Tiffini Gatlin & The Story of Latched & Hooked

Written by: Mikey Moran



Time to read 14 min

The Spark of an Idea

It all started with a personal problem. 

My daughter's sensitive scalp reacted poorly to synthetic hair products. I was struck by the realization that if my child faced such issues, surely countless others would feel the same way. The seed of Latched & Hooked was thus sown out of sheer necessity.

Challenges Along the Way

Building a brand is never easy, and Latched & Hooked was no exception. 

Funding was scarce. Our initial investment was a mere $14,000, and while that might sound like a lot to some, it's a drop in the ocean in the business world. But rather than letting financial constraints hinder us, it ignited a fire of determination. We had to be resourceful, innovative, and lean into our community.

I recall the skepticism of many, the long hours, and the countless 'no's. Yet, every setback was an opportunity to pivot and learn.

Breaking Through Barriers


While many businesses chased hefty external funding, we decided to stick to our guns. 

Observing our competitors in the industry, especially those who had raised over $40 million, we realized that large funding isn't the sole recipe for success. What mattered was our connection with our customers and understanding their true needs.

We shifted our focus to community building. Our clientele wasn't just customers; they were our ambassadors. They spread the word, shared feedback, and were instrumental in our growth. It became evident that we were setting ourselves apart by making them feel valued and included.

Empowerment and Growth

One core value underpinning Latched & Hooked is the idea of empowerment—not just empowering our customers with high-quality, sensitive-scalp-friendly products and our employees. 

They're not just workers but part of the Latched & Hooked family.

We unlocked their full potential by fostering an environment where employees felt seen, heard, and valued. This isn't just about making them feel like they belong and helping them grow professionally and personally.

The journey of Latched & Hooked is more than just a business story; it's a tale of resilience, community, and empowerment. 

It's a reminder that the most profound solutions sometimes arise from personal challenges. Latched & Hooked stands strong today, catering to clients across 49 states and 15 countries. 

It's a testament to what passion, determination, and a strong community can achieve.

Sensitive Scalp Formula

The Power of Problem Solving

 From Personal Need to Business Blueprint

Every great invention or innovation stems from a real-world problem. 

In my case, the problem was right at home. Witnessing my daughter's discomfort and distress due to a lack of sensitive-scalp-friendly hair products was painful. 

I felt the weight of responsibility as a mother, but I also sensed a broader duty to all the other young girls and women facing similar problems. It wasn't just about finding a temporary solution and forging a lasting one.


Embarking on a Chemical Expedition

Admittedly, the world of hair product formulations was alien to me. 

But rather than backing away from what I didn't know, I leaned into it. The unfamiliarity was intimidating, but the desire to solve the problem was stronger. This determination led me straight to the doors of a chemist's lab.

Inside that lab, I dived deep into understanding hair product formulations. I asked questions, sometimes even the naïve ones, to understand what went into these products. 

As I unraveled the chemical jargon, I was taken aback by the shortcuts and harmful substances that often made their way into products that people, including my daughter, used daily.

Driving the Mission with Personal Experience

My daughter's ordeal was not a mere anecdote to the Latched & Hooked story; it was its beating heart. 

It was a stark reminder of why I had embarked on this journey in the first place. Every strand of hair that bore the brunt of harmful chemicals, every itchy and irritated patch on her scalp, fortified my commitment.

It was clear that the market was flooded with products that were detrimental to sensitive scalps. And while many would have taken a step back, deeming it too colossal a challenge, I saw it as an opportunity. 

An opportunity to make a difference for my daughter and everyone who had felt the sting of neglect from the mainstream hair product industry.

The essence of Latched & Hooked was never solely about business growth or revenue. It was always about addressing a genuine problem and creating a space where quality wasn't compromised for quantity. 

Every bottle, every package, and every formula that came out of our brand was a step towards solving a problem that had long been ignored. 

The power of problem-solving was not just in finding solutions but in changing lives.

Starting Small, Dreaming Big

A Modest Investment, An Immeasurable Vision

The seed funding was modest when Latched & Hooked first sprouted as an idea. 

