I recently had the pleasure of appearing on the Friends In Beauty podcast, in an episode they called: “Mikey Moran CEO of Private Label Extensions – How Mikey Moran Is Building A Fearless Private Label Beauty Empire.”
Sit down and get comfortable – this one is over an hour long – and it is jam-packed full of valuable advice for any entrepreneur – not just those in the world of beauty – though this is, as the host, Akua Robinson (Makeup Artist, Beauty Educator) calls “a safe space for ambitious beauty entrepreneurs” to talk about growing their businesses.
The show starts with some choice quotes about learning how to handle customer complaints – then our host introduces the show and its reason for being – helping entrepreneurs build genuine relationships within the beauty industry.
Then we get into a great conversation, I talk about how excited I was to speak to this audience and Akua says she has known my brand before we met and I talk about how that kind of thing makes you feel like you have made it – even though in spite of all my success I never really feel like I made it yet!
To start with a little fun, Akua asks me to give three random facts about myself – I share that I never really went to school other than a few courses after college, that I think I have some undiagnosed learning disabilities – I don’t know what they are and it doesn’t matter that much now, I’m not in school and in the real world I have learned to work with them. Third fun fact, I don’t have kids but I do have cats! Akua and I talk about how our cats might be part of the episode if they wander in!
Akua then asks if I have any hidden talents and I tell her that is actually a hard one for me because so many people know a lot about me already! I come up with Twerking, and I know none of you were expecting that! Akua laughs that she would like to see that one day!
We then go into a Would You Rather question….. “Would you rather get a shoulder or a foot massage?” “Shoulder!” “What do people always tell you that you’re good at?” brings another quick answer – “marketing!”
When she asks what I would tell my younger self, I think I would tell myself to focus more on education, on learning from people like me – though as I point out, when I was coming up there weren’t all these amazing platforms like podcasts we could learn from. I would also tell myself to ask more people for help, offer to do things for them, it can be a gamechanger for a lot of people just to see the life they live and what they do – because the reality could actually be very different than you think it is. We talk a little about networking and the value in talking to people about their stories.
The last icebreaker question was if I wasn’t a CEO what would I be doing for a living? And I said likely, helping people with their business,more one-on-one stuff, because I really love helping people.
Then we get into the bulk of the interview – when she asks who I am, where I came from I tell her it’s kind of a common story and give her the family basics – my father left us when we were very young, we grew up in Bethesda, Maryland. I talk about how we lived with my Grandmother who was like my second mother, I didn’t get along with my sister until later. I tell her about my youthful entrepreneurial initiatives from shoveling snow to mowing lawns to collecting sports cards… I was a fifteen-year-old going to all these conferences, among all these adults buying and selling and trading. I wasn’t a good student – though all the teachers loved me, they thought I was nice and polite – but I couldn’t pass a test to save my life. We talk about how I tried college, but I didn’t really do well there. That brings us to Atlanta and where I started my first business fifteen years ago.
We get into the culture shock I felt when I moved from DC to Atlanta – I found it was much more segregated, and I wanted to move back over the first year – and we talk about how Atlanta has changed, how it is phenomenal now., and that I am excited to live in Atlanta now. I invite Akua to come and check out our showroom and everything we do here next time she is in Atlanta!
Akua then asks what gave me my early entrepreneurial passion – and I explain how it came about because I grew up less than wealthy in a wealthy area. So all my friends had the Air Jordans, all those things, and when I wanted them my mom said, “ I can pay 50 dollars for shoes, you will have to pay for the rest if you want more.” So I did.
Next we discuss my first business – in the food industry and all the media we got and all the stores we got into for a true restaurant-quality fast food thai sauce at home – and I talk about how ultimately that business failed, it gave me a lot of perspective in brand development, relationship building in Asia, and that kind of thing. That was my college.
From there she wants to know how I ended up launching a hair extension brand, and I tell the story I tell often – how I was working for my now business partner for a while after my first business failed. My business partner and I got to talking about how much his girlfriend spent on hair extensions. That’s where It all started (listen to the podcast for the details about how we grew to partner with Shopify, have so many different retail locations, help others build brands, and more.
You have to listen for all the good stuff – but it comes down to this: I listen to my clients, I heard their needs, found solutions for their problems, and that is why we are so successful in so many ways today. We also go into how we moved from being eCommerce only to being brick and mortar – something that wasn’t even really a plan initially! I talk about how we created new companies and added new partners including my friend Dallas, the first stylist we brought on, and how the different retail locations have worked out and how rewarding it is to align myself with such great people. We’re creating the blueprints to do it in more cities, because our clients love to have us in their cities. I’m so proud of our showroom experience, and I talk to her about it’s an experience like no other – and how a lot of our clients want to keep us as their new secret! I talk a little about how some celebrities use our products – but that I keep that pretty quiet, you don’t usually see me posting pictures with them -all that is not a big deal to me. Like I said here – I just want everyone to be happy!
