HairFerry Inc…almost a year to catch up on!
Hello Blogging World.
Is it really September 2012? Yikes. I had great intentions of writing and sharing my adventures from my journey of entrepreneurial exploits. Sadly…as you can tell by the date this is posting, and the date of my last post, it did not happen. But fear not…I have kept a timeline journal! Ok, not here on my blog, but on my trusty sidekick laptop (a.k.a. ancient MacBook) with the intention of having a guide to use so that when I did have time to write, I would have a “cheat sheet!” (Please don’t judge) I did mention in my first post that I am a single mother, working full time at a very demanding day job while trying to juggle time with my sweet sons and create a cool line of unique hair tools. Whenever something major happened I really tried to make a note of it…however I was working many 16 hour days and some things did slip by without my preserving it historically.So with that, I am going to attempt to catch up and bring you all up to date in just a few ‘diary inspired’, humbly written blogs. So buckle up-here we go gang! (even if there is only one of you out there…here we go pal!
This is what happened in 2011:
August 30, 2011
The concept of creating HairFerry Inc began. While styling one of my favorite actresses, Mindy Kaling, we begin a conversation about hair tools and how I would do things differently to make them better. Heat mats, Hair Tool Holders, so many items not even out there…my lovely actress lends support and asks the simple question “Well, why don’t you?” That question changed everything. It made me think, it made me dream and realize I could have another direction in my life. I began sketching, choosing colors, re-searching just what was out there and what was not. To me, there was a need for color, new tools that others may have done cheaply, but not done in a unique way. I have been doing hair since I was 17 years old. I had experience in theatre, beauty schools, hair salons, at home and now at studio sets, photo shoots and with celebrities. My mind was racing with many ideas but I decided to narrow my line to four areas. I had a plan. I spoke with a friend who was the Production Designer on The Office, the television show I was working on. He always had to come up with unique prototypes for our show so he had a great amount of resources that I could go to for prototype help. All those free haircuts paid off! I gave him my rough (almost stick figure-ish) sketches and he made an amazing architechtural diagram. He contacted a sign maker he had used in the past and told him to make one caddy for us to see.
September 14. 2011
Michael Gallenburg sends me the first photo of an “Acrylic” Caddy. I actually cried when I saw it. I just had to find time to go see it! Working long days, but thrilled to see progress.
September 16, 2011Contacted a website designer, who was a friend of a friend. We begin the process of planning what my website will be. I have never done this before and hope he will guide me through it.
September 17, 2011
I am driving home from work, talking on the phone to my friend Michael, an attorney who lives in Washington DC. I excitedly tell him about updates and that I am moving forward with my caddy designs and future business but I am very sad to hear everywhere I go how expensive creating Logos and Websites can be. I am a single mom on a serious budget. He tells me about a website called “Hatchwise”. His brither had used it and it is a great site that you can hold “contests” on and over 6000 graphic designers will submit for the chance to earn whatever monetary prize you put up. Minimum award has to be at least $100 but you can make it any amount after that. I thanked him for the useful tip and promised to check it out when I got home. So now you should picture me, jaw open sitting at my laptop happily looking at this site and seeing great submissions then immediately filling out a form, and posting a reward for my contest for the new company logo for HairFerry Inc. Yes, it was almost midnight when I was officially a contest holder. Almost too excited to sleep…had only 5 hours before I had to get up for work.
September 18, 2011
My contest on Hatchwise.com is very exciting. I am THRILLED with the many wonderful submissions I had. Over 120 the first week! The contest is set to run for two weeks. During the contest, graphic designers will send their Logo designs and I am allowed and encouraged to give feedback. They then have the opportunity to adjust and make changes to their submission and resubmit with updates. I watched some wonderful evolutions. I shared my favorite designs with a handful of friends and family for their opinions. I really liked two of them, had such a hard time picking just one!