With just fourteen thousand dollars in hand, many might have perceived it as an uphill battle, almost insurmountable, considering the giants of the industry. 

But it wasn't the size of the investment that mattered; it was the size of the vision, the dream, and the unwavering belief that success wasn't always quantified in dollars and cents.

Measuring Up in a Competitive Landscape

Navigating the saturated hair care industry was akin to a new artist trying to find their voice in a chorus of established singers. 

Many businesses in our realm boasted larger investment injections, swanky marketing campaigns, and broader reach. However, what set Latched & Hooked apart was the authenticity of our mission. 

While many chased after market shares, we pursued heart shares—connecting with customers personally, understanding their pain points, and delivering genuine solutions.

The Double-Edged Sword of Rapid Growth

In the world of startups and businesses, rapid growth is often glamorized. 

But with meteoric rises come the very real dangers of becoming detached from one's roots. There's a fine line between scaling a business and diluting its essence. 

The risk is expanding so quickly that you lose touch with the people who fueled your ascent: the customers.

For Latched & Hooked, maintaining a close connection with our community was paramount. We knew that rapid growth could sometimes blind businesses, making them forget their initial mission, overlook customer feedback, and get lost in the numbers. 

We were determined to grow, but not at the expense of our core values and customers' trust.

Embarking on the Latched & Hooked journey with a relatively small investment was a testament to the age-old adage: "It's not about the resources, but the resourcefulness." 

By prioritizing our mission over metrics and keeping the needs of our customers at the heart of our decisions, we found our unique voice in a crowded market. 

Success was defined not by rapid growth but by the depth of our impact.

Natural Hair and making money

Employee Empowerment and Growth

The Collective 'Ours' over the Singular 'Mine'

When I founded Latched & Hooked, one philosophy stood clear: success would be shared. 

This was not a one-woman show. The beauty of a business is not just in its products or profits but in its people. By shifting the narrative from "mine" to "ours," we cultivated a sense of shared ownership. 

Every milestone reached was a collective achievement, and every setback was a shared challenge.

Empowering the Pillars of Latched & Hooked

Employees aren’t just workers; they are the pillars holding the edifice of a company. 

Empowering them means more than just delegating tasks. It's about making them feel seen and heard and integral to the brand's journey. At Latched & Hooked, we invested in their skills and ideas, understanding that their growth was inextricably linked to ours. 

When employees feel part of a bigger vision, they don’t just work for a paycheck but for a purpose.


Stories from the Heart of Our Workforce

I remember Jasmine, one of our early team members, who came to us as a junior marketing associate. 

She often shared ideas, many of which unexpectedly shaped our campaigns. Over time, her confidence soared. She said, "Here, I don’t just do a job. I build something. I see it grow." 

Today, Jasmine leads a department and frequently credits her time at Latched & Hooked for professional and personal growth.

Then there's Leo from our product development team. He took his experience with us and launched a complementary business with our full encouragement. His brand focuses on sustainable hair care packaging—a testament to the forward-thinking and entrepreneurial spirit we nurture within our company walls.

The heartbeat of Latched & Hooked has always been its people. 

We've built more than a brand by fostering an environment of mutual respect, empowerment, and shared growth. We've cultivated a family. A family where each member feels a deep connection to our mission and takes pride in every strand of success. 

It’s a testament to the fact that when businesses invest in their people, they don’t just grow in profits—they grow in purpose.

A Constant State of Learning

The Ever-Evolving Landscape of Business

In today’s fast-paced world, yesterday's innovation can easily become tomorrow's antiquity. 

For Latched & Hooked, resting on laurels was never an option. The beauty industry's dynamic nature and our customers' evolving needs necessitated a culture of continuous learning. 

This wasn’t just about keeping up with trends but understanding deeper shifts in consumer behavior, technology, and sustainable practices.

 Advice for the Next Wave of Entrepreneurs

To all budding entrepreneurs reading this, here's my earnest advice: Stay rooted in purpose. 

