Be kind to everyone! The beauty industry is a surprisingly small bubble and despite job changes, role changes, etc., you are constantly running into people you work (or worked) with in some capacity at some point in your career. I cannot tell you how many times a seemingly minor connection has later done me an amazing favor. You are always networking, whether you know it or not!
Asa part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jordynn Wynn and Sharon Pak from INH Hair.
Jordynn Wynn, the Co-Founder of Insert Name Here Hair, is a visionary entrepreneur whose expertise in brand-building and influencer marketing has turned a niche idea into a multi-million dollar business. Jordynn’s career began at ColourPop Cosmetics, where she helped concept and launch the brand, led collaborations with big names such as Disney and Sailor Moon, and rose from intern to Marketing Director. In 2018, Jordynn and ColourPop colleague Sharon Pak joined forces to found Insert Name Here Hair, a brand that has revolutionized the way Millennials and Generation Z interact with hair extensions, accessories, and self-expression.
Sharon Pak, the Co-Founder of Insert Name Here Hair, is an ingenious brand-builder with a demonstrated capacity to pioneer successful start-ups in the digital beauty industry. Fresh out of Pepperdine University, Sharon helped launch and scale ColourPop Cosmetics, demonstrating expertise in visual branding and social media marketing while supervising the entire creative department. In 2018, Sharon left ColourPop to turn a niche marketspace into Insert Name Here Hair, a now multi-million dollar business hallmarking self-expression through accessible hair extensions and accessories.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
SP: A career in the beauty industry was beyond my wildest dreams. As a minority raised by South Korean immigrants, I was constantly urged to plan and execute a stringent, stable career path that included at least one of the following: law school, medical school. But it just wasn’t in the stars for me. I remember sitting in my car one day, gathering the courage to tell my mom I wasn’t going to pursue the path she had in mind. That day we got into our biggest blow out fight. “Don’t call me when you’re poor” till this day is a running joke in the family. That moment changed my relationship with my family. It always reminds me that whatever I do my family will ALWAYS be there for me, so the world is my oyster. It has helped me fearlessly go after my dreams. Turns out I am insanely passionate about building brands in the digital space. The stability has been hard-earned, yet also a gift.
JW: At heart I have always been entrepreneurial. At Pepperdine University I had everything from a cheese board company to a recruiting company, and in between classes I ran “braid bars” for local families I nannied for. Growing up, I struggled, as most young women do, with self-image. I learned to channel this into experimentation with hair and beauty, and it became a tool for me to express myself and better my self-perception in a healthy, happy way. I felt like I had discovered something precious, and I wanted to help other people access it.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
SP: We met Co-Founder Kevin Gould at ColourPop through Beauty Con. If the universe ever wanted us to meet someone, it was Kevin — from the very beginning, we couldn’t stop bumping into each other! At airports, events, on the street. Literally everywhere. Then one day he slid into Jordynn and mine’s Instagram DMs. We wound up getting a couple dinners together and he asked us, if you could launch anything what would it be? The rest is history!
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
JW: I remember one day I was checking out at Sephora. Chatting with the woman behind the counter, she asked me what I did for a living. When I told her that I worked at ColourPop, she recognized the name. The whole thing was very surreal because it was the first time that my professional success had been validated by a stranger, and there was something really beautiful in that. It became an impetus for me to keep on building brands and promoting self-expression, with the knowledge and confidence that it was actually reaching a significant number of people. We started with zero followers, and ate, breathed, and slept the brand. You can’t achieve anything unless you are 110% dedicated — and even when you are, it takes years. But it is possible.
SP: In 2018, I was faced with the hardest yet most important decision of my career — whether or not to leave ColourPop. I had been an integral cog to the fastest-growing e-commerce beauty brand since its inception. I wore many hats, went through all the ups and downs, and developed a deep, genuine love for the brand. ColourPop was who I was. Abandoning all of this to start my own business was a massive, scary leap into the unknown, and I found myself wondering for months afterwards whether I made the right choice. In retrospect, this was the tipping point of my entire career — realizing that my identity and self-worth should never be married to anything external, not even ColourPop. This realization has made me a stronger person and therefore stronger businesswoman.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
JW: My co-founder Sharon Pak is the yin to my yang. She has been by my side throughout my entire career. We learn so much from each other, provide honest feedback, and most importantly, support each other. We were made to work together — our skill sets are perfectly complementary. I love wild-storming big ideas that Sharon can finesse into something that is actually realistic. My strengths are more centered around copy and strategic concepting, while Sharon is skilled at creating and implementing structure, and has an amazing visual eye. I love the story of how Sharon and I wound up as colleagues. Right before ColourPop launched, they asked me to help find a peer to work with. I asked all my friends but not a single one was interested in joining a startup. Upon seeking advice from my mom, she suggested that instead of a friend I should reach out to someone I had worked well with at Pepperdine. Of course, it was Sharon!
