The Changemakers: The disruptors driving values-based industry evolution
CEO and co-founder, Mayvenn
Hair extensions and wigs have garnered more attention in 2022 as a beauty category in need of innovation. Leading that charge is Diishan Imira, CEO and co-founder of Mayvenn.
In 2022, Mayvenn raised a $40 million Series C round, bringing its total funding to $76 million. The 9-year-old company’s business model centers on a DTC e-commerce store and a marketplace for salon services, which drives new clientele to its network of over 50,000 stylists nationwide. Stylists can direct their clients to buy from the company’s site to receive a 15% commission for each purchase and $100 worth of free hair for every $600 worth of products sold. Over 65% of Mayvenn’s revenue is driven by its stylist partnerships, said Imira. He added that the company has paid out $35 million to stylists since 2013.
In addition to securing funding, Mayvenn began a partnership with Walmart in 2020 through a shop-in-shop concept called Beauty Lounge that it is now expanding. Customers can buy hair extensions and wigs and digitally browse local Mayvenn network stylists in-store to book salon services. Lounges will expand to 400 Walmart locations over the next five years.
What were your biggest business objectives this year?
“This year, we needed to understand the new world we’re living in. We’ve been paying close attention to how consumers are thinking about their hair and beauty, coming out of the pandemic and in the choppy economic environment. We want to know where the consumer’s head is and where the trends are moving, and are doing a lot of experimentation with our customers and with our different sales channels.
In terms of expanding styles and textures, there has been a big shift in the market toward DIY products in this category. Wigs, clip-ins and ponytails are products that customers can do themselves and have accelerated. People have gotten into wigs and have discovered the versatility of them. We’re responding by coming out with several hundred [new] products over the next several months. Historically, Black women bought about 70% or more of all extensions [in the market], but that is rapidly shifting.”
What have you learned from your Walmart partnership?
“We are experimenting and finding some real success by offering customization services. One of the techniques we applied to learning inside of retail was allowing each of our five stores to run independently and experiment with [different product and service] offerings. We could learn faster about what worked, what didn’t work and what was resonating. From there, customization services [emerged]. We’re working to expand that, and we think that’s going to be a big differentiator in the offline world. There are few places where you can go to get wigs and extensions customized.”
What excites you most about the wig and extension category?
“I’m a guy and wasn’t really into beauty, but I had family members who were hairstylists. And what got me into this space itself was empowering hair stylists. To me, they are artists and entrepreneurs. We’ve always built our business to serve the customer and hair stylists in tandem; that’s always been our differentiator and a value add for us. There are creative people in our community that we all depend on to keep us looking good.”
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