From securing voting rights in 1920 to launching world-renowned corporations, we’ve come a long way as females! International Women’s Day takes place on March 8th this year. It’s a global day that champions the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women all around the globe. We tend to go full speed all year but for one day, International Women’s Day allows us to take a pause and applaud the baddies around us.
Here at Mane Addicts, we love celebrating women and their accomplishments more than anyone. This series will take you inside the lives and minds of some of the biggest female names in hair.
If you’ve worn a hair accessory in the past couple of years, chances are you have Cassandra Thurswell to thank for it. This boss lady founded Kitsch, a global accessories brand well-known for their trendy hair clips and headbands, in 2010.
She started the company with 15,000 hair ties she made in her apartment and has grown it to a brand seen on celebrities like Kylie Jenner, Kerry Washington, and Ariana Grande. How’s that for inspiration? Cassandra spills all to Mane Addicts regarding her career and what routines help her continue to kill it day after day.
MA: Tell us about your business. How did you get started in hair?
Cassandra Thurswell: I’ve always wanted to have a brand, and I’ve always loved beauty products. When I started Kitsch I thought about my personal style, which has always been simple, so I asked the question, “What do I use every day? What products could I be proud of making, that would deliver function and I could actually afford?” The first product I started making was a basic knotted hair-tie. I handmade every single one. We went from 10 people in my living room helping me finish an order for Nordstrom to 50 employees working all over the world.
MA: What was the first step you took to start your company?
Cassandra Thurswell: I think a lot of entrepreneurs don’t realize their first steps to starting their company actually started when they were young. There are so many experiences you have in life that give you tools that you use to run a business. I did a lot of random things after graduating from college, but every experience helped me learn about what makes a successful business. Without knowing it, I was trying to piece together my own, experiential, MBA program. I also started saving money to fund my company. I stopped going out to eat, stopped buying makeup, stopped getting coffee, stopped cutting my hair, and by the time I was 25 I had saved up $30,000. That’s when I made my move.
MA: What have you found useful to get through the hard times?
Cassandra Thurswell: I think this quote from Tony Robbins says it all, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.” Setting crazy goals that make you uncomfortable and not meeting them can make you feel like failing, but it’s important to take a step back and remember the big picture. They are just stepping stones. I believe in looking at challenges and hardships not as a sign to stop, but as an opportunity to change. Numerous times we’d find ourselves thinking we were missing out or failed at a perfect opportunity, only to realize something much better was on its way. Look at the obstacles as education, and they will only make you stronger.
MA: What makes you unique as a female entrepreneur?
Cassandra Thurswell: It’s weird to say this, but my business is boot-strapped, which is very unique these days. I think a lot of people feel the need to have big investors come in and fund their company to spend a fortune on advertising and inventory. Nine years later, Kitsch is still self-funded and debt-free. I remember that first year walking to the bank to cash my first $13,000 check and I was overwhelmed with emotions knowing I was going to be able to pay off my credit card. We have had rapid growth over these past few years. In 2018, I’m proud to say that Kitsch did 8-figures in sales. In 2019, we doubled our 2018 sales.
MA: What is the best advice you’ve received on your entrepreneur journey?
Cassandra Thurswell: The biggest lesson learned has been to not compare my company’s growth to others’. I’d hear these stories of companies doing XX millions of dollars a year only to realize they were deeply in debt or had tiny profit margins. I have this quote that I live by and it’s, “The secret to having it all is knowing you already do,” and it speaks volumes to the happiness of being a business owner. You’ll never get it all done, so enjoy the process of growing your business.
Do you have any tips for young females looking to get into the hair business?
Cassandra Thurswell: Make sure your “why” is strong enough to sustain you for a long road of ups and downs. I’m on the product side of the business, which is equally as exciting (and stressful) as the people side of the business. Regardless of which area you’re interested in, the best tip I can give is to listen to your clients and buyers. It’s important to sift through that information, use your expertise, and see if your “why’s” are aligned. Sometimes they won’t be and it’s up to you to see if it’s something worth pursuing. If you’re clear and honest with yourself on what you’re building your business for, it will give you purpose. There are many times I worked for free, and it benefited me greatly in the long run. Just be honest with yourself about what you are working for every day.
What is your morning routine? How does it help you kick off your day?
Cassandra Thurswell: I start most days with a 30-minute meditation and a few minutes of setting my intentions for what I want for the day/week/month/year. I’ve been taking freezing cold showers, which I’m starting to love, and I drink a large green juice. I also set an alarm that goes off 3x a day that has three words reminding me of the person that I hope to be. The first one goes off at 7:00 am and it’s a great way to check in to make sure what I’m doing is on track with who I strive to be. These morning rituals help me to start my day satisfying my own needs before serving others.
What tech device or app do you credit for making you more productive?
Cassandra Thurswell: I recently got SuperHuman as an upgrade to my Gmail, and it has saved me hours of sifting through emails. I was waking up to 100+ emails in the morning, and the shortcut function has made it easy to bring it down to 50 in less than an hour. I highly recommend it to anyone who uses email as their main source of communication. We also use Later.com for managing our social media. It’s very helpful to make sure all of our marketing efforts are organized and aligned.