September 29, 2011
My contest ends. I choose my first and second place logos. I love them both so much I decide to buy them both. $200 goes to the winner and $100 goes to the second place. (you have the option to buy as many as you want…but you must pick ONE winner for the contest)
October 1, 2011
My sons and I stop by the sign makers shop. His name is Antonio and he is really nice and really overwhelmed at his shop. It is in Burbank, in a warehouse district crammed in between many house developments. I had wanted to meet him on my own at first, trying to be more “business” like but I had the boys and this was the first weekend we could make work so I just went with it. The boys were perfect gentlemen, happily. (Yes I will admit to getting really big fruit shakes right before we got to Antonio’s, bringing their Nintendo DS games for them to play in the car and promising dinner out that night.) A mom had to do what she has to do. Antonio and I discuss mass production of the future HairFerry Caddys. He is doing them all by hand, with a blow torch, that concerns me when I need to fill many orders but I am hopeful and we try to move forward. I give my notes on adjustments that need to happen. The plastic chosen is too thick, the holes in the caddy too small. We decide to meet again after he has made the adjustments…my fee for this first caddy? $50.00. Thanks Michael Gallenburg! He sends a lot of work to Antonio so I am pretty sure I got the friend discount. The only other element I need for my caddy to be complete is a metal tube, to hold irons in. But that will be sorted out later, focused on the shell of the caddy first.
October 3, 2011
I meet in person with J.M. my website designer. He lives all the way in Santa Monica but I do not care how far I have to drive, I really need to have a website built and I have no idea on how to do it. I had a photographer friend tell me websites can cost $5-6000! I do not have that much cash to dedicate to a website. Since J.M. and I have a mutual friend (a makeup artist I have known for years) I am getting a website done at a more reasonable rate and I am truly grateful for that. At his house, J.M. and I talk for over an hour about website look, needs and options. He has notes for me, things I need to make decisions on before he can start and I have some researching to do online to see what websites I really like to show him what I am looking for. He assures me he can do this and that I will be happy with the end result. I ask if it is possible for me to run the website after he builds it…he says of course but that he can show me that later, we have many decisions to make now so that he can begin to build it. I will research online and we will meet again soon.
October 5, 2011
I get the name of a good trademark attorney who happens to be a friend of one of my closest friends Cindy. She is a big supporter of my quest to begin a business so she put me in touch with Gordon Firemark. He is an attorney for Trademarks, Business and Entertainment Law. Everything I could possibly need! (and he is seriously nice) He knows all of the details I will need to protect myself during the process. I meet him at a restaurant and it is pouring rain as I drive from my house to Valencia to meet. I am late and I am soaked…but I arrive at the booth still excited and thrilled to be actually saying out loud that I am a business owner. I am trademarking my logo and name, searching existing patents, names and making plans for the future. It feels good…this is really happening. Again, knowing a mutual friend helps me again. Man I have done a lot of free haircuts for all of this good kharma!
October 15, 2011
I return to Antonio’s shop to fine tune the caddy again. The redesign is better. Before I go I ask if he knows anyone who manufactures Rubber. He jokingly tells me that he does but they are very far away. He then leads me toward a window and points outside to a building across the street. Huge manufacturer of rubber products a stone throw away. I cannot believe my luck! Matz Rubber Company Inc. I am thinking to myself it cannot be this easy! My company was meant to be! I make plans to return to see Antonio again in another week, I have chosen colors that I want to do the caddy’s in, and he will show me the new adjustments when he can. He has a lot of work coming in and I am low on the priority list. I understand, I am not worried, I think it will not take much longer to sort it out and begin production.I walk across the street to examine Matz Rubber and discover they are closed on the weekends. I write down their information and plan on googling them when I get home.
October 17, 2011
I make contact by phone with Matz Rubber Company. I discuss my ideas and concepts with Kara, the office manager. She is warm, funny and eager to get rolling making my mats. We plan to meet in person on a weekday I can escape on my lunch time. They are only open Monday through Friday so no weekend meetings can take place. She tells me with confidence that she can make samples for me very quickly and i promise to sketch out the size, shape and design concept for my heat mats I have always wanted to make. We both seem excited about the prospect of teaming up. I get a really good feeling after the phone call. Feeling like things are really rolling now.
November 9, 2011
Antonio and I have been talking on the phone, I have bought a sheet of 4 foot by 6 foot on Acrylic in Black for him to cut out 20 caddy’s. With the final measurements being decided, he has estimated that one sheet will make 20 caddy’s. Then after his high tech machine cuts the template out, he can hand heat each one into the triangle mold I need for my tools. It is time consuming but it is the only way right now and so we move ahead and try it. I plan to leave work as soon as I can. Luckily on this day, we have a long lunch break due to a ‘Table Read” for the actors of the next episode. It makes our lunch an hour instead of the usual 30 min. I drive quickly…but safely (for my kids sake) and take pictures of our first official day ‘mass producing’ caddys. 20 cut out black caddy’s are sitting on his work table. My heart actually feels like it is pounding faster! Cannot enjoy the moment for long, have to race back to work for after lunch touch ups. Reality calls and I must return because let’s face it, my day job is funding this venture I am embarking on. I do not want to do anything to mess that up.
