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How Dianna Cohen, launched her haircare brand Crown Affair from a google doc that went viral

Joining me on the show today is Dianna Cohen, the founder of haircare essentials startup, Crown Affair.

Crown Affair is a company that’s reimagining hair rituals and taking a considered approach for the top of your noggin.


And this story all starts from an unassuming google doc. When Dianna decided to share her hair care routine with some women in her life - and that document suddenly went all over the internet -she saw an opportunity to innovate in a space that she had such a fond personal connection with, and bring her past industry experience in building brands for companies like Away, Outdoor Voices and The Wing into her DTC brand.


Launched pre pandemic Dianna shares the lessons she’s been learning along the way, how she approached her pitch and the importance of community and storytelling.


Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!


Yeah, so hi, I am Dianna Cohen, I am the founder and CEO of Crown Affair, which is a hair care line focused on medical care for healthier hair. I've lived in New York for 11 years, which is where we're chatting and chatting right now. I've worked in Consumer for the last eight.


It's been quite


A journey as this world of e commerce and consumer businesses has evolved quite a


Bit.


And I yeah, I mean, I'm such a consumer nerd and I am truly a hair care nerd up of all. And Crown Affair was


Really born


From my passion of


Just taking


Care of my hair and my daily rituals and the way that you have a skincare friend who knows all of the little details. I've always been that friend with hair.


So that's really


How this journey started.


I love that, and when we were talking about rituals a moment ago, before we before we pressed play on this recording, and I was thinking to myself, brushing my hair is actually a ritual that I really love, too. I read that that you also had that. And it's something that I think is like so important that you take note of those tiny rituals that maybe hadn't considered before. But when I was thinking about rituals before and when I was reading about your brand, I was like, yeah, I actually really enjoy my moments of hair brushing as well. It's so important, but I'd never thought about it before.


It is truly one of my favorite parts of the day.


I mean, I especially


Now spending so much time at home,


All of the


Moments and structures that I have that support my


Well-being, brushing my hair


Every night, being one of them,


Even just the whole ritual


Of how I take care of myself. Shower is like a 30 minute situation with lymphatic drainage and how I oil my hair. But even in the morning, just


Like I write journal,


I do my morning pages every morning from the artist's way. I have to stretch and roll. And I


Think just being so


Aware of the things that make you feel whole is really important.


And this is one that


I was just organically sharing for so


Long.


So it's cool to like bring it into the world and see people


Respond to it and I think really


Reorient themselves around how they care for themselves. And I've been so lucky to work with a range of consumer brands over the last almost a decade that have really


Introduced,


I think, an audience to new ways to think about the way they through the world. So I love doing this every day. It's like truly the greatest gift


I get to do it.


Oh, I love that. I can totally hear it in your in your enthusiasm. I want to go back to the very beginning. I know you have a really interesting background. And like you said, you've worked for so many amazing consumer brands. So can we get back to the kind of like starting way back when where you were working, what you were doing, what was happening in your life that was kind of leading up to this year?


Yeah.


So we can take it one step back, which is where I'm from and where I grew up. Yeah, definitely. So I grew up in a really small town in South Florida called Lighthouse Point. It's like an hour north of Miami, you know, very suburban upbringing.


I played


Sports. I was a total tomboy for a long time. And sometime around eighth grade, I got like very


Into art


History and was a big Templer kid and was definitely the kid in high school who was ripping off fashion magazines and so passionate about beauty and design. And I knew that I wanted to go to New York.


I had no


Idea what I would do. I just knew that I wanted to be around creative people putting things into the world that could inspire someone like me sitting in my bedroom so far away from where the magic was being created. I came to New York and was really lucky. I do.


I had the


Opportunity to intern at a range of places in fashion. I always joke like you watch The Devil Wears Prada and you're like, I just wanna work for an the condo. But, you know, the years that I was I was in university,


Like the world changed


Quite a bit. I mean, the Internet was obviously a thing for a very long time. But I think the implications


Of how the Internet was


Changing our behavior, especially from a publishing perspective, was very clear and


Well, I'm


So grateful to have worked like every attorney for two semesters during


Like Oscar


Seasons and understanding the PR and celebrity dressing


And really like working with so


Many incredible legacy brands to understand what made them such a great foundation. But I also knew that when the time came to actually look for job opportunities,


That I just


Really loved working at smaller places and startups that had a direct impact. And not that I had the language for them,


But I had


Email just called, emailed this woman who had this beauty website that I was obsessed with.


It had like maybe


Her views on it at the time. And it was Emily Weiss when she first started into the class


And I became an


Intern for her. And this is what it was very much a one room office, that it was purely editorial free, glossy ads, but, you know, moderated the comments section, uploaded things to our social,


Transcribed


All those interviews like it was just a


Total education


In terms of storytelling. And I


Think really, Emily


Pioneered


That connection


To real women. I mean, obviously, a lot


Of the women profiled on the


Glass are incredible and fabulous women.


But, you know, we now


Live in a world where you can go to Reese Witherspoon to Instagram and see what smoothie she is making that morning. But at the time, the only access to women like that


Was through People


Magazine or very filtered through the lens


Of journalist.


