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Giving customers the opportunity to embrace and love themselves through luxurious hair is what drives Wendy Luxe, LLC. Wendy Okiriguo created her beauty company Wendy Luxe to provide women the opportunity to look and feel their best by offering premium quality virgin hair at an affordable price. The company was launched in 2016 when Wendy was selling products out of the trunk of her car during graduate school. She eventually transitioned into creating an online store that boasts an international customer base that purchases wigs, bundles, and hair accessories.

Wendy prides herself on providing premium hair to her customers and enthusiastically features them on her social media pages where she provides a breakdown of what type of hair they’re wearing and where it’s from. We sat down with Wendy to discuss how her business has evolved, her tips for discovering new customers, and what she learned from building her own website.

What inspired you to start a business in the hair industry?

I always believed that a woman’s hair is her way of making a statement in the world. Whether you wear it long, short, natural, or with a weave I have always been fascinated by how a woman’s hair can tell its own story. Starting a business in the hair industry was never something I set out to do, it just started organically when I was a graduate student at the Southern Illinois University. At the time, I just wanted to be able to switch my hair up without settling for the highly-priced “good human hair” or the cheaper poor quality one.

That set me on a path to find good quality hair without a ridiculous price tag. I invested a few hundred dollars, tested them out, and started selling from the trunk of my car to my friends, community networks, and through online marketplaces. Based on the demand I was getting, it led me to create a website and become an actual business. Now, I ship across the US, Canada, and some African countries and we have been steadily growing. 

Your business is based on premium and luxury hair products, what is the process for sourcing and storing them?

My number one priority when starting this business was to ensure that the quality of my products are top-notch. Although I like to have an affordable price point, I do not compromise on quality for a cheaper price. I import my products from Asia and I have a few trusted vendors that have been properly vetted over time for consistency in providing high-quality products, steady availability, and speedy shipping.

I have a storage facility where I store and constantly check new products as they come in. I periodically send products to hairstylists and experts to properly vet how the products hold up when colored, curled, and tampered with to ensure that it delivers on its quality. Our wigs are mostly made to order and constructed based on our specification on density and style recommendations. 

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, how do you monitor hair trends?

I observe what people and online influencers are gravitating towards especially with wig styles on social media. Depending on the season, I would stock wigs based on demand from customers as well. Some wig styles may sell better in the summer than winter and vice-versa. I also tend not to go too crazy with the trends as tastes do differ. I typically stock more of my best-selling wigs and then experiment with a few colors and styles that are trending at that moment. 

What is a myth you could debunk about wearing wigs? 

“People wear wigs because they are not proud of their natural hair.” That is definitely not true, people wear wigs for different reasons and that doesn’t translate to them not loving their natural hair. I grew up in Nigeria and we Nigerians love switching up our looks. One minute we are rocking some braids and the next month we are experimenting with different colors, lengths, and curl patterns altogether. It’s a way of expressing our love for style and beauty. Also, for people like me whose hair can be unmanageable, especially during cold seasons, wigs are a great protective style to help with my natural hair growth. 

Another myth is that all wigs look fake. This is definitely not the case as there are several natural-looking options available that you can barely tell it’s a wig.

What are 4 recommendations you have for discovering new customers?

As a small business owner they are several ways to attracting your ideal customer irrespective of the competition;

  1. Take advantage of online marketplaces: I have always used online marketplaces like Facebook or OfferUp, where you can list your items for free. They offer great resources to help post and promote your services which is great for entrepreneur’s just starting out.
  2. Social media/ Paid Ads: This one is a given and if you do it right can have a great ROI for your business. I would advise you to get very strategic about social media ads and learn all you can about how to properly run so you don’t end up wasting your marketing dollars (because that happened to me but it’s all a learning process).
  3. Content Marketing: This is one area that can be very helpful to find new customers. It could be blogging, podcasting, or guest posting on topics that would be beneficial to your ideal audience.
  4. Treat every single customer with the utmost respect: This leads to tons of new referrals and repeat sales. 

How have you continued to grow your client relationships while working virtually?

I do love to engage with my customers via email marketing and social media. I try to send out weekly newsletters with new product launches or sometimes just to check in with them. I also try to reach out to them after a purchase to hear their feedback or concerns about the item. 

Instagram is my favorite social media platform but it can be quite overwhelming to keep up to date with all the platforms while maintaining the business side of things. However, it’s such a blessing to have all these channels available to business owners in this day and age. 

Did you build your own website? 

Yes, I did. I built it all from scratch including all the media assets on the product pages, which were photographed by me. 

What are some key factors to consider before building your own website? 

When I built my website, I had very limited knowledge about it and everything I did, was just learning one day at a time. Here are some things you definitely need to learn about:

  1. What web hosting platform is best for the kind of website you wish to build.
  2. Web design or front-end development. You don’t necessarily need to know how to code but even if you are using a pre-made theme, you need to know how to customize it for what you have in mind.
  3. Do comprehensive research on choosing a domain name, content management systems, and SEO.
  4. Plan your website content! Would you be using stock images or original photos? What kind of content would you want on your website? Think from the home page down to the product pages. However, be careful not to spend hours obsessing about the perfect colors or logo. It’s best to start out thinking about the overall website development, functionality & usability to ensure a good user experience.

Do you have a website maintenance routine or process for updating your website?

I schedule time each month to review my website design and check the overall SEO health of my website. I have a webmaster who handles some routine maintenance. Some tasks like product & plugin updates are set up to automatically configure themselves. However, we manually check the plugins especially if the site speed is getting slower.

When I first created my product pages, I omitted some SEO wordings and ALT tags for my images. I recently started revisiting product pages once a week to update keywords, meta titles, and descriptions. Part of our web maintenance routine involves checking links and payment gateways periodically to ensure that nothing is broken. 

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