Fly Female Entrepreneurs
Building a Hair Extensions Empire with Ericka Dotson of Indique Hair
Ericka Dotson, Co-founder and Creative Director, Indique
Whether you’ve been rocking fly weaves since L.L. proclaimed “I want a girl with extensions in her hair” or you’re au naturale and wouldn’t have it any other way, I’m certain you’re very familiar with Indique Hair.
Co-founded by Ericka Dotson, Indique Hair is an internationally known hair extension brand with retail stores across the United States and distributors throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa and Central America. The business was born out of Ericka’s desire to fill a void in the extension industry by providing 100% virgin human hair that is completely natural and of the highest quality.
Today on In Her Shoes, Ericka shares a bit of her beautypreneur journey, which celebrity’s hair she’d love to makeover, where she sees the hair extension industry going in the next few years, and more:
In Her Shoes: For anyone who has been living under a rock and is unfamiliar with your brand, tell us a little bit about Indique and what makes it stand out from the competition:
Ericka: Indique has been around for 10 years. We are the first company to brand and retail premium hair extensions globally. In addition to offering more than 15 amazing textures, we have 16 boutiques globally. It’s important for our clients to have the option to purchase their hair in-store, given the involved selection process and the importance we put on the customer service experience.
In Her Shoes: What were you doing for a living before launching your brand?
Ericka: I was working in the tower site collocation industry, worlds apart from beauty. I was closing deals with cellular companies and government entities. It was a detailed job that involved contract negotiations, survey pulls, and daily engineer meetings. One of my most interesting projects was closing a collocation with the FBI on President Bush’s residential Waco property. I was in “secret-agent” mode those days!
In Her Shoes: What do you think is the biggest misconception about being a beautypreneur?
Ericka: Being a beautypreneur certainly has its perks. However, you can’t sustain a successful business within the beauty space without a number of fundamental business practices. There is so much going on in the background that has nothing to do with beauty: data mining; reaching departmental targets and sales goals; internal operations; consistent ideation for brand awareness; and smart advertising. These are all crucial to a beauty business’ success. The outward-facing results of a beauty industry job are always soft and pretty, but the internal work is tough.
In Her Shoes: What is a day like in your shoes?
Ericka: My days involve several conference calls in the morning. I work on various projects throughout the day. Marketing activities vary depending on the activations we have planned such as promos, events, product launches, or photo shoots. My laptop is an extension of my hands! I’m a huge advocate of productivity technology- so you will find me pinging team members quite often. Product development is an ongoing project for me. Sampling and drafting reviews are key parts of the process that lead to a solid product offering.
I feel fortunate and blessed to work in such an amazing industry, which can be demanding at times. Through the years, I realized the key to my success is to relax and take in the simple things.
I always look forward to day’s end at home where I enjoy my garden and play with my dogs. This is where you’ll find me in my favorite Hunters.
Why is it important to challenge the stereotypes or assumptions made about women who choose to wear extensions (i.e., she doesn’t love herself, etc.)?
Hair is like a fashion accessory. It allows women to easily create a cohesive look with texture and style. Hair extensions have been worn since the beginning of time by women who are very comfortable in their skin. That same level of self-awareness and empowerment exists today in women who wear extensions.
In Her Shoes: If you could makeover any celebrity with Indique hair, who would it be and why?
Ericka: I’m ready for a Beyoncé brown moment. She looks beautiful wearing blonde, and I understand that it’s significant to her brand. However, I absolutely loved the way she looked with brown hair. It’s time for her to be “Indiqued” in warm chestnut brown.
In Her Shoes: What trends do you forecast for your industry in 2018?
Ericka: I see hair extension ventures leaning more into the digital space. Innovative purchasing processes and augmented reality hair trialing could be the new frontier, starting as early as 2018.
In Her Shoes: What exciting plans do you have mapped out for your brand in the new year?
Ericka: We’re introducing new products to our collections in 2018. I’m super excited about offering units! We also plan on opening more boutiques in major cities across the U.S., so more communities can experience Indique.
To learn more about Indique visit indiquehair.com. Also, if you’re in the NYC area and plan to attend my 12.2.17 “She Did That.” Sneak Peek & Holiday Bazaar, you’ll get to meet Ericka and experience Indique for yourself!