And it was just so inspiring to be able to be like, oh, she's a. A span of rose water from Whole Foods, that's like eight dollars


And then the comment


Section


Was just like the gold night.


And I think that that was such


A an incredible


Shift in terms of like consumers really starting to take power and connect with each


Other. And instead of like people sitting in


Boardrooms at major companies, which is still happening and that is still across the world. But I think the last decade


Of really putting the


Power in the consumer's hands, having people like me be able to create a character line, I'm not an explorer that I've never sat in a


Boardroom like these.


This information has come from thousands of conversations and my own personal journey as a


Customer and into the glass


Was amazing. And then after that, I was really lucky to meet a woman named Eric Katz,


Who is the current


Co-founder of a supplement company called Seed.


But she is the greatest


Marketer I've ever worked with I probably will ever work with. And she really taught me everything about grassroots marketing,


Which all of those principles


I use to launch and we still use every day. We had


Our holiday


Launch yesterday and just the entire go to market strategy and thinking about all of these launches beyond just the initial launch, but all of these milestones and moments that you have a surprise that she really brought me under her wing. And she's been a mentor for my entire career. And I just kind of the rest of the career. I was lucky to launch Marmol in about five years ago as a consultant when she after selling Jimmy Choo


And really thinking


About rebranding and repositioning her as


A luxury


Consumer shoe


Company, she


Obviously has such a legacy and working with someone who made truly one of the most iconic brands of the 90s and Twins' was an education, to say the least, and was an early employee at the luggage club, the head of partnerships there,


Denyer


Partnerships.


I learned a


Ton. And actually this is why every experience matters.


I mean, at


Crownover now, we actually just did a partnership with MEANWELL, which partnerships with Violet Gray, like so many of those relationships, came from


Three and


A half years ago when I was in a way. So every opportunity really does make an impact, even if you can't see it at the moment.


And then, yeah,


I started an agency


Between leaving away


And launching Crown


Affair, which I had for


Two years


Called Levitate,


And we did Brand Strategy Consulting. We launched


Harrys, the razor


Company at our women's line Flamingo. I worked with the wing. I worked with our voices for two years on their influencer ambassador strategy and a number of other clients, mostly in L.A., New York.


And that was a really fun time.


I got to create my own schedule and work from home. So I pop into the clients offices, but I'm very much here for the like 70 30 remote an office culture. So I'm a big fan of kind of where we are today. And yeah, I launched ten months ago in January. I had no idea I would be in the middle of a global pandemic.


But I think rolling with


It and just waking up every


Day, I think, like all


Entrepreneurs, just need absolute resilience and passion. And I are so grateful I get to do this every day with my team. It's really


A joy.


Well, firstly, what a journey. Oh, my gosh. So many cool things build it in there that I'm like, oh, I want to know about this. What's she like? Oh my gosh. Cool. So many things to unpack. I really want to come back. I'm going to circle back around in a little bit about the grassroots marketing that you really learned when you were with her. So we can kind of understand better, like what you were bringing into your launches now with Crown Affair. But I kind of want to stick with the launch moment and the light bulb moment around Crown Affair. I know that you had this document that you were sharing with people and you were talking about your hair care rituals and people were always asking you about your hair. But when did it kind of switching to you thinking, hang on, maybe the agency is good for right now, but maybe I'm going to launch my own brand.


Yes, so first and foremost, when when launching levitate the agency, I always knew that I didn't want to build an agency as much as I


Love levitating


Innovators, I just I wasn't trying to build a whole team around it. So I kind of always knew that in the back of my mind, even though I was doing it in real time, there were a couple of moments. One was the Google Docs.


So I


As I


Mentioned, I like a full haircare


Nerd. I invest in quality tools and products.


I treat my hair


Like it is so like at night. So you should see my fiance laughs me like the way I position my hair on the pillow, just how I like shampoo it in the shower, like I'm so delicate with it and I and I'm mindful of it and respect it.


And not everyone was doing that.


And I would tell friends like I was traveling a lot and they'd be like, wait,


What are what are you doing? Great.


Like, why do you have this random kov or like how do you get your hair to Erdreich like that? What's happening? So I finally put it into a


Google doc, like


The 16 things that I just do. And it's not necessarily like Stass, but and it varies by week. This is what I


Brush and this is a certain


Oil that I use. And here's why it's important. I kind of wish that I didn't have this ingredient in it, but it's best when I found it, I shared it out


And it was a Sunday.


And like I said on a Friday night, that's Sunday,


I had like dozens


Of people in it. I had no idea who they were. It was like people requesting


Access there was


Commenting on it. And I was just like, this is so crazy.


How how there is


So much content. Right. You can go to YouTube and look at your tutorials or like how to get Chrissy Teigen ponytail at Coachella, but


Like nothing about


Like how to actually care for your


Hair in a way that


Felt really accessible and relatable.


