No Time For Fake Ones in the Hair IndustryHey winners! I see you out here handling your business and working hard to grow your online hair company. You’re reading Private Label Extensions’ blog posts and making your notes. You are getting your social media accounts on point and have even scheduled your photo shoot. You are seeing some interest from potential clients and have even gotten a sale! I know you are excited and can I say “Congratulations”! Every single win, no matter how big or small, reinforces your drive and ambition. Sadly, there are some issues, especially when it comes to your money and time, which you may face which will have you questioning what you did wrong or if it’s all worth it. As a business consultant and coach, I like to give people enough information so they can make educated. Grab your pads and pens because you will need to create a plan on how to handle vendor list scams, chargebacks, and fake virgin hair. In this article, I will use scenarios to help guide you through the situations and ask for your feedback on how you would handle it. I like this approach because it will test your business acumen and problem resolution skills. Now you know what time it is! Let's jam out and press play on our Trina playlist. She is about those coins, and so are we!
Hair Industry RegulationsThe extensions industry has no regulation which makes it extremely hard to ensure ethical practices worldwide. In my opinion, I see this changing in the future. It may take some time, but regulation is needed. China does provide less desirable qualities of virgin hair. Although China has become the biggest importer and exporter of hair extensions, India’s hair temples are one of the highest quality of hair. There is one type of hair which is hugely misrepresented and mislabeled which is fallen hair. Fallen hair is hair that has fallen to the floor in salons and hair found in hairbrushes. They take the fallen hair, dye it, and weft it together. The hair is then coated with silicone to give the cuticles a smooth look. The problem with fallen hair is it is not from one donor and, therefore, is a mix of different donors with different hair types. It is straightforward to identify fallen hair because it smells like chemicals.
Scenario #1 - What to look for in a good vendor companyAngela is ready to take the plunge and order inventory for her business. She has a budget of $1000 and does not have coins to waste. She is a member of the Facebook group “Start Your Hair Business” and will be purchasing her website to make sure she presents her online hair company as professionally as possible. She also seeks information about the best hair vendors available because, now that she’s invested her money in the business basics, she’s ready to start getting sales. Angela searches the internet and finds some hair vendors. She doesn’t research them because when she sought the companies reviews on Youtube, they had a few positive reviews. She purchases $1000 worth of inventory from one specific company because they were receptive to her questions via email. They even gave her a discount on her wholesale order. However, Angela ended up having some issues with her order. They are the following:
- Her order arrived a week later than expected delivery. It is coming from an overseas hair company
- While she was inquiring about her request, she was only able to contact the hair company via email. She got more and more frustrated because the vendor no longer was answering her emails.
- There are also issues with her order, but we’ll cover this later.
What to look for when seeking hair vendorsThe above scenario is not unlikely to happen to you. No one wants to lose his or her hard earned money because they spent it on products they can’t use. Not to mention the frustration of being ignored and having to wait longer than expected for products you pay to receive. Below are the things you should keep in mind when trying to find the right vendor for your online hair company.
- Avoid vendors using celebrity photos to represent their hair
- Create a generic Gmail account to use to contact vendors from to avoid spam in your business email
- Ask open-ended questions which require more than a “yes” or “no” answer
- A key question is ‘are they manufacturing the hair” or “they just a dealer”
- Request hair samples of straight and wavy hair
- Ask where they get their hair from because a majority of virgin hair comes from China and India
- Test your samples by lifting the color, putting heat on it, shampooing it, and dying them
- If you get bundles from them, wear them to see how the hair does
- Choose a stateside vendor, if you can, because you have more flexibility in contacting the company
- Do not see money via Western Union or Moneygram. When you wire money, you have no way of getting back if there is an issue with your order. Use a payment processor to send any payments. Paypal provides coverage if you need to request money back.
Tactics a vendor will use to misrepresent its companyThey will ask people to remove negative reviews in exchange for a deep discount or free virgin hair. Check the review for clarity. If it doesn’t read well, the company may have written the report itself. Because a lot of the companies are overseas, they do not write in English. Pay close attention to what the review is stating. If it is not giving an actual review of the hair, it is not a valid review.
Scenario #2 - how to avoid fake virgin hairWhen Angela’s order finally arrived, it was not what she wanted at all! Her heart sunk because she was hoping at least the product would be of high quality, especially after the ordering issues she has had. Sadly, the hair she received was fake virgin hair, and she just wasted a lot of money. Remember, virgin hair is hair that has no dye nor processing. She envisions her online hair company providing clients with quality extensions and this order will not meet the standard. You may be wondering how she knew her hair was fake. Let me put you up on some game because I promise you it is going to save you time, money, and frustration. Has this ever happened to you? What did you do? What do you think are some critical steps to ensure you don’t waste your money on inferior quality extensions?
Check out my list below:
- The best way to test the hair is to use the samples/extensions sent to you before placing a wholesale order
- Check for hair cuticles To check the hair run your fingers down the shaft. It will feel smooth. Then, run your fingers up the shaft. It will feel slightly rough, or there will be some resistance. The roughness of the cuticle confirms your hair has not processed anyway. If the hair is smooth, it means the cuticle is no longer on the hair.
