Community//

Shelley Goodstein: “Elimination of deceptive beauty”

As a woman in the hair business, I think that great hair makes a difference in how you feel about yourself. There’s nothing sexier than confidence. Full hair will make your body look thinner and it’s the one thing you can’t Photoshop. A girl’s hair is what differentiates us from men. But even boys can […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!

As a woman in the hair business, I think that great hair makes a difference in how you feel about yourself. There’s nothing sexier than confidence. Full hair will make your body look thinner and it’s the one thing you can’t Photoshop. A girl’s hair is what differentiates us from men. But even boys can be insecure about thinning hair. Who knows — they might be our next new target market for hair extensions.


As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley Goodstein.

Shelley Goodstein is an American entrepreneur, model, author, beauty editor and founder of Hidden Crown Hair Extensions. A beauty queen that competed in Miss USA, she now has a Crown® that makes her a lot of money. Shelley has quietly built one of the fastest growing hair extension companies in the world. https://hiddencrownhair.com


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?

Adding “entrepreneur” to my resume was never on my list, but I’m a firm believer that everything you do brings you to where you are. All of my life experiences helped me to be able to launch this company. I was in the beauty industry and wrote Face This: Real Advice from Real Models, a book about what I learned behind the scenes. Then I started a blog called A Model’s Secrets to help promote my book. Google would regularly send 7,000 people a day to it, and it now has over 7 million views. From that blog, I began to advertise and sell my hair extensions which led me to create the business, Hidden Crown Hair Extensions.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

I started Hidden Crown in a small home office and as a one woman show — I answered all emails, designed, produced and shipped the product, handled the marketing and inventory management, and all the financials. That first year, I never took a day off. Looking back, it’s funny that I never even told anyone for a long time that I had started this online business. I was regularly doing beauty spots for NBC in Phoenix, so no one ever questioned why I was promoting products on my blog. I was just always doing that. Big boxes arriving at my house were a common thing. I would work while my kids were at school or slip away to my upstairs office, so even they didn’t know. Then one day, I’m looking at Instagram and there’s Khloe Kardashian wearing my hair extensions! And that was it. I finally took ownership! I really loved that I had this little secret for a moment and then instantly it was a big deal. Especially with my kids. I love that too!

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?

After year one, I hired someone part time to handle shipping and another person who was a hair expert to help with customer service and video content. We collaborated with celebrity hair stylists and quickly became known as a celebrity brand. JLo, Kim Kardashian, Real Housewives, models like Gigi Hadid and singers like Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea have all been pictured wearing our hair. Our extensions are temporary, DIY, and easy to do at home in less than a minute. But having celebrities wear our hair was a powerful endorsement that we were a high quality brand, but one that everyday girls could afford. That message has always been important to me and it’s one of the reasons I started my company. I wanted to provide great quality hair at a good price that was simple to use. I wanted to share what the A-listers who walk the red carpet knew about looking their best.

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?

I started my business in September, 2013. I grossed 750K dollars in sales that first year and was profitable from day one. Every penny I made went back into inventory. My bank account was literally packages of hair, not cash. One day I had lunch with my financial advisor. I had outgrown my home office and was wondering if we could afford to move. I told him I was nervous. Were my hair extensions a “REAL” business? He looked at me and told me straight out that not only did I have a real business, but that I had a really successful one! He said most businesses don’t make it the first year, and if they do, they usually don’t see profits for at least three years. I bought a new home the next week!

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?

Hair extensions are not new, but I have two patent-pending hair designs. I created the products for Hidden Crown because I wanted an easy way to give people gorgeous hair without the damage often seen with permanent extensions, nor the expense. I created new ways to apply hair that were easier. Take for example the ponytail. Ponytails are not new, but ours is attached with a bungee cord to the base of your own pony. It’s easy and innovative. It’s not a new class of products, but it’s better than what was there before.

Being able to market my hair extensions and actually show people in less than a minute how they can apply it and purchase it online has been a game changer. One of the most unexpected blessings has been the outpouring of messages we’ve received from customers. One woman who purchased our halo style extension wrote to me and said, “I’m still here — I beat cancer! And I want ladies to know that you can still wear your halo during treatment. My husband used Velcro to attach the hair to a hat. I would just put on my hat and THERE I WAS AGAIN!” It was such a beautiful moment.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?