While evolving with the times is essential, never lose sight of the core problem your business aims to solve. Trends come and go, but genuine solutions have a lasting impact. Moreover, always keep the customer at the heart of your venture. 

A happy customer isn’t just a transaction; they're your best marketer, critic, and partner in growth.


The Myth of the "Expert"

There's a certain allure to branding oneself as an "expert." It implies mastery, authority, and an end to the learning journey. However, in my experience, we risk shutting doors to new perspectives and knowledge when we label ourselves experts. The true power lies in acknowledging what we don't know. At Latched & Hooked, we pride ourselves on being perpetual students. While we celebrate our achievements and knowledge, we remain open to the idea that there's always more to learn, more ways to grow, and more horizons to explore.

Staying in a constant state of learning is more than just a strategy; it’s a mindset. It’s about embracing change, seeking feedback, and understanding that the journey of knowledge is endless. In the ever-evolving dance of business, those who remain curious, adaptable, and grounded in their mission are the ones who truly thrive.

Team business plan

Essential Reads and Inspirations

A Financial Framework: "Fix This Next"

Entrepreneurs dream of financial stability and success, but the path isn’t always straightforward. 

Mike Michalowicz’s "Fix This Next" was a game-changer for me. It provides a clear blueprint for identifying the most pressing problems in your business and addressing them systematically. 

Instead of being overwhelmed by myriad issues, the book taught me to prioritize what truly matters and fix issues logically, paving the way for sustainable growth.

The Path to Profitability: "Profit First"

Another gem from Mike Michalowicz "Profit First," flipped traditional business accounting on its head for me. Instead of the age-old formula of Sales - Expenses = Profit, Michalowicz argues for Sales - Profit = Expenses. 

This simple shift ensures that you prioritize profitability from the beginning, reshaping how you approach your business finances. 

For Latched & Hooked, this book was instrumental in helping us craft a financial strategy that prioritized our bottom line without compromising on quality or our mission.

 A Dive into the Beauty World: "Fearless Beauty"

For anyone in the beauty sector, or even those with a passing interest, "Fearless Beauty" is a must-read. It’s not just about beauty trends or aesthetics; it dives deep into the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the beauty industry. 

The stories of resilience, creativity, and disruption are incredibly inspiring. Reading it gave me fresh perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the beauty world and further solidified my commitment to making Latched & Hooked a brand that stands out, not just for our products, but for our ethos and values.

Books have always been a source of wisdom and guidance for me. They offer insights from experts who have been through the challenges and can offer both cautionary tales and success stories. These reads provide a rich tapestry of knowledge, strategy, and inspiration for any entrepreneur or beauty enthusiast. 

They've been instrumental in my journey, and I hope they enlighten yours too.

The Impact of Sharing the Journey

The Full Spectrum of Entrepreneurship

In today's age of curated social media feeds, where success is often amplified and the struggles concealed, it's tempting only to showcase the highs of the entrepreneurial voyage. 

However, I firmly believe in sharing both the triumphs and the tribulations. Why? Entrepreneurship is not a linear path; it's a mosaic of peaks and valleys. By revealing the lows, we demystify the entrepreneurial process and offer a more realistic portrayal of building a business. 

This holistic perspective educates aspiring entrepreneurs about potential pitfalls and prepares them for the resilience and tenacity required.

Seeing Yourself in Another's Story

One of the most profound impacts of sharing an authentic journey is the power of relatability. When someone hears your story, with all its bumps and curves, they might see a reflection of their own aspirations, fears, and dreams. This connection fosters community and unity, reminding us we're not alone in our challenges. 

Whenever I've opened up about a setback or a lesson learned with Latched & Hooked, I've received countless messages from individuals who've experienced similar situations, thanking me for giving voice to a shared experience.

A Beacon of Hope

Every entrepreneur has moments of doubt when they question if they're on the right path or if their dreams are too big. 

By sharing my journey with its challenges, I hope to serve as a testament to the fact that perseverance, passion, and authenticity can pave the way for success. Every setback I've faced, and every obstacle I've overcome are a testament to the power of determination. 

And if my story can offer even a glimmer of hope or motivation to someone at a crossroads, then sharing it is more than worth it.

