I recently appeared on THE STORY OF A BRAND -a #1 Apply business podcast – definitely “Not your average entrepreneur or eCommerce podcast” hosted by Los Angeles-based Ramon Vela, “not your average host” as the show’s intro says. The Story Of A Brand interviews high-profile founders of global brands.
We had a great conversation.
It starts with a clip of me speaking about how most of my clients know me well, and how so many of them tell me I’m the most positive person they know. I speak a little about the portion of my life where I wasn’t feeling quite so positive – I was so stressed out I didn’t sleep for three days straight. You hear me speak about how I hadn’t worked a normal job in years but I determined to get myself up, brush myself off and I told myself I am going to take whatever job I can get – and I actually went back to bartending which when I left in 2007 I had said I am never going back to the foodservice industry. I talk about how it was a humbling experience to have to go back, but I did what I had to do to get the bills paid, to survive. I remember how it was not a good time, even my positivity got totally beat up but it’s one of those things as an entrepreneur we push through, we don’t give up – we make things happen. The intro ends with a powerful quote about how I had to push through after being deep in the hole and I eventually got there, right around the time I was getting in the beauty industry.
After the introduction, Ramon starts with a great question about gratefulness. He asked me to share with the audience a memory of a time that someone gave me a level of support that made me feel so grateful because it showed me that they believed in me, in my mission, and in my potential. I told the story of when I went to my mom, just before I started this brand, and told her, “Mom, I have this idea – and this is really gonna be the one!” And while she said she had heard me say that before, when I asked her for a small investment to get into the beauty industry, she thought it was a little crazy as the parents of many entrepreneurs probably do – but ultimately she believed in me and it worked out. I told Ramon how grateful I am for the support – not just the financial support but the fact that she has been there to keep me on the right track during all the challenging times of starting a business. I was surprised when Ramon said out of all the people he has asked this question of all year, I was the first person who thanked their mom – something Ramon said he really appreciated hearing.
Then we get into my new book, Fearless Beauty: The Hair Business Blueprint
(it came out in April of this year and has been getting fantastic reviews. Check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Fearless-Beauty-Hair-Business-Blueprint/dp/1544520085 ).
Before we got into the beauty business particulars, I said something I always say… something many others who have read the book have said, too. Even if you AREN’T a beauty industry entrepreneur – there is a lot of business knowledge that you can apply that will help you a ton no matter what business you are in!
I then give a little background into Private Label Extensions and my work with influencers in beauty, fashion, and fitness. I talk about our technology sites, the beauty industry websites we have created, our investments in technology, and our product side.
When we get down to the book, I say it simply: It’s basically the book I wish someone had handed me when I became an entrepreneur and said, “Mikey, read this twice.” I tell the host and the audience, that it really is everything you need to know if you are in business, from setting up, to life as an entrepreneur – there is a lot about mindset in there and also important things that we don’t often talk about – like what someone can expect being in a relationship with an entrepreneur.
Then Ramon asks me how it all started, what I was doing before I got into beauty, and what let me here. I speak about my early traditional entrepreneur journey, and then how in avoiding the corporate world I was doing bartending gigs waiting for that big idea.
I went into an early endeavor where we launched the first packaged Thai curry sauce in the US – that was pretty exciting, revolutionary at the time for a food product, telling Ramon how we successfully sold into Whole Foods and Gourmet grocery stores. I talk about how we were on top of the world and then about how it came crashing down around 2010, like it did for a lot of people, and I lost everything, and how I dealt with that. Ramon and I then get into how I got into the beauty business and how it all started over lunch and a conversation with my now silent partner about the money his girlfriend was spending on hair extensions! A little research and a website later, we were up and running with our sales tripling every year for the first few years – and building from there, helping others launch their own hair brands as well as our product sales.
We talk about how we found the right vendors, and speak of how it can take time in any industry to find the right direct sources – we talk about my travels to China, to spending weeks in the countryside visiting every single facility. We talk about the pitfalls of finding the right source, the times we were let down when dealing with new people and sending them money then finding out there was no product – a learning experience! I even talk about one thing that is common in the hair and beauty industry – where they send you little samples and everything is great and then, as I said on the show, you make a bigger order – and then suddenly everything is crap. It’s these kinds of experiences I share so that listeners – and readers of my book – can be prepared for the pitfalls as they build their brands. This is why relationship building is so important in any industry as an entrepreneur.
Then Ramon asks me how we pivoted to helping others build their beauty brands. I explain how we really started that as an affiliate program, where affiliates would get a portion of a sale from their special link, but we started getting a lot of feedback that people didn’t just want to sell our brands, but they wanted to sell their own brands – so we started helping them with that, and then started helping with dropshipping – and then, when people had products but not websites since I was a tech guy I started helping them create websites, logos. Like I told Ramon, the main thing I did was that I listened to my clients to see what their problems were, created the solutions to those problems, and that led us into an amazing business.
Ramon points out the “sweet irony” that after having failed and then hugely succeeded in business, not only have I succeeded but now I help others to succeed. We discuss how important it is to give back to the community, and some ways that we are doing that – Cosmetology Scholarship that we have just started and how as Covid hit we gave away all our extra electronics, and a laptop every week for a year and a half now because families need these devices – some families have one laptop and they have three kids needing it for school, and how I’m spending time helping others to build their beauty businesses.
We end by breaking down all the incredible offerings we have available not only for consumers but for those building their own direct-to-consumer brands.
Hope you enjoy listening to the conversation as much as we enjoyed recording it!
Thanks to Ramon Vela for featuring me on the show.
What they said about it :
We push through, and we don’t give up, and we make things happen.” This is what Mikey Moran, Founder of Private Label Extensions and author of Fearless Beauty, says is the entrepreneur’s mindset. Mikey knows what terrifies entrepreneurs: Fear. Yet, it rarely stops the true entrepreneurs from trying. Still, Mikey knows from first-hand experience what it’s like to fail and then pick yourself up. That is what we learn in today’s episode: how do entrepreneurs recover from failure and go on to succeed. But, of course, we also learn all about his brand and what it stands for, the story of Private Label Extensions. In part 1, we discuss: How Mikey’s mom supported him; A 100-foot overview of his brand; How Mikey’s first business failed; His journey from failure to his present business; How Mikey started Private Label Extensions; His learning curve and advice; How his business evolved to help others start their own business; Who the company stands for; and so much more. Join Ramon Vela and Mikey Moran as they break down the inside story on The Story of a Brand.
Listen at: HERE