique – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
There are many grades of hair extensions on the market, ranging from synthetic to double-drawn (quality hair that is as thick at the ends as it is at the root, creating fullness throughout). But, Indique knows the human hair industry unlike any other. If you were to give hair extensions a quality score from one to 10, Indique hair would be considered a 10. While many other companies simply sell a private labeled product available to be sold by anyone, we own and operate our own overseas factories and domestic operations to ensure total control of the process from start to finish.
Our hair is 100 percent human hair that will last more than a year with care and maintenance. We hand select our hair across the globe and distribute it within the US and South Africa at 16 specialty boutiques and online. I am creative director and co-founder of the brand. I specialize in understanding the hair purchasing process for both the consumer and stylist.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My definition of success is antithetic to society’s general standards of achievement: wealth, status, job titles, luxury homes etc. Rather than these material things, I base my success on having inner peace and knowing that I’ve made a positive difference in other people’s lives. While I didn’t always perceive success this way, my life experiences change my outlook and helped me realize the true importance of the little things in life.
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