What do you get when you combine cayenne pepper with hair products? A recipe for success brought to you by CEO Stormi Steele. Stormi hails from Alabama and began pursuing her license in cosmetology where she later became a successful hair stylist and salon owner. She began to grow her talents by building her E-commerce business and starting her own hair care line, Canvas Beauty. Canvas Beauty focuses on helping customers build stronger and healthier hair with an array of products ranging from serums, shamoos, conditioners, and more. The hallmark ingredient of the line is cayenne pepper which came to Stormi in a dream. She has used the ingredient to trigger dormant hair follicles, heal scalp ailments and even treat alopecia! Read more about Stormi’s unique entrepreneurial journey and her blossoming product line below!
Tell us about your hair journey growing up?
Growing up my hair was short. I struggled a lot with my hair and not feeling comfortable in my own skin. It wasn’t the length I wanted, and it wasn’t as healthy as it could have been. Even as a stylist I found it hard to be confident with my own hair. This is when I really became fascinated with hair growth products and how I could help to make my hair grow. Once I discovered what worked for my hair I wanted to share the wealth and offer my products to my customers at the salon who were also dealing with hair growth issues.
What is the meaning of your brand name Canvas Beauty?
In the late 2000’s I attended Mississippi State University where I studied art. I experienced a lot of academic stress and ended up dropping out with less than a year to go to pursue getting my licenses in cosmetology. I still wanted to incorporate what I learned in college and really connect that to the name of my business. I landed on Canvas Beauty because it allowed me to connect with my customers as a way to really let your hair growth journey be what you want it to be.
Describe your early years of entrepreneurship.
When I decided to leave Mississippi State, I went on to pursue a license in cosmetology. My family really wanted me to stay in school because they believed this was the best route for success. But with my mental health in mind, I knew that finishing college would not be for me. I moved to Huntsville, Alabama with $800 in my pocket to start something new. Within a week, I was able to get a job at a salon and started promoting my brand to everyone who came in. Since I was not running my own salon, I still had to give 40% of my earnings to the owner. I was able to save and understand the meaning of what it takes to be a success. In 2014 I decided to sell my own products and 4 years later I was making 1 million dollars in sales.
You're one of the first brands to use “cayenne pepper” in your products, what are the benefits of this “secret ingredient?
Using cayenne pepper came to me in the same dream I had about officially creating my business. I wanted to create a serum that transformed hair growth. I wanted to be able to help everyone with their hair growth journey - from someone dealing with alopecia or hormonal imbalance, to someone combatting stress and hair thinning due to age. After researching a variety of ingredients, I landed on cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper is such an effective ingredient because it offers so many benefits which include scalp hydration and stimulating blood flow which leads to hair growth.
If you can give aspiring entrepreneurs 5 tips for business, what would they be?
1. Always follow your dreams, even if your family and friends might not think you can make it. Listening to myself and my own aspirations helped me to get to where I am today.
2. Learn the importance of saving – during my time at the salon I really learned the value of the dollar and how to best take the money I was making and turn it into millions.
3. Connect with your manufacturers and make sure to get an NDA signed. I wanted to be really open about the ideas that I had and I wanted to be able to do that in a safe environment without having to worry about someone stealing an idea of mine.
4. Always make sure to listen to your customer. They are the ones who will be testing your products and sharing their reviews. I always make sure to read reviews and make note of things that are doing well and things that might need to be reworked.
5. Invest in social media advertising to help increase brand awareness. I spent $100 on my first targeted ad and shared across my social sites (Instagram and Facebook). This led to nearly $15,000 in sales within a few days. In two weeks, I sold $450K worth of products.