It’s the Age of Digital. What’s most exciting is that sales channels for beauty have become more accessible, and Hidden Crown has always been online — a direct to consumer company makes us perfectly positioned for this. I think digital is moving faster than anyone could have predicted. E-commerce, online marketing, virtual product launches, and live streaming are more important than ever. Leveraging what we’ve learned about online sales and marketing technology is going to give us a competitive advantage in a growing digital market.

It’s the Age of Social Responsibility. As with all markets today demonstrating more social and cultural responsibility, I believe we’ll soon see greater diversity and inclusivity expressed in the beauty industry. People are recognizing a new value system in what’s socially important, in business as well and in their personal lives. And we want to be part of that movement.

It’s the Age of Transformation and Adaptation. People are working from home through Zoom calls and, in the case of the beauty industry, through virtual photo shoots with professional photographers. Consumer versus branded content are becoming more differentiated and relevant, done by strategic partnerships and collaborations. Understanding the best way to engage with people and knowing your customers is becoming more important than ever. It’s critical to “keep it real” because consumers are nervous about the future. Beauty is a different kind of product or service. It’s purpose is to make people feel good about themselves. That leads to an extra importance that consumers trust who they buy from.

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?

  1. Honest advertising. I can’t tell you how many copyright infringements I report of photos and videos that some, mostly foreign, companies steal from our brand to sell synthetic, inferior products. Legal oversight on an international level has got to improve.
  2. Product integrity and human rights ethics. All of our hair products are 100% human hair, ethically sourced and without forced prison or child labor. I know the cosmetic industry has their own issues with safe ingredients. We must become 100% transparent and verified regarding these issues.
  3. Elimination of deceptive beauty. Accountability in our industry is needed. Real photos of real results and real “Before and Afters.” This is why user content is much more powerful than branded content. Customers can believe and trust it.

You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?

As a woman in the hair business, I think that great hair makes a difference in how you feel about yourself. There’s nothing sexier than confidence. Full hair will make your body look thinner and it’s the one thing you can’t Photoshop. A girl’s hair is what differentiates us from men. But even boys can be insecure about thinning hair. Who knows — they might be our next new target market for hair extensions.

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.

  1. Huge revenue doesn’t necessarily mean huge profits. I know companies that sell more than twice as much as we do, but we’re actually more profitable. It’s important to know your numbers when pricing or discounting.
  2. Organic growth is the very best indicator of company health. A “pay to play” strategy alone is not a business. If you stopped your Facebook and Instagram advertising spend, would you continue to have sales? Paid advertising is here to stay, but you have to have a hybrid of organic reach channels to be successful.
  3. It’s important in the beginning of a business to know every part of your business, but as your company grows you have to hire and learn to delegate and trust other’s expertise.
  4. You must have a passion for your business. And trust your gut! I’m not personally great at doing hair and hadn’t had any expertise in it. I’d never worn extensions except for the ones they clipped onto me for modeling jobs. I loved the way it looked but never had the confidence I could do it myself. That’s what led me to my first no-clip halo style extension. A whole head of hair on an invisible filament without clips or fuss that I could put on in less than a minute. No one was selling anything like it and I knew I couldn’t be the only one who wanted it. I always kept that thought in mind. If it worked for me, I knew others would want it too.
  5. Promote, promote, and promote. And always be on top of customer service. My company became successful because of customers giving great reviews and telling their friends. Build your email list. Email campaigns can bring in 10% of your revenue and are often underutilized.

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. 🙂

You’re never too old or never too young to become an entrepreneur, follow a dream, or begin a movement. I was 50 with three kids when I started a home business that turned into a multi-million dollar company within two years. Divorced at 40 and a type-1 diabetic since childhood, I started over from nothing. Sometimes you don’t realize the best part of your life is in front of you! At 40, I couldn’t have imagined owning a business or traveling the world, meeting the love of my life, or seeing my son develop an app and going after his own entrepreneurial goal. I witnessed all of that and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Some days I’m a better mother and other days I’m a kick-**** Boss Babe, but rarely on the same day. It’s important to realize that’s okay!

How can our readers follow you online?

IG @shellgood

IG @hiddencrownhair

Blog: A Model’s Secrets — https://facethis.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.


Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Katarzyna Rubin: “Be aware that you swim in water full of sharks”

by Jilea Hemmings
Community//

“Smiling makes you feel beautiful and confident.” With Candice Georgiadis & Tabitha Fredrichs

by Candice Georgiadis
Community//

Terra Harvell: “I always say your hair is your crown”

by Jilea Hemmings

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.