And it was just so


Clear, a little guidances in this category. And then, you know, the other thing to like during when I was traveling a lot for for when I was consulting,


Like I would stay at a


Hotel and I'm like, I would never expect the hotel to have my skin care. Like, why am I doing that for haircare? You know what? I'm here for like two weeks. Like, why am I not honoring that? And really, it doesn't make a difference in how I feel and it does make a difference. So, yeah, those were kind of the two big moments.


And then, you know,


My my friend, my fiance's best friend


Is in such a


Part of this journey. He's a bioengineer and terrorist. And I actually sent him and his wife to Google doc


And they saw their


Hair transform over time after they started to take care of


It. We just started


Working on stuff. We're like, OK, can we take like our favorite two hundred dollar hairbrush


And like, reverse engineer it and like, well, can we


Make better about it and how do we find vendors that are like sustainable and can do this in a more accessible price point. And the truth is, is like the category is just a really dated, it's very Cirlot driven, it's very wholesale driven. There hasn't been a ton of innovation on the ingredient side


In the way that


Skin care and color cosmetics have been democratized over the last ten


Years. The same thing


Is just not really happening with hair care.


So that was


Really the spark of the journey. And I was very much working on this like nights and weekends while I was doing levitate.


And then the inflection


Point very candidly, it was like I either needed to raise money to keep doing this, like I had put I had


Put a bit of money


Away to allocate samples and product development, but that I was just like, I can't keep funding this on my own.


So that was my moment


Of like, I think there's something here I'm going to go forth and do this.


Wow. So exciting, and so at that point, did you raise straight away or do you go out and start trying to meet with people? What were those kind of next phases that you went through to actually get the brand developed and get the products that you were happy with?


Yeah.


So the first two things that I did was we actually had samples that people had tried and had died like small focus groups and had some product out to get feedback on what we were doing. So they were if you look at these samples, you would laugh. Now they look nothing like what is the situation?


But, you know, it's


Just great to actually a physical product that people


Could give give real time


Feedback to.


And the


Other thing that I had was our current creative director, who's been our creative


Director. We actually work


Together


Away. He is one of the


Most talented graphic designers that I've ever worked with. And hopefully it will be one of the only ones I work with for the rest of my life. I'm not in


Love with it, collaborating


With him and his work.


And I had told him about


My vision for Crown Affair. And we had really early stages


Of what this brand


Felt like and what the universe that we're currently building felt like. And that felt so different for a hair care brand. I think so often


It's such an


Afterthought or it's very careful or like good hair days.


And this is like


Really selling perfection or I don't know, I just


Had for all of the brands I'm


Loyal to is skincare in other categories and lifestyle like hair care was not one of them. And truthfully, my favorite ones are often rooted in professional and fashion and Erbey or Kristofer of it. And it's like they're great,


But they haven't innovated


Their ingredients in a very long time. And it's


Very like celebrity


Stylist, which I love. But I just I wanted something different that I could connect to


And visually was a


Universe that I wanted to live in.


So I started there and then I was really


Fortunate coming from consumer, a lot of Fetcher backgrounds, I was able


To get some early meetings to share the


Vision.


And, you know, raising


Money is what I think. I look back on it now, our reason for our seed round. And it


Was one of the most


Valuable experiences of my life.


Like I over two


Hundred investor meetings and you just become


So you just know how


To do it. And you learn so much about how to take a meeting


Like, you know, listening


And understanding what they're looking for and


Then really


Positioning and building this narrative around what the brand could be and what the opportunity is. Also like a lot of these people are so brilliant and so interesting. So whether they end up going forward with the deal or just to be able


To have these


Conversations, I think is again, like measuring the journey and not the end result is such an important part of being an entrepreneur. So but I got really lucky. I mean, my philosophy with fundraising,


I think I think I counted


It the other day. I think I've been a part of 12 fundraisers as an employee.


So not by the way, not that I was like you also had some some base experience.


Yeah. I mean, I was like not an important part, like I might have helped with like a slide on the deck or something like that.


But, you know, as an employee


And as a team member,


You understand


The implication of what it means to raise money and what a valuation is and how much money you want to raise. And I think my takeaways were like raise enough to do what you need to do.


This is a


Relationship. It's like getting into a marriage, like you need to fight.


Not all


Money is


Created equal. You need to find


Partners who really are on the same page,


Whether


That's a paid marketing. For example,


Like most of


Us, everything we do is organic. We spend we have a very, very, very small marketing spend every month


And, you know, coming from


Brands that we usually spend a million dollars a month, if not quarter of, it's just a different way to fundamentally build a business, acquire customers. So, you know, their voices and investors who prefer that and they're like go for it, growth at all costs.


And I knew that that


Was not how I


Wanted to run my


Business, because I think


Great brands take decades


To build and more importantly, build my team. I was coming from a


Place of like every Monday there


Were five new people on the team who were like yours and you might be eight people in a room or one of the first employees. And then a year you look up, you're like one hundred thirty people. You're like, you know, I think right now it's five people.


I would love for the


Company at most to be like twenty people and every person


Feel like very


Intentional with the work they're doing.


Internal culture is so


Important to me. And I think that when you do grow at all costs, it's much easier to break things and maybe not really


Think about your team.


And I mean, this year more than ever,


The


Harmony of finding balance in