Mayvenn raises $23m to give the hair extension industry a new ’do

A hair startup called Mayvenn raised $23 to extend its hair extension business -- and empower stylists in the process.


November 8, 2018

Mayvenn, a startup that sells and affixes hair products, raised $23m to extend its hair care business. By catering to black women, a demographic traditionally underserved by the beauty industry, Mayvenn has already made $80m in revenue.

Now Mayvenn is on track to keep growing rapidly while empowering black entrepreneurs to capitalize on the multibillion-dollar hair industry.

This hair is having a good business day

More than $6B of hair-care products are sold in black communities across America every year. But Diishan Imira, Mayvenn’s CEO, noticed that “90% of the [entrepreneurs who make and sell extensions] are owned by people not in the community.”

So, Imira partnered with hairstylists, offering a 20-25% commission for selling and putting in Mayvenn hair products.

This partnership model gave Mayvenn a massive distribution network. But it also helped stylists share in the hair fare: So far, Mayvenn has paid out more than $20m to its growing network of stylists.

Have your hair and wear it too

Initially, Mayvenn just sold the hair itself, meaning hairstylists sold hair and its attachment separately. But that was expensive (often $250 for hair and another $250 for attachment).

So Mayvenn adjusted its pricing model. By selling both hair and styling as a bundle, Mayvenn cut costs for customers 40% and increased business for its stylists.

But by cutting costs, Mayvenn also extends its lead over the only significant competitor trying to share the hair: AliExpress.

Keeping hair clean in a messy global supply chain

For now, Mayvenn has a lead over AliExpress, which sells hair but doesn’t attach it (Mayvenn does both for the same price). But as Mayvenn grows, it will have to work hard to make sure it sources its hair ethically.

Across much of the world, the hair industry is tangled in ethical knots: In some communities in India, poor women are forced into virtual hair-slavery to earn enough money to survive.

Hopefully Mayvenn, which now has $36m and the backing of hair-vangelists such as Serena Williams and Andre Iguodala, can improve the global hair business starting at its roots.

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