When I first started selling healthy hair products it was to friends and my inventory was a small box of shampoo bars I brought with me when I moved to Bangkok. My homemade hair masks and hair rinses would come to mind months later as I ran out of shampoo bars and needed to make another order. If you live in Bangkok and get mail, you know how expensive it could be and the chances that customs might hold it, if the mail is too big or weighs to much is very high. Well, I decided to take my chances not only because of my hair needed special products but because more and more friends asked me for products and encouraged me to focus on selling products rather than building an online professional hair network (that was my first venture: Natural Hair Capital) because people were more interested in products and I could not compete with Facebook or LinkedIn. After 3 years of research, interviews, and meeting people in the online Natural Hair Community, I had to face hard truth that Natural Hair Capital was not going to be profitable. Though NHC was not profitable, the connections I made with women entrepreneurs has been invaluable and many product makers were happy to work with me to expand their customer base in Bangkok.
So half way into 2016 and when I needed to replenish my hair products, I ordered hair products not only for myself but enough for friends and to sell online. Shampoo bars, liquid shampoos and conditioners that were natural, chemical free, and from the US I knew people would definitely appreciate quality products! The challenge I learned getting into the cosmetic business is, the way to market to customers in Thailand is very different from westerners, so despite good products I also had to learn how to market to expats, Thais, and in a country where packaging and cuteness was very important. In addition, logistics of shipping cosmetic products and dealing with customs (many don't speak English and how online tracking tools are not accurate so it's really a game of luck). Despite the challenges and the many mistakes I made, to play it safe I thought to myself, "I can make products from local fruits and oils to that customers who appreciated fresh and completely natural products. Back in university when I started my natural hair journey I made hair masks out of eggs, avocados, and aloe vera and gave samples to my natural hair friends, so I could definitely do it here. A few weeks of practice, giving out samples, and waiting weeks for my imported products, I was in business for myself and discovered Chinatown (my new favourite place) and it's many suppliers that would help me create cute and marketable packaging for fresh homemade products.
The creation of Healthy Hair Asia, fresh homemade hair masks and rinses, imported natural hair products, and hair care really came together in November 2017. I officially expanded my customer base to include all hair types: straight, wavy, curly, kinky (No more My Sister's Closet for curly hair care), I created my Facebook shop Healthy Hair Asia which enables me to keep in contact with my customers and get feedback (good and bad), established a wonderful and supportive network of friends after living in Bangkok for officially 1 year (all my friends have tried out my products and gave critical feedback so I can improve my products and marketing), and I participated in my first market as a hair vendor at theCommons in Thong Lo (all my friends came to support), and most importantly that many people are silently suffering from hair problems, whether its hair fall, shedding, dry hair, slit ends, itchy scalp, people are too afraid or embarrassed to ask for help or know where to buy good products. My first year in business (well starting as a hobby) I have learned a lot have big plans for 2017.
Healthy Hair Asia in 2017 friends, customers, and whoever cares to shop or take a look at my Facebook page will see new products, nicer pictures and packaging (I am so ashamed of the pictures I posted when I first opened my Facebook shop!), informational videos (how to use the products), workshops, and hair service for all hair types.
The shop will be opening on Thursday January 19, 2017 so check out the Facebook shop (I'm still updating and making changes) and let me know what you think! So excited thank you all for being with my on this amazing journey!