If you know anything about hair extensions, you’ve probably heard of Covet & Mane.
Founded in 2019, this beauty brand disrupted the industry from its inception. Understandably so. The world’s first line of customizable hand-tied hair extensions, Covet & Mane products give stylists unparalleled control over color and texture. With a patent-pending, cut-point weft design, Covet & Mane extensions create the optimal experience by seamlessly blending into your natural tresses. They’re the real deal.
This week, we talked all things Covet & Mane with founder Dafina Smith. From cutting edge products to education initiatives, find out how one industry innovator revolutionized the hair extension space.
Roots in the Beauty Industry
For Dafina, the beauty industry is basically in her blood. “My hair journey began as a child when my parents opened their first beauty supply store in Minneapolis” she explains. “[S]he treated the store like the ultimate beauty classroom, teaching every employee (including me and my sisters) how to treat customers with respect and dignity while sharing her extensive knowledge about the hair industry” Dafina says. Growing up in such an exciting space sparked her passion for education and excellence in haircare.
The Importance of Hands-On Peer Education
Before launching in 2019, Dafina noticed a gap in the extension industry. “I saw the transformational power hand tied hair extensions had when placed in the hands of a well trained artisan but there were a lot of flaws in the multi-million-dollar hair extension industry” she says. “It was filled with hard-to-use products, had issues with distribution, and a lack of standardization in cosmetology school created a very hit-or-miss experience for clients and stylists.”
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Dafina set out to overhaul these inconsistencies and inconveniences, focusing on “the belief that the quality of the hairstylist is just as important as the quality of the hair.” Because hair extensions are not taught in beauty school, most stylists learn to apply them in a one-day private class. Dafina sought to change that process with Covet & Mane’s “Covet Collective” and a slate of unique educational programming.
“I have always said I want Covet & Mane to be the “Chanel of hair extensions” and that means focusing on comprehensive, hands-on, peer led education and mentorship through the Covet Collective” Dafina elaborates. With an exclusive group of professional stylists, Dafina has been able to “focus on the brand’s signature method while empowering stylists to invest in their own success.”
A Flexible, Customizable Extension Design
Covet & Mane’s patent-pending, hand-tied, cut-point weft design really sets it apart from other hair extension manufacturers. With this seamless, customizable product, Dafina took a staple product and elevated it.
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“Hand tied extensions provide a unique natural, invisible look,” Dafina explains, “they are lighter, more flexible, cause less damage and are easier to style than bonded or tape-in extensions.” According to Dafina, this signature structure also allows clients and stylists to use hair products and hot tools freely without worrying about breaking bonds. “Hand tied extensions make it easy to customize extensions to fit each person’s individual head but until we introduced Covet & Mane’s patent-pending cut point wefts, stylists had to use glue and other methods to tie the hair off and prevent shedding or unraveling” she continues. Truly breaking new ground over here.
Vision, Creativity and Passion Are the Key to Success
So what exactly goes into making it big in the beauty industry? “You don’t need investors, you don’t need a ton of startup money, you don’t need an MBA,” Dafina emphasizes, “[y]ou need vision, creativity and passion.” The first step to building a successful brand is absolutely loving your product…and then creating actionable plans with deadlines and benchmarks. And, as always, quality is key. “It’s so much easier to bring a product to market when you don’t cut corners on quality because in the end it will save you money when you drive sales from referrals and word of mouth” Dafina explains.
A More Inclusive Future
In just two short years, Covet & Mane has spurred serious change in the hair extension sector. But the beauty industry on the whole still has some work to do. Especially when it comes to creative inclusive spaces for people of all hair types and textures.
“I’d love to see our industry be able to serve the entire human experience regardless of hair texture” Dafina says. “It breaks my heart to hear women with curly and kinky hair share their experience of feeling marginalized when they go into salons and are told the stylists don’t know how to do their hair.” The industry should acknowledge that texture and diversity are the future – especially when it comes to educational curriculum. “I think in order to be licensed you should be able to do everyone’s hair,” Dafina elaborates, “[o]ur profession is so magical we shouldn’t let this hold us back.” Covet & Mane certainly takes this message to heart.
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