From here we break down the different challenges I faced at different points – in the early days – compared to the kinds of challenges I face now – sharing lessons that are of use to entrepreneurs learning how to adapt and structure their business. I share that as my company has got bigger the challenges and problems have got bigger. I often think about it when I look at my old problems – and wish my problems were that small again! There are always big challenges. We talk a little also about proceeding with caution on signing commercial leases and what entrepreneurs need to understand and be prepared for.
I talk about how I learned about my product – and how as a man who doesn’t wear hair, how I was able to do market research that taught me what people want, and then the relationship building that I did, and the visits to Asia to see the factories. Like I tell her, I dug deep into it to have a true understanding of the product. Listen in to hear about how I was videotaped eating insects in the Chinese countryside!
We then touch on team building, and how all three of my first employees are still with me (I was the fourth employee of my own company!) I talk about something that is really important to me – hiring the right person, because we are really cognizant that once we hire, families depend on us, people depend on us. She asks several great questions about the hiring process. I talk about how no one makes minimum wage working for us, and how we have a bonus pool for all of our employees, and even our customer support team is in our bonus pool – and they recently got a bonus worth two weeks wages – it’s important – staff knows the company is making money, but they also know they are being paid well.
Then we get into something I am very proud of – my new book, Fearless Beauty, and the incredible people who supported and helped me with it – and how it is full of advice not just on beauty but on building any brand. We go into some details on eCommerce, conversions, sales, and on blogging and how important content is. I talk about how in one year, we produced over 1000 blog posts and how that attracted millions of customers – comparing that with most websites that only talk about their products and what they are selling, which isn’t warm, and doesn’t draw people in. I compare a guy trying to meet a girl to a website trying to get a sale – listen to understand more!
Then I give one of my best pieces of general business advice – I always learn at least a little bit about everything, about every angle before I hire someone to do something – that way you don’t fall into the trap I have seen so many times where people hire an expert who drops all kinds of flashy words, getting people to waste their money because they don’t understand what is actually being done. It’s a lot easier to hire people when they know you know what you are talking about – then no one tries to get anything over on you. Utilize all the free resources, go to Youtube, learn everything you can, and then take paid courses, but make sure they are good ones.
I also share a story about the 3000 dollar phone call – and why it was worth every penny – but I’m not going to tell you why here…. You’ll have to listen!
What they said :
Today on the Friends in Beauty Podcast I welcome Mikey Moran – CEO of Private Label Extensions to the Friends in Beauty guest chair. Mikey Moran is a serial entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Private Label Extensions, a hair extension and technology company helping entrepreneurs launch and manage their brands. Private Label Extensions is ranked number 278 of the Inc. 5000 and the number one fastest-growing beauty business in the country by Cosmetic Business. Mikey has been featured on ABC, Fox, CBS, and CNBC, and also in Forbes and Entrepreneur magazines, among others. He is also the co-host of the podcast Hair Biz Radio and the founder of the influencer platform Beauty Clout. Mikey recently released his book Fearless Beauty to provide you with a roadmap to achieve success easier, faster, and more efficiently than you ever thought possible. He shows you how to think like an entrepreneur by introducing you to practical theories that should guide every decision, then presents a step-by-step plan for taking action and getting started. You’ll learn core marketing techniques that yield the biggest impact, how to select the best web platform for your business, and why consistency—or a lack of it—can make or break you. No matter your industry or where you are in the process of becoming an entrepreneur, you’ll gain insightful strategies for maximizing returns and enjoying every step in the journey of your business. I had such an amazing time meeting and chatting with Mikey. In this interview Mikey shares: His backstory and how he got into the hair business So many gems when it comes to marketing, hiring & maintaining a solid team What you should be focusing on as a new entrepreneur Real expectations for running a biz And so much more He was even gracious enough to send me several copies of his book Fearless Beauty to do a giveaway for the Friends in Beauty Community so make sure you’re following Friends in Beauty on IG @friendsinbeauty & that you’re apart of the Friends in Beauty Facebook Community to find out how you can enter to win your copy. Check it out this episode with Mikey Moran and share with another #FriendinBeauty.
Listen at: HERE