“I saw there was a real gap in the industry”: Brand founder on innovating in hair extensions

By Kirsty Doolan

- Last updated on GMT

Serial inventor Nicola Wood has created over 40 different hair industry products
Serial inventor Nicola Wood has created over 40 different hair industry products

Related tags Hair Hair care Cosmetics Innovation

The UK-based brand, Hair Made Easi, is behind many ‘world-first’ products that simplify all aspects of hair extension work. We spoke to founder Nicola Wood about her inspiration and challenges along the way.

Brand founder Nicola Wood is a true entrepreneur and inventor who has created over 40 different products for use in the salon, to help hair industry professionals work smarter, boost revenue, and enhance their clients' experiences,

The brand launched in 2016 when Wood created the Easiweft to help make hair extensions application easier and in 2018 the brand even made an appearance on the BBC's show for entrepreneurs Dragons' Den.

Since 2020, Hair Made Easi has enjoyed double-digit year-on-year growth and its products have piqued the interest of international markets such as the US and Scandinavia.

“I saw there was a real gap in the industry”

Wood herself started out as a hairdresser, but moved into teaching so she could spend time with her children. Eventually missed the buzz of salon life and opened a hair extension salon with a friend.

“I had no money to employ a junior and it was during this time that I found it really difficult to organise the hair extensions without asking my client to hold them throughout the fitting,” she explained.

“There was a huge lack of user-friendly hair extension tools on the market, and I saw there was a real gap in the industry – so I became determined to fill it, hence why I decided to start Hair Made Easi in 2016.”

The first product launch was the Easiweft Hair Extension Holder and Wood said she eagerly jumped into being a founder without any real business plan.

“Being a naive and uneducated inventor back in 2016, I foolishly thought I had everything sewn up after designing the Easiweft. I knew all hair extensions specialists must have been struggling with where to hold their hair extensions and also clip-in hair extension wearers at home needed somewhere to wash, dry style and store their hair extensions. I knew I was going to change the world of hair extensions and I thought it would’ve happened immediately,” she said.

Wood found a local injection moulding tool manufacturer and started to build the business. “I had a meeting with our manufacturer a few months in and I was asked how many we would like to make on our first run,” she shared.

“I started thinking, well there's around 40,000 hairdressers in the UK and hundreds of thousands globally so we are sure to sell out in no time. I’ll start with 5,000.”

Wood launched and website and three weeks later she sold the first Easiweft.

The challenges of building a hair extensions brand

But it quickly became clear that running a business wasn’t as simple as it appeared and Wood admitted there were many challenges along the way.

“It didn't take long to realise that I had a heck of a lot to learn and that building a business was a huge task” she said.

“My expectations were ridiculous – I honestly thought the sales would come flooding in because everyone needed an Easiweft in their life. I look back at my business plan and projections and I honestly don't know how I survived! Overall, this taught me how to be resilient and to never give up.”

Wood shared that having witnessed firsthand the challenges that salon professionals can experience has been a great help in terms of product inspiration.

She also credits the support of her husband Gary and stellar business advice from Prestfield Wealth Management for keeping her on the right track when building the business.

“My key piece of advice for any aspiring entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with like-minded, supportive people who believe in you and want to see you succeed and thrive. Positive people will encourage positive change,” she said. “Also always remember to believe in yourself and to never give up - pick yourself up time and time again when you fall. In business, especially nowadays where there is so much competition, it can be hard to stay motivated when you experience drawbacks.”

International expansion

After it launched in the UK, Hair Made Easi also expanded into the Scandinavian and US markets.

Wood explained that the brand was getting so many Instagram messages asking if it could ship to America and began to sell more products in the US than in the UK, so its marketing strategy shifted and it saw huge growth in this market.

“American hairdressers just seem to get us! They messaged us time and time again telling us how much more revenue they were making now they were using our tools because of all of the time they were saving,” shared Wood.  

Meanwhile, the business’ Scandinavian partnership also came via Instagram from a hair extension brand from Norway. “Vik was also a hair extension specialist and she had been using our tools for a few months. She loved the quality and the rest is history,” Wood explained.

Its latest launch (in November 2023), the XL Luxury Hair Wrap, was its first consumer-facing product. Wood said she’d noticed that it was difficult to find high-quality, efficient products that catered for thick, long hair or hair with extensions so the hair wrap is 100% bigger than standard hair towels.

“It’s perfect for all hair lengths and types and made from premium microfibre towel material which provides superior absorbency for faster drying time and is kind to hair to help prevent damage and significantly reduce frizz,” she shared.

For 2024 and beyond, serial inventor Wood said she plans to keep innovating.  

“I can’t give too much away. But now that we have hair extension tools all sewn up, our next step is to continue expanding our consumer retail line to provide all hair types with a wide range of accessible, innovative products,” she concluded.

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