Transparency in our stories does more than just paint an authentic picture—it bridges gaps, offers solace, and becomes a beacon for those navigating the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship. 

By sharing our journeys, highs and lows alike, we build a community that thrives on collective strength, understanding, and encouragement.

Black Woman Entrepreneuer

Connect with Tiffini Gatlin and Latched & Hooked

Personal Touchpoints: Get to Know Me Better

For those who've been inspired or intrigued by my journey, I'd love to continue the conversation on a more personal level. Catch glimpses of my daily life, insights, and, of course, all things Latched & Hooked:

Instagram: @TiffiniGatlin - Dive into my visual diary filled with candid moments, behind-the-scenes snippets, and entrepreneurial musings.

Twitter: @Tiffini_Gatlin - Join me for more real-time chats, updates, and occasional deep dives into the world of beauty and business.


Latched & Hooked: Your Go-To for Premium Hair Products

Our brand is more than just a business; it's a community. 

We're constantly evolving, innovating, and listening to YOU. Stay updated, get exclusive deals, and immerse yourself in the world of Latched & Hooked:

Amazon Store: Search for "Latched & Hooked" and get our premium products delivered to your doorstep. Prime members, you're in for speedy deliveries!

Instagram: @LatchedAndHooked - A curated feed showcasing our vibrant community, latest products, and hair inspiration for days.

YouTube: Latched & Hooked Channel - From tutorials and product launches to customer reviews, hit that subscribe button and ring the bell for updates!

Official Website: www.latchedandhooked.com - Dive deeper into our story, browse our catalog, and perhaps pen down a review.

A Whimsical Shout-Out to the Equality State!

Hey, beautiful people of Wyoming! We've made our mark in 49 states, and guess what? 

YOU could help us achieve the big 50! So why not indulge in a hair treat and become a part of our story?

Staying connected enriches our community, offering insights, feedback, and, most of all, the stories that intertwine with ours. 

Whether through a tweet, a comment, or a product purchase, every interaction is cherished. Let's continue this beautiful journey together!

Until then!

As I sat there in Private Label Studios, retracing the myriad steps of my journey with Latched & Hooked, it felt like flipping through a scrapbook filled with challenges, victories, lessons, and cherished memories. 

From those early days when the seeds of an idea began to sprout to the highs and lows that shaped our brand, every moment has been a lesson in persistence, passion, and the power of community.

It's essential to recognize that Latched & Hooked is not just a brand or a collection of products. 

It's a testament to the idea that magic happens when you connect with a genuine problem, stay rooted in your purpose, and lead with heart and authenticity.

I am eternally grateful for the love, support, and trust shown to us. 

Our community's countless messages, reviews, and stories are the wind beneath our wings. They propel us forward, reminding us of why we started and the lives we touch every day.

To everyone reading this, whether you're a loyal customer or someone just discovering our story, I invite you to join our journey. 

Share with us your hair stories, the challenges you've faced, and the beauty solutions you seek. Because at the end of the day, Latched & Hooked isn't just about hair products; it's about connections, stories, and shared experiences.

Thank you for being a part of our story. Here's to many more chapters filled with growth, innovation, and transformative beauty experiences. Cheers!


To all the excellent listeners and viewers tuning in on YouTube — hey there! 

If this conversation resonated with you or if you found any part of the Latched & Hooked journey insightful, I'd love to hear from you. Your feedback and stories are the heart of our community.

Do me a favor. If you enjoyed this segment, go ahead and hit that like button. It truly makes a difference. 

And if you're eager to hear more about the behind-the-scenes stories, the beauty industry, or the roller-coaster world of entrepreneurship, subscribe to our channel. 

Each click, comment, and share fuels our mission to create meaningful, enlightening content for all of you.

Lastly, don't forget to comment below.

 Whether it's a personal anecdote, a question, or just a quick hello, I read every single one. Your voice is important to us, and this platform is as much yours as it is ours.

Looking forward to our next conversation.

 Until then, keep shining and growing, and let's keep this wonderful community thriving! 

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