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
INH presents hair products to the market that people historically have not seen before, or have seen, but are unable to afford. Hair is a major form of self expression, but unfortunately the market isn’t super accessible. Many hair pieces on the market are on extreme ends of the spectrum in regards to quality and price point. At INH we focus on making experimental, high-quality products at more accessible price points. Our goal is to promote self-expression in new, innovative, affordable ways, and to tether a community around this vision. We want to build a following that shares self-love and acceptance with each other. We want our customers to be able to wear their favorite wig, feel beautiful, and maybe share that feeling with others through social media.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
- The modern realm of self-expression is becoming more and more about individuality and diversity — about displaying and loving who you truly are, while also supporting others. Before, looks were all very simple, homogenous, and not as demonstrative of the inner self in radical ways. Nowadays, people are really expressing their individuality and personality through unique colors and styles. The idea that our fun hairstyles contribute to this expression is seriously amazing.
- The industry is beginning to embrace all forms of diversity. It is a beautiful thing to witness so up-close — whether it’s a surge in career development programs focused on diversity, or simply seeing more diversity while scrolling through social media. There is still so much progress left to be made and it is long, long overdue, but I’m grateful that change is becoming more evident and tangible.
- Environmental and social responsibility is spreading like wildfire. Even though we probably won’t experience the full impact of this for a few more years, it is refreshing and hopeful to see the active initiatives brands are making, such as implementing eco-friendly packaging, using clean ingredients, and supporting charitable organizations. What’s even more exciting is the demonstrated consumer support for these initiatives.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
- Cancel Culture
- Cancel Culture is a huge concern of mine. We can’t just shut down or turn our eyes away from problematic content. It’s dangerous. Censorship needs to be replaced with conversation and accountability. If people aren’t held accountable for their actions, how will they change?
2. Lack of inclusivity in high places
- Some companies are performative without walking the walk — we need to be creating concrete, tangible differences for inclusion through career development programs centered around diversity. Small acts like supporting Black folks in an Instagram post is great, but it can’t end there.
3. The amount of waste we are burning through
- The beauty industry is exhibiting this pattern of launch after launch after launch, minus the mindfulness. We need more mindful launches and products in order to care for the environment! We can’t take care of ourselves if we don’t put the planet first.
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
JW: Prioritize investing in yourself. Leave enough time in the morning to get ready, drink water, get enough sleep, and work out (if that’s what you enjoy.) When you consciously make YOU a priority, you feel better. Sometimes cliches say it best — when you feel good on the inside, you look good on the outside.
SP: 100% self-care! What I like to do is light a candle, run a hot bath, and do a full scrub using a Korean spa exfoliating towel. Multi-masked, cuticles cleaned, freshly shaved. Lathered in Sol De Janeiro’s body butter. Best feeling ever!
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
- Remember that no job is too small. I have seen many people “get their foot in the door” at their ideal company with roles that they otherwise would not have been interested in and then work extremely hard, crush that role, and have the opportunity to move into their dream job. I always remember a few star employees at ColourPop who transitioned from Customer Service to Marketing or Product Development.
- Be kind to everyone! The beauty industry is a surprisingly small bubble and despite job changes, role changes, etc., you are constantly running into people you work (or worked) with in some capacity at some point in your career. I cannot tell you how many times a seemingly minor connection has later done me an amazing favor. You are always networking, whether you know it or not!
- Research research research. Immerse yourself in different communities. Identify product, influencer, and social trends. The social media and influencer marketing space is constantly changing. To get ahead, be aware. Recently, we noticed that colored bangs were making waves on Tik Tok. This inspired us to launch our newest Hi-Lite category, a damage-free way to get the colored bangs of your choice! Use social media for its best quality — inspiration.
- Be the connector. I am a huge believer that good things come to those who don’t act based on ego. Without an agenda or motive, connect with people. It will all come back to you in the end. Recently, a great friend I love introducing to my network connected me with a notable figure in the beauty industry who then later asked me to be on her board of advisors.
- Build a strong sense of community. The backbone of a successful beauty brand are its advocates. There is nothing more credible and powerful than a word-of-mouth recommendation! For us, our backbone is INH Babes, our community that shares experiences, favorite products, and even personal life achievements and goals. INH Babes is the heart and soul of INH — without this sense of oneness, our brand would fall into the background and be just like any other beauty brand. A strong sense of community is special, and something that can truly set your brand apart.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
We believe that true change happens at the level of the individual. If we could inspire a movement, it would be simple: each and every person would take thirty minutes out of their day to listen to a podcast, read a book or an article, or engage in a stimulating, productive conversation regarding topical issues. In our modern day and age, there are so many educational resources at our fingertips yet such widespread ignorance, apathy, and misinformation. If we could inspire a movement, it would be education centered around humility, patience, and love. We are so grateful to have INH as a platform to be able to encourage this, even in small ways, such as sharing Instagram posts about relevant causes we care about. If one person stops scrolling to read more about the issue, that’s something.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” — Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge
When launching a start-up, no job is too small. At ColourPop we packaged products by hand and drove them to the post office. At INH we personally scroll through Instagram every day and interact with as many customers as possible. Each and every little thing we do on a daily basis has an impact, however it is not always readily visible — you can’t see the forest through the trees. It’s easy to let the invisibility discourage us, but we’ve learned that you have to just believe that the little things are making a difference. Engage with customers, refine copy, a/b test subject lines. Do the little things over and over, and the compound effect will kick in.
How can our readers follow you online?
- Follow INH on IG @insertnamehere
- Follow Sharon and Jordynn on IG @immbunny & @jordynn.wynn
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.