|My first 20 black caddy’s cut and waiting for bending.|
I have begun to reach out to metal and steel manufacturers. With the acrylic portion of the caddy taken care of for now…I need to pursue the small metal tubes for my caddy project. I begin to make many phone calls, sending emails, long hours of explaining what I need and many rejections come my way. I am looking to keep all things made in the USA. I also hope that I can have everything manufactured in California…I realize this is a long shot but I keep up hope. I find one company, Higby Engineering, the owner says he can make the tube I described (I also sent photos of my prototypes) He needs a sample so i drive out to his company after work, about 10 pm…in a not so great neighborhood, and throw my sample that is in small cardboard box over the 10 foot fence that surrounds the building. Yes, that is what they told me to do. They assure me they will find it in the morning…and we can start discussing mass production and costs. The streets are so darkly lit I am just happy to get out of there. I wonder as I drive away from my toss and go, do all great business start this way? The meaning of “risk” takes on a whole new meaning.
|Photo of my steel tube prototype.
Named it “HairFerry Heat Cave”
November 29, 2011
I get a call from Janet Higby, who thinks I threw it over the wrong fence! She cannot find my sample anywhere. She even sends me a map on Google Earth so I can tell her where I think I was. Eventually I guide her to the spot, it was the right place, just threw it up onto another box that was in the yard. She tells me they will get back to me soon. I have also been given another tip for steel manufacturing. The name came from a good friend on mine, Franklin, he is married to a lovely woman who works with me on my usual television show. Franklin is a welder…and had given me advice on steel vs aluminum in my prototype process. He feels the Steel is a better choice, it will not retain heat as long at Aluminum will. I trust him, he has worked with metal for 3 decades. He said he works with a guy who’s family has a manufacturing plant in Valencia! I may be able to make the tubes there and even get them powder coated to the colors I want…all in ONE place! I agree to meet with Curt W. (Franklins referal) later to give him a sample. We meet that day after I pick my sons up from school…after a 15-20 min chat, I hand him my sample, he says he will get back to me. My sons ask me “Mom, who are all of these new people?”I feel very guarded about my adventure. I am supporting two sons. My ex-husband has gone back to school full time and I am solely responsible for our children’s childcare costs until he finishes school. I have been divorced for a few years and I have found through that process often it is better to keep financial endeavors to yourself…until you know where it is going. I do not really want to tell many people about my business. I do not want to hear discouraging words, I do not want to have anyone steal my ideas, or have everyone tell me a ‘better way’ to do it…and really…it is a very personal process. I am doing this for my future and for my sons. I hope to supplement our future income and I want to spend more time with them and less time on sets. If I can make a go of this business…I could be a more present ‘mom’ and that would make me so very happy. I do not want to work my sons childhood away. I am trusting a small group of friends and family to aid me…and that is all. I also do not want my children talking about it with their dad so I keep details to myself for now. My boys do not need to know, they are too young to understand all the issues involved. It is hard sometimes. I wish I had someone to lean on, to share the small triumphs and quiet losses.
December 4, 2011
Curt W. calls at 2:57pm and tells me they can make my steel cones and powder them as well! I am thrilled…all in one place. I have both elements taken care of, or so I think, for my caddys to be a reality. They need color samples to give an accurate price on the powder coating so I need to get samples of the acrylic from Antonio.
December 5, 2011
I call Franklin and run all the latest info by him. He is really excited too! I mention I may need to start planning the “Wall mount kit” I want to have included with each of the caddy’s. I look at small bags through Uline, (a huge, wonderful catalog full of shipping, packing and mailing supplies) and talk about which screws, washers and support would work best to hold it all. I plan on selling it separately. So you can wall mount my caddy on any wall.
December 9, 2011
I am out on a run for wigs for the show, I am only a few miles from the Matz Rubber Company so I call to see if I can stop by. For the first time I see my mat. I am calling it “HairFerry Tool Trivet” for now. They have done 3 test colors for me.Orange, pink and purple. I also get color samples from Antonio across the street so I am able to show the mat company all the colors I am hoping to make. I am planning to have 6 different color mats and 6 matching caddy’s…even the steel cones will match! If I can make it all work I will be the first to have many colors of these kinds of tools. No one had done this before that I know of…I am making my product line and seeing now it may actually come to fruition! Prototypes are really moving forward now.
