I am super excited to kickoff this interview series highlighting girl bosses all over the world. Women entrepreneurs are popping up daily and it’s amazing so many people are stepping out and making their dreams a reality. With this interview, I wanted to feature someone who saw a need for change and turned it into a business. Being a boss is always about making things happen your way and with your vision and our #girlboss featured today is doing just that.
1) Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Tiffini Gatlin. I’m a Virgo with Libra tendencies. I graduated with a PR degree from Clark Atlanta University. I belong to the greatest sorority on earth; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated. I’ve been married for 10 years and have 4 children and I have an unhealthy addiction to fashion, beauty and pepperoni pizza.
2) What is your occupation?
I am the founder of Latched and Hooked Beauty a brand dedicated to designing and producing hair extensions, wigs, accessories and products for women of color.
3) Describe your personal style?
My personal style is somewhere between Buckhead and Bankhead. That means I love to dress dainty where applicable but I love a pair of sneakers or timbs with boyfriend jeans and a crisp white tank.
4) Give us a run down on the history behind your business and how it came about?
Latched and Hooked Beauty was actually started in May of 2016 after a failed partnership with my business Curlkalon Hair Collection. L+H Beauty is the brand I always envisioned Curlkalon to be; ethical, cutting edge and revolutionary in its approach to providing quality synthetic hair extensions and accessories for African American Women worldwide.
I started doing protective hair styling in my moms basement when I was 16 years old. A year ago I picked up my hobby as a side hustle to create an additional revenue stream and came up with the idea of mass producing pre-curled and looped hair as a way of getting clients in and out my chair at a much faster rate as well as create a product that was safe; because you know dipping hair in hot water close to your scalp isn’t cute! So I truly started from the bottom and I still have a long way to go.
5) What are your long term and short-term goals for you business?
Long term I’d like to open a chic protective hair styling salon where women can come to get hair extensions, braids, twists, loc’s and or purchase styling products. Short term I’d like to continue to grow awareness of my brand by organically building a community of women who want products that fit their changing needs.
6) What are the top three things you wish you would have known when you first started your entrepreneur journey?
- Never go into a 50/50 contractual partnership
These seven words could have saved me over $20,000! I never knew that going into a business partnership at 50/50 could deadlock your business should something happen between partners.
- Don’t quit your day/night job to become an entrepreneur without having actionable, realistic plans.
Being an entrepreneur in this day in age sounds cool and in retrospect it is, however without proper planning you could set yourself up for a rude awakening. Create a timeline and actionable steps (equipped with contingencies) for not only departing from your job but creating a product or service that customers need. A good idea is not enough to become a successful entrepreneur.
- Don’t compare yourself to other entrepreneurs.
Every entrepreneurs journey will be different. It’s okay to find benchmarks for your business but don’t get caught up trying to measure your level of success to that of another entrepreneur.
7) What and who influences you when buying/creating for your store?
Women all over the world who have an interest in their hair influence me. Social media keeps me connected to these women. Fashion inspires me when I create a new product and when I’m searching for new accessories to add to my shop. Other black women owned and operated businesses inspire me as well. I have started to search other products to wholesale and add to my shop. So, you’ll find supplemental products and accessories in my shop that were created by other black women.
8) What are your three favorite things in your store right now?
Of course I’m biased and I love everything in my shop, but if I had to choose I love our luxe ombre braiding hair which I can design in so many different color palettes. I love the pre-curled and looped hair in the Mckenzie Collection because this was my first product and it’s named after my oldest daughter. And I love the luxury styling tools by Eternally In Amber. The styling tools are handmade and you can’t find anything as gorgeous on the market.
9) Being a #girlboss is hard work and it is not for faint at heart, what is your one piece of advice to all aspiring girl bosses?
Don’t confuse being busy with being productive. If you’re feeling completely worn out at the end of your day and look around and the priorities that you set up for your day hasn’t been met, chances are you were being busy and not productive.
10) What are your go to business resources or apps?
My top 3 business apps are:
Schedugram- Social media is vital to my business, so schedugram allows me to schedule my social media posts by day and time and will automatically posts while I working on other business.
Studio- I’m a creative. I’m also on the go frequently. Studio allows me to design crisp and clean advertisements on my phone free.
Minted- Having your business finances in order is important to keeping your business healthy and growing. I like to keep my eye on how I’m saving and spending my businesses money. Minted keeps things orderly and I like that.
11) You’re a busy bee, how do you keep sane and balance both your personal life plus entrepreneurial life?
Personally, I’ve retired the word balance. It’s a set up for failure to me and not the teachable type of failure. I believe the success I have with managing my personal and business life comes from prioritizing. Everyday my priorities change. I operate daily by what’s the most pressing task I need to focus us. To be honest some days my family is at the top of my list and some days a meeting or personal day is at the top of my list. I get things done by not balancing but prioritizing…there is a difference.
12) I’m sure being an entrepreneur is not a typical 9 to 5 job. Give us a quick run down on how your days usually go.
Being an entrepreneur is definitely not a 9-5 job and each day it’s different. However, I generally spend one hour checking, responding and crafting emails. Next, I spend about three hours on social media. This includes exploring hashtags, blogs and Facebook groups to see what’s going on in my industry. I love researching what influencers and bloggers are talking about relating to hair and beauty. I frequently read the comments section from a few of my competitors to see what their customers are complaining about or products they could be asking for. Next, I spend about 45 minutes to an hour looking for ambassadors and partners for my brand (these are individuals I will email on the next day). The rest of the day I spend on shipping accuracy and ensuring the customer has the best experience possible when they receive and open their package.
13) What has been your most favorite experience to date as a business owner? What has been your least?
My most favorite experience as a business owner is creating hair extensions for black women…something I never thought was possible. My least favorite is not having enough inventory for a customer to purchase what they need; worst feeling ever!
14) What do you have planned for the future of Latched and Hooked?
I really try to focus on each day. My desire is that Latched and Hooked remain a global brand. As we continue to work towards that, we will be part of our first beauty expo at the New Orleans Natural Hair Expo in New Orleans on July 2, 2016. If you are in town or live in New Orleans and will be around for ESSENCE Music Festival, I hope you will stop by and check out our products!
Thank you Tiffini for sharing your story and advice to budding entrepreneurs.
Do you know someone killing the entrepreneur movement and giving the name #girlboss a new meaning? Send me an email on who they are and why they should be featured. email@example.com