Sharon Pak and Jordynn Wynn, Co-Founders of Insert Name Here Hair
Between 1997 and 2017, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114%, a rate 2.5 times higher than the national average. Although women-owned firms represent 39% of all companies, they’re responsible for only 8% of employment and 4% of revenues. This is particularly noteworthy given the recent report, which stated 140K job losses for women this past December due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
For many women, having transversal skills and an entrepreneurial mind can help keep them employed and enable the further advancement of increasing the number of females in leadership roles.
Two women who offer an example of pivoting their careers and creating their own business are Jordynn Wynn and Sharon Pak. They were listed as Forbes 30 Under 30 and are the Co-Founders of Insert Name Here (INH) Hair.
Ms. Wynn and Ms. Pak were Colour Pop’s first two employees and were approached by Kombo Ventures founder Kevin Gould about starting their dream brand. Sharon and Jordynn realized there was a gap in the hair market when it came to audience hesitation and areas where competitors fail to educate consumers – INH is completely transparent in what materials they use for each hairpiece down to their inspiration. Creating high-quality hairpieces using synthetic and organic hair was of utmost importance when devising how to maintain a price point for both entry and luxury pieces.
I spoke to them about moving into this industry, becoming a female entrepreneur, and their advice for other women looking to create their own opportunities in light of the recent job market.
Sharon Pak, co-founder of Insert Name Here Hair
Jordynn’s career began at ColourPop Cosmetics. 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 find INH.
Sharon is a brand-builder with a demonstrated capacity to successfully pioneer startups in the digital beauty industry. 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 market space into INH with Co-Founder Jordynn.
Sharon and Jordynn met in college at Pepperdine University. The two kept crossing paths since day one from the same freshman dorm to the same classes over the years. Towards the end of their senior capsule course, Jordynn had been interning at ColourPop Cosmetics, and the owners were looking to build the team. She asked all of her friends to apply. However, no one wanted to join a startup. Jordynn’s mom told her instead of asking friends, she should think of classmates she worked well with on group projects. Jordynn instantly thought of Sharon. It was great advice as the pair have now been working together for over eight years!
“After building multiple ecommerce brands from the ground up at Seed Beauty for six years, we realized that they had very complementary skill sets and enjoyed working together,” said Jordynn. “We accidentally fell in love with the beauty space during their time at ColourPop. We were not avid makeup wearers or experienced in any way!”
A couple of years in, they learned the power of cosmetics and became beauty experts. This led to their final destination – hair. “Hair, too, can boost a person’s confidence just like makeup, except the market lacked options,” Sharon said. “It wasn’t accessible from a price, choice, style, education standpoint. That was the light bulb moment!”
“Luckily, women in the beauty industry are more prominent than other sectors as we have had many predecessors who have made the road less traveled a bit easier to navigate,” Jordynn stated. “However, there is the general misconception that female entrepreneurs are somehow connected with solely the creative side of the business or viewed as secondary. There have been many external business meetings where the partners do not even bother to make eye contact or ask for input. When in reality, we are both involved with all facets of the business.”
Jordynn Wynn, Co-Founder of Insert Name Here Hair
INH offers high-quality hair extensions, wigs, ponytails, hot tools, and more. In 2020, the brand grew exponentially and expanded into new hair/beauty categories, including hair color and hot tools. They also launched collaborations with Disney, Carebears, and Liane V. According to Ms. Wynn and Ms. Pak, due to their dedicated customers, they often sell-out of products and have seen an increase in sales due to everyone staying home and finding new, quick, and easy ways to switch up their hairstyle. Their revenue surged over 500% to $20 million in 2020, as the online retailer benefited from pandemic lockdowns and increased experimentation among housebound consumers.
When asked why they think more women are taking charge and starting their own businesses, Sharon answered, “There are more opportunities for women to sit at the table. The world is actively talking about the gender gap in the business world. On top of that, there have been such critical female role models who have inspired others that indeed yes – it is possible!”
A recent survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found COVID-19 impacted women-owned businesses at a greater rate than their male counterparts. In July, the survey discovered less than half of women business owners believe revenue will increase in 2021.
Given this intel, I asked the women how they managed to flourish during the pandemic. “Really, there’s no secret,” Jordynn shared. “I think just actually listening to the customers. The business has heavily leaned on our INH Babe community since day one for guidance. This strategy, paired with the desire for escapism during these times, has led to an increase in revenue. We’ve seen that 65% of the customer base has never tried a hairpiece before. The audience is interested, but we feel there is a lack of education and awareness regarding hair. We have been working hard these past couple of months to bridge this gap.”
“As we are one of few hair space brands, we are focusing on building out the category further in more styles, textures, and colors,” Sharon added. “We had already expanded into hair color and hot tools in 2020. This year we are tackling haircare.
The good news is women appear to be adapting to this “new normal” and find ways to navigate the pandemic best. According to a WEConnect International Study, 42% reported shifting to a digital business model, 34% identified new business opportunities, 16% have launched a new product or service early, and 32% are creating a whole new business line in response to a local or global need.
“This is extremely cliché, but we truly believe the world is your oyster,” said Jordynn. “You can do anything you put your mind and heart to. Don’t second guess your abilities because everyone is genuinely just trying to figure it out. And always ask questions!”
“We both came from small towns and were raised by single mothers,” Sharon disclosed. “Although the odds were stacked against us from the beginning, we have been able to achieve unfathomable things because of the work we put in. We’re now owners of a successful business and Forbes 30 under 30 recipients! Never let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something!”
I am the Founder and CEO of Wonder Woman Writer, LLC, a freelance writer, stand-up comic, and proud mompreneur to two boys, one with special needs. I have written pieces