December 11, 2011
It’s Sunday. I sit down to create my blog. I am excited, I have a lot to say, so much to get out of my system about the process I have been going through. I sign up on Blogspot and as it turns out this will be the only time I write all year.
December 12, 2011I call Curt W. and tell him I have color samples. We can move forward with production now. We plan to meet Dec 20th to discuss price per item, color availability, and cost per 250, 500 and 1000.
December 18, 2011
My sister Dawn brings me an aluminum cone. She was excited when I told her a month before about my company and how far I had come. She had come over for dinner and I wanted to include her in my secret at last but I didn’t plan on her getting involved. So here at my doorstep was a shiny, perfect aluminum tube and I was shocked. Please note that it was a really cool looking tube. Very shiny and well made but it added an element of confusion for me. I was already moving forward with another company, they could do it all in one place. I was set. Now this temptation came in. I had to check it out, that is just a good business choice right? (please say yes)I sit down with my big sis and she tells me that her friend can make these tubes and for half the price I am being quoted for steel. Her friend insists they can all be powder coated as well. He can’t do it…but he knows a guy a few miles away that can…and it is farther north to get to where these will be made…but the price difference is what catches my attention. The steel tubes were going to be anywhere from $6-9 each depending on the bulk I get. I needed two of them per each caddy. He tells her that price they want is too high and I should go with him he can do it for half. I tell her I will talk to him and compare costs and that I appreciate her trying to help me…even though I really do like the other company I have found. I also an a bit uncertain about the aluminum. Both my dad and Franklin say steel is the way to go.After she leaves I do my own test. I have a prototype caddy and I put one tube of steel in and one tube of aluminum and I put the exact hot iron in each of them and go back every 5-10 min for 4 hours to check and see which one feels hotter. To be honest, I cannot feel a difference. They both seem to be the same…I also realize that the cones are not fitting correctly in the caddy I have at home. The measurement is off. Holes are too small. I measure them and they are slightly smaller than 2″-they were supposed to be just 2′. I think Antonio has made a mistake in the cutting process. I stress out and plan to call him in the morning.
December 19, 2012
I call Antonio and his voicemail is full and will not accept any messages. I text him explaining my concerns and that the measurements may be off, I had been using old tubes, I had never had my actual desired size until my sister brought me the aluminum tube that was 2″. Others were just shy of 2″. This could be a huge expense and problem. I ask him to check the measurements against the original design plans I gave him and to call me back as soon as possible. He calls back and says we should meet tomorrow. Luckily I am on hiatus from work and can meet him in the morning.
December 20, 2012
I dropped by Antonio’s and showed him the problem. I brought my one clear prototype caddy and an old steel tube and my new aluminum tube. I showed him the hole difference and felt very frustrated during our conversation. I also was a it distracted as my two sons waited in the car watching a movie. Antonio’s shop has a huge sliding door he leaves open a lot and I can usually park right in front of it and see the boys while I talk. I give him my only aluminum sample to use as a guide of where the holes were supposed to be size wise. He promises to have something ready by friday. And he assures me that he can fix the batches he has cut already. We need to re-align the caddy to the holes. While I am there I notice that he has not even started gluing the stack at all, like he promised he would. He has only heated and molded a few of them with clamps. He has not used bonding glue on any of them to make them complete. The stack of cut black caddy’s lies in almost same position but now is covered in dust from the shop. It has not been touched since I saw it on November 9th. I have not seen one completed caddy yet. Antonio promises to have a prototype with the fixed holes in a few days. He explains he needs more help but gets overwhelmed by other jobs coming in and just cant seem to keep up. He is a very nice man, I genuinely like him a lot but I am getting frustrated and worried that he cannot come in on deadlines. We agree to meet Thursday before 3pm. He will not be in Friday, it is Christmas Eve and I really do no plan on being here that day either. Holidays are a big deal for me.
December 21, 2011
I met with Curt W. We go over designs, I do not have an aluminum sample to give him as I left it with Antonio, but he seems to get what I have designed and what I need for my project. I have photos and an old steel prototype to give him. I mention the option of Aluminum and he tells me he thinks steel would be better too but he can get a price quote for aluminum as well! I didn’t think he could do that-very good news. We agree to talk after Christmas and he should have estimates on aluminum then. I will have a better idea on how much cheaper it may be although he seemed to think steel would be much cheaper so I wonder how my sisters friend can be so cheap on his price? Curt also recommends a plastic company his family knows of and that if i have any problem with my current plastic company I should get another opinion from them. I take their number and think it is always good to have a back up.
December 23, 2011
I decided to go check out the plastic company that Curt told me about, Valley Plastic. They are family owned and operated and I thought it may not hurt to compare pricing and or time efficiency. I learned some valuable information. First, I learned that the plastic company Antonio buys from gets their plastic from China! it is cheaper plastic cost and material wise. I pay $87.50 per colored sheet curently, at valley Plastic they only use American Made plastic and it costs $200.00 a sheet. The owner claims he can give me a discount, maybe $160. each-YIKES. Almost $65 more each sheet, the price for labor on my caddy’s now are $20 each, I was hoping to have my price per item go down not up. Failure here for sure. I will not get a better deal in plastic world for sure…and odd that American Plastic is so much more when it is made here. China ships it and it costs half the price.Another interesting tidbit learned, the glue Antonio is using is American Adhesive, it will not bond with Chinese Plastic, at least that is what the owner of the Valley Plastic is explaining. Seems to make sense to me. When Antonio glued my first prototype the triangle did not stick together at the seam. That was an issue, and when I brought it up he said he thought it just had not been clamped long enough.
I also wonder if the design of my caddy can be improved. The owner calls his fabricator out of the back work room and they assure me that they can do it better than the one I have with me. All for $65. I figure, why not? It may be a cool new look, so I tell them to go ahead remind them of the angles I need to fit the irons in.
December 28, 2011
I fly home to Chicago and I do not bring any work materials with me. I need family time. My sons and I enjoy time with Grandpa and all my relatives that are still living in Illinois. We took hikes in the woods behind my childhood home, I cooked Mexican dinner the way my mom used to for all of us, and we had bonfires and S’mores. It was very Christmas-y even without much snow. My brother and sister flew in, cousins and childhood friends came by and we all hung out and enjoyed the chance to be together for a while.
I end up discussing my new business with an old boyfriend of mine who always comes by for a visit when I am home. Mitch and I have known each other since High School. I had a crush on him in school, we were in choir together but he was two years ahead of me and didn’t notice me much. After high school we dated for a little while but then he went out os state to college and I was working full time in hair salons and attending a local community college. My brother and Mitch became friends along the way and now it is tradition that we all kinda get together when we are home. Mitch is happily married and has two amazing kids. They come with him sometimes, my they are growing fast. Anyway, on this visit, we started to talk about what we each are doing and I wandered into my caddy issues. He told me about our mutual friend from High School, Jeff, who lives in Florida now. Jeff works with plastic daily. He sculpts with it and molds, he custom builds aquariums. He could be a huge help and a good source of valuable info about molds. After many discussions about how Antonio hand heats and bends the plastic, several people suggested making a mold of my caddy. It would be much faster and all one piece, NO glue needed. And every piece would be identical. I want that. Antonio’s hand made way they all are slightly different. Makes them unique…but I want uniformity. The only downside to molds, sadly is the cost. Making a mold can run $10,000. and up. I could use some honest advice on how I can move forward. Mitch says he will call Jeff and see if he is willing to help but he assures me he will be. I thank Mitch for his help and verbal support of my little venture. Its nice to see old friends.
December 31, 2011
Mitch e-mails me in the morning and tells me Jeff is on board and says he will help in any way he can. I promise to contact Jeff after the holidays when I get back to LA. I may have found a mold maker! I cheer up a bit about my company drama and continue to have a wonderful holiday with my sons back home.
|Our Mexican Dinner|
|A family hike|
|My home in Illinois|
That officially brings this blog up to date for the year 2011!
I know I am not doing this the traditional way…but again, I plead for forgiveness and remind my audience that I am a single mother juggling company, work. and two cute kids. Social life at all you may ask? Not in 2011. Let’s see what 2012 brings! My next post will begin with January 2012. Soon I will be caught up and able to post current, actual time. Wowsa. How exciting!
And I promise, many obstacles are overcome in 2012. Things really get moving so check back in…my business starts to grow.
Thanks for reading Blogging world!
HairFerry -flying out