Kiss My Brass eliminates the cost, time and chemicals of a salon toner. Formerly, purple shampoos on the market work by drying out the hair shaft, have horrible scents, fail to leave behind meaningful correction or test on animals. Kiss My Brass is patent-pending, sulfate-free + cruelty-free, vegan and great for every ethnicity (especially Asian and Latina hair, which is prone to brassiness.)
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Shea to talk about her entrepreneurial journey and here’s what went down:
Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
I’m Shea and I own Mermaid Aloha. My company makes Kiss My Brass, the first-ever shampoo additive for toning blonde, grey, pastel, highlighted and brassy brown hair at home.
I actually have a degree in Chemistry. While performing in a microbiology lab, I started conceptualizing and blending some lab dyes to make my own purple shampoo. The purple shampoos on the market may be colored purple, but they failed to leave behind a meaningful color change. Shortly after, I became a cruelty-free cosmetic user and my product options got even slimmer.
So I blended up my mixture and stayed in the shower. However, when I was deep-cleaning the bathroom, I accidentally removed my customized shampoo and placed it in the closet. After a couple of weeks without it, my roommate said: “Wow, your hair has been looking like crap lately.” And so I told him I stopped using the purple goo in the bathroom. And he said, “Well, I would bottle that stuff and sell it if I were you.” I told him I wanted to, but I didn’t know how. So we sat down and wrote the patent. My roommate became my business partner, and the rest is history.
Can you describe your journey to success? When did you start?
We started about three years ago. Initially, we launched a Kickstarter but canceled it because we realized we were not going to hit our (humble)fundraising goal. However, it was still a win because it made me realize, still, how many people – both friends/family and total strangers – believed in my idea.
What is your main source of income?
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
I am advertising on Facebook as shopping the product + concept around to brick and mortar stores.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Instagram and Facebook
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
Yes, but the ROI is smaller than you’d think – as Instagram and Facebook are deeply saturated with ads.
How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
Well, there was no such thing – until now – as a customizable shampoo additive for at-home use. So, we just highlight where purple shampoos on the market fall short – such as lack of meaningful color change, lack of cruelty-free options like I mentioned, products that may smell less than desirable or don’t fit your budget – so you can keep using the products you already love and have in your shower. Kiss My Brass also allows the user to safely control the level of toning.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
I think it was to decide on a new look and print for the label.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
I threw money at things like Google Adwords, tools I hadn’t quite mastered. So my advice is when trying new ad and marketing tools, spend very conservatively until you’ve mastered the tool and honed in on a very specific demographic. After using FB advertising, we eventually learned that women ages 25-35 are our target demo. I can only assume most people younger than that don’t have a lot of discretionary income for luxury products and those older aren’t as interested in high maintenance beauty.
What new business would you love to start?
Honestly, I’d love to help other beauty brands in their research and development departments come up with creative concepts for new products. I’ve learned so much wearing so many hats just myself.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I would have moved faster and not been so scared to go full-throttle. I’m hypercautious by nature and that isn’t always great with business ventures. When you’re scared of failing, you tend to get in your own way.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were first making a name for yourself, what advice would you give yourself?
I have would have kept my business partner around, no matter what. You see, a boyfriend of mine was jealous of him and chased him away and bought him out. And my old business partner was great at everything technical that I was not. We complemented each other perfectly! In future, I’ll never let a romantic interest interfere with my business.
Do you have any favorite business-related or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
I have heard great things about “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sinclair.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
In terms of business, just keep moving forward! For example, I could dawdle for months on what I want the new look of the bottle to be. However, there are a million looks for it that could be right and look great for the brand. So I have to survey a sampling of potential customers, but at the end of the day, I need to pick ONE and move forward with the manufacturing process. I used to work at an advertising agency and they would take a couple of weeks –TOPS – to make major creative decisions for the brand. So I try to emulate that model to keep things moving along.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Use a life coach! I use a fantastic woman, Jenny G. Perry. She’s helped me discover and address my hidden fears in business.