Lena Piccininni is someone you’re definitely familiar with. Maybe you remember when she shared her insights about social media with us or you might recognize her as a worldwide educator on hair styling, or maybe you know her as the babe killing it as a professional barber (in what’s traditionally a male dominated field). Too top it all off, she’s adding a product line to her resume! This is no small feat...Launching a product like this takes time, patience and a lot of testing to get the desired result. On top of that, laying the groundwork for customers to get excited about something new is a different matter entirely. Lena goes into the ins and outs of her product launch and how she got ready for this big addition to her business.
Give us a brief description of your business.
My name is Lena Piccininni, I am a barber/hairstylist and international educator for men’s cutting. I recently just started my own product line.
Manan Haircare is an Argan oil infused line. It protects against heat, frizz, and humidity while hydrating your hair and leaving it luminous. It's a perfect solution for anyone with dry and problematic hair that is prone to frizziness. It is the culmination of 11 years of hard work, experience, and passion for making people feel beautiful.
How did you get started?
When I started as a barber I never thought in a million years I’d be able to educate others. I am a self taught barber. When I got my cosmetology license there was very little to no education in men’s cutting. I started at a barbershop realizing I needed some help. I attended one class that basically changed my life.
Through Instagram I came across a barber, Erich Roa, who goes by @Pacinos. He started his own tours across country for men’s cutting and shortly after started his own men’s product line. We kept in touch and kept networking with each other, doing barber events together and eventually I started educating with him. We did multiple tours cross country and internationally. After educating for couple years and building my brand, I knew I wanted to do more and go further. My next goal was to come out with my own line.
What inspires you?
I get inspiration from everything and everyone around me. I try to surround myself with people with similar goals and aspirations to keep me inspired and motivated.
It’s so exciting to hear about your new product line, can you tell us about it? How did you decide to expand in this way?
I always knew I wanted to come out with something, I just wasn’t sure what. It took years of labs and samples of all different things. I actually gave up for couple years because I was getting discouraged. I couldn’t find the perfect product I wanted to make. I didn’t want to just come out with anything to sell, I wanted something I truly, truly loved. After 7 years in a barbershop, I decided to go back to a salon so I could do everything and anything there (men’s cuts, women’s cuts/color and makeup etc.) Still, in the back of my mind, I wanted to create my own line. I started paying attention to what products I use a lot for both men and women, what I loved about them and what I would change about them.
I found that I used hair serums and shine sprays a lot in both men and women. That was the perfect start for me since I already used a cocktail of oils to make what I needed. First and foremost I had to find a lab and chemist that I could trust and work with to make my products. It was 4 years of testing out products and different items before realizing I what I wanted to do. Finally, I created a hydrating serum infused with argan oil and since I love shine sprays, which I’ve used on both women, men, and men’s beards, I decided to do one of those as well.
How have you prepared for the launch? What were some obstacles you didn’t expect?
In preparing for the launch, I wanted to promote my product line in a clean, professional way. Promotion started a month before the actual launch. I wanted people to know about it and hopefully get excited about the products.
The obstacles I didn’t expect were...basically everything! The little details that are super important, like a website, promoting and shipping can get overwhelming at times but once you get a routine going, it makes it all worth it.
How would you compare promoting your services to promoting a product? What are the major differences?
Promoting myself and my brand is very similar to promoting my products. The main difference I noticed was keeping the product pictures creative to catch the eye. Different haircuts and hairstyles can catch the eye right away, but posting the same bottles and products over and over can be boring after a while. You have to make sure to keep it fresh, appealing and creative.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who want to expand their business?
Entrepreneurs that want to expand their business must must must ALWAYS work on their brand. YOU are your brand. Take advantage of social media and the free marketing and networking you could do daily.
What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts that you follow?
Some of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow are motivating pages and business pages like, Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee), Ed Mylett (@Edmylett), Erich Roa (@Pacinos), Forbes Magazine (@Forbes), Women on Topp (@Womenontopp).
What’s your favorite gift to give?
My favorite gift to give is being able to help people; Sharing my advice or knowledge that I’ve learned over the years to inspire.