- Check your hair for natural curl patterns and varying texture. If it is uniform throughout it is fake. Your bundles should have some irregularity just like our hair does.
- Fake virgin hair will smell processed. If it smells like corn chips, relaxer, or perm.
- Pure virgin hair is naturally colored because there is no dye on the hair. Because hair is never uniform, you may have some slight color difference in your bundles.
- Conduct a smoke test on your extensions. When attempted, if the hair burns to ash it is real virgin hair. If, on the other hand, it burns to a sticky and hard texture it is not pure virgin hair and has had synthetic fibers added to it. It will smell like burnt plastic.
- Hair should revert when it’s wet. Pure virgin hair has a natural wave to it.
- Check your extensions for shedding. Minimal shedding is healthy, but if there are a lot of strands coming out when you run your fingers or comb through them, then you don’t want to place a bulk order.
- Your bundles should measure 1.5 inches longer than the stated length.
- Curl and straighten your extensions. I know you may be as frustrated as I am with “human” hair that doesn’t hold a single curl or swells up within two hours of flat ironing it. Ugh! Make sure you put heat and heat protectant on your samples to see how the hair will hold up.
- Test how your hair looks and feels after it is bleached. Even after bleaching, the hair should still retain its characteristics. Also, pay attention to how well the hair processes because fake virgin hair will not lift well if at all.
Scenario #3- Don’t purchase based on reviewsAngela’s friend wants to find out more about starting her own online extensions company. She talks with Angela and Angela shares with her how she got started and who her new hair vendor is. Her friend tells her she chose the wrong company because her favorite vlogger uses a different company. Although Angela is pleased with her current vendor, she starts questioning her choice. She thinks if she works with a company with a more significant social media following and vlogger reviews she may get more sales. What do you think Angela should do? Comment below with your advice for Angela and hundreds of other “Angelas” out there who need it.
Influencer GameLet me put you up on the game with a lot of influencer hair reviews. Take note and go with your research at the end of the day. Social media influencers are an integral part of the success of a lot of hair companies. Therefore, companies offer them a deep discount or free hair if they provide a positive review of their extensions. Now, you would hope they give an honest review but some won’t. Social media influencers make wigs and post reviews on the quality of the hair in the wig. Most of the time they do not wear the wig to see how well it wears.
Scenario #4 - How to handle consumer fraudRemember earlier Angela has her website built and it is open for business. Angela is so excited for her first order and was pleasantly surprised that it was for $450. Making sure the hair is packaged neatly, she proudly fills the customer's request from her inventory. She even ships her products with various hair care samples. She ships the order and is told it will arrive within five days to the client. Angela sends the tracking information to her customer. The order comes on the 5th day, and Angela receives a delivery notification. Three days later Angela gets a chargeback request due to the customer stating she has not received the order. The customer says she doesn't know what happened to the hair but she didn't get it, gives Angela’s company a negative review, and demands her money back. What do you think Angela should do? Comment below with your advice.
ChargebacksOnline extensions companies have a high rate of chargebacks and are a high-risk business venture for payment processors. For this reason, payment processors such as Paypal and Stripe will usually withhold a portion of payments to cover chargebacks in the future. If you are wondering what a chargeback is you probably can ask any of your peers who are already selling on the internet. They’ll probably get a scowl and grimace when you ask them. To save you time and prevent any negative energy coming your way I’ll go ahead and explain it to you. A chargeback is when a customer requests his/her money back. The intention of chargebacks is to protect the consumer from unethical sellers and allow the consumer to get their money back if they purchase goods or services online which end up being unsatisfactory. The problem for many online hair companies is these chargebacks can be fraudulent. Shoppers will report the purchase as an unauthorized purchase to get their money back, asserting the product is poor quality, late delivery or the product never arrived. They can also request it if they are claiming identity theft as well as unauthorized billing. Chargebacks can hurt your bottom line because when the customer files a claim with their credit card company your merchant account is charged a processing fee as well. Ouch! Think about how much of a disaster that can be! If the customer claims he/she never received the order fraudulently (now you won’t get the hair back), they refund the customer the money (now you are out of $450), and a negative review.
Here are a few tips to help reduce the likelihood of having a chargeback:
- Organize your records and keep them maintained. You can reduce the chances of a chargeback by having records of transactions and authorizations. Make sure your transactions are easily identifiable by company name. For example, if your company is Beauty Tresses, your receipt should have that not Morris Inc. With that tyke of confusion, a consumer may forget they ordered hair from you and is an easy way for someone to file a fraudulent claim. Make sure you are receiving alerts when a chargeback is processing.
- Provide excellent customer service by contacting the customer in type attempt to resolve the issue without having to complete a chargeback. Be proactive and stay on top of chargebacks. You want to keep them at a minimum. Remember the risks associated with hair companies and the reason why.