Many business journeys include unexpected twists and turns. The founder of Fairy Tales Hair Care started out simply running a salon for kids. But a local lice outbreak led her to something bigger. Now, she has products in stores around the country. Read the unlikely story in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers natural hair care products.
Co-founder and CEO Risa Barash told Small Business Trends, “We offer shampoo, conditioners, styling products and lice prevention solutions for every kid (adults love us too!) and their specific hair type.”
Barash says, “Fairy Tales got its start through our hero product, a lice prevention shampoo named Rosemary Repel. We are widely known for our lice prevention product as it quickly became the #1 lice prevention shampoo for kids in the US after we got our start back in 1999. The success of our Rosemary Repel shampoo, provided us with the audience and the chance to create more products that parents don’t just want – they need!”
Business Origin Story
Solving a specific problem for local parents.
Barash explains, “Back in 1999, head lice was running rampant on Long Island, where my family had a kids hair salon called Fairy Tales. The first version of the Rosemary Repel Shampoo was created and sold there. My ex-husband, and also Fairy Tales Hair Care’s co-founder, was stunned when he went in and watched frantic parents come and go with reports of head lice. And the Rosemary Repel Shampoo was flying off the shelves.”
They decided to expand the product and turn it into a family business. So Barash created a business plan. And they sold the product at other salons and eventually mass retailers.
Finding success with other products during the pandemic.
Barash says, “As we all know, with schools shut down, head lice had a sharp decrease. And our Rosemary Repel sales were down by 70%. This turned out to be the perfect opportunity to pivot and focus our attention and our media dollars on the other Fairy Tales’ collections, including Sun & Swim, Tangle Tamer, Curly Q and our newest line, Daily Cleanse. We saw an increase of over 300% per collection and have since used these stats to garner additional SKU placement in major retailers, including CVS, Walgreens, Ulta and more!”
Putting products in retail stores.
Barash explains, “We started as a salon-only hair care line. And when we realized that our customers needed to find our products in retail outlets, we made the shift to start selling retail. Many years ago, this was a big no-no in salon lines. So we were petrified we were going to lose all that business. If it went wrong, we would have lost our major revenue stream. But it turned out that it gave us a lift, as we found that parents want to buy a product they use and love wherever they are – not just in a salon!”
The office dog.
Barash says, “Duke, a chocolate brown Havanese and the love of my life, comes to work with me every day. And he is the official Fairy Tales office pet and Mascot. He makes his rounds each day, visiting everyone for some belly rubs and to see what everyone is having for lunch. He also lets us know when the mailman arrives each day, which always consist of barking like we are being invaded.”
“Just Keep Swimming…” – Dory from Finding Nemo.
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Image: Fairy Tales Hair Care, Risa Barash