Name: Lana Boone
Job title: CEO of Kurly Klips
Time in current role: 3 years
Lana is the Founder and CEO of afro and curly hair clip-in brand Kurly Klips.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I never imagined in a million years that I would own a beauty company. I spent my entire education studying journalism and international public policy. But one day a trusted stylist ruined my hair. I had been growing it out and due to her mistake she had to cut it really short. She didn’t apologise and she made me pay full price. I was devastated. Not just because of the length, but I was unemployed with a master’s degree. Getting my hair done was a luxury.
After the disastrous appointment I spent the evening crying on my bathroom floor. Nothing in my professional or personal life seemed to be going right. After shouting out to God in a very melodramatic way – think, “WHY MEEE?? WHYYYYY MEEEEE?!?!!!” – I suddenly got an idea: clip-in extensions for natural hair.
When I googled the term, I couldn’t find a single result that matched my hair texture. I recognised this was an amazing opportunity. Within months, Kurly Klips was born. It was the first company to offer clip-in extensions for both curly and afro textured hair.
What are the key functions of your role?
I bootstrapped Kurly Klips – meaning I financed the start-up of my company. In the beginning I played every single role: operations manager, customer service agent, marketing director, accountant and order fulfillment. The work took up 10 hours of my day but the crash course was necessary. I knew nothing about running a business. Having to learn the basics on the fly made me a stronger entrepreneur.
These days I’m focused on building my team. My goal is to only wear two hats: CEO and operations manager. I really enjoy operations – something I would never have guessed before getting into business.
Talk us through your typical working day
The first thing I do in the morning is exercise. It’s essential for my mental and physical health and it’s a great way to start the day. I also use that time to be mindful and grateful. Even if I’m in the midst of something negative I try to let it go and be 100% satisfied with my present. Quietly talking to God about all the ways I would like to serve the world helps. This ritual keeps me mentally balanced.
Afterwards I prepare my to-do lists and drink a coffee if necessary. Then I have breakfast and check my emails. I really dislike checking emails first thing in the morning because I find them distracting but many of my contractors are located in the UK. The time difference requires me to check in with them pretty early in the AM.
Then I knock out any pressing matters, eat lunch, then try to dedicate my afternoon to business education.
At around 4pm I check in with my customer service manager. In the evening, I try to do something I LOVE like dance class.
Your favourite part of the job?
Creating ways to make my customers happy. I love when the newsletter or a YouTube video makes them laugh. I also love hearing about their unboxing experiences and how they incorporate Kurly Klips into their daily lives.
Hair extensions might not be world-changing, but knowing that the business brings joy to a group of women gives me purpose. I’m so appreciative of my ‘Kurlies’. I always want to provide them with the best.
…and the part you could do without?
These days it’s the marketing aspect. I’m ready to delegate it.
How would your staff and clients describe you in three words?
Positive. Ambitious. Caring.
Plans for the future?
The market has changed so much since the inception of Kurly Klips. When I started, I was the only company selling clip-in extensions for natural hair, now dozens of companies offer a similar product. What used to delight my customer has now become part of the product’s functionality. I hope to cross this chasm by figuring out awesome ways to improve the user experience. I also want to expand globally as well.
I’ll be honest, I used to want to make a quick exit out of the hair extension business. After all it’s never what I sought to do with my life. But as the company develops, I’ve grown so much appreciation for it. I’m getting a hands-on education in scaling a global enterprise and for that I’m mega grateful.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Educate yourself and create realistic goals. Always have a plan and practice the art of letting go. LLY