Some entrepreneurs want to change the world. Some come to the market hoping to disrupt a segment, burn everything that came before them and recreate whatever vertical they have taken on in their own image.
The Longhairs aren't those type of entrepreneurs.
Co-founders Chris Healy and Lindsay Barton — coming off a recently successful Shark Tank appearance — had a much simpler goal. They aim to create hair care products and accessories for a long-overlooked population of men: those “aspiring longhairs and guys with majestic flow.”
According to the company's website, its mission is advocate, educate and celebrate the flow.
The founders do not, however, take themselves too seriously. That's because, back in 2015, in their early founding days, the project was a lot more about passion than it was about profit. Barton and Healy met as students and fraternity brothers at Fresno State, and their first entrepreneurial effort had nothing to do with helping people live the rockstar lifestyle at the follicle level. The two had instead formed a digital marketing company.
They had also begun to grow out their hair.
But, after a successful meeting with a client, they had two observations. One, they didn't want to just help others market their products. Two, men with “majestic flow" simply didn't have products really created specifically for them. There are plenty of long hair products in the market, of course, but those products are almost exclusively marketed to women.
“Men with long hair want to look stylish,” Barton said. “They don't necessarily want to smell like flowers or be wearing a pink scrunchie, however.”
Long hair, they reasoned, is manly. Rock stars have long hair, pirates have long hair and men participating in the long hair culture needed accessories that properly denoted their manliness.
Barton and Healy decided to make their passion a business. They'd soon written a plethora of blog posts about long hair and starting designing sturdy hair ties that wouldn't snap. Not only were they strong, they were also adorned with manly images such as flames, skulls and rocket launchers.
It took the world a while to catch on.
“Things started out slow the first year with just our moms as customers, but it began to pick up,” Barton noted.
Soon enough, the other long-haired men started to come out of the woodwork. They were ready to grow it and show it.
In its first year, The Longhairs business did just $25,000 in sales, but its founders are projecting $140,000 in sales selling through the company's website and Amazon by the end of year two. Moreover, their margins are pretty powerful. The company sells four-packs of hair ties for $12, but they cost about $1.60 to make. A headband costs $16 (and costs about the same to make).
That quick — and largely profitable — growth has attracted the attention of the sharks, literally. Barton and Healy appeared on Shark Tank about a week ago (the appearance was filmed in advance) and actually managed to bring down a $100,000 deal with Mark Cuban for their product.
Both founders noted the experience was somewhat incredible as the speed of the trip from open casting call to finalist was something of a whirlwind.
More incredible perhaps, however, was their pitch. They made all the male Sharks wear long wigs so they could fully understand the importance of The Longhairs' offerings. Shark Robert Herjavec attempted to style his wig into a man bun with The Longhairs products. He was accused of looking like “a reject from freakin' Hamilton” by Mark Cuban.
Cuban, however, did like the products.
“It is a fun little business,” Cuban noted. “I give you guys credit.”
In the end, it was Cuban and fellow Shark Kevin O'Leary who went head-to-head making offers to the firm. Cuban won with an offer of $100,000 for a 20 percent stake.
“We struck a deal with the big dog,” Barton said. “We're in business with Mark Cuban.”
Now, with funds in hand, he and Healy are ready to go out and preach the gospel of long hair to anyone who will listen.
“From Samson to Jesus to George Washington, real men let it ride,” Barton said. “Don’t let ’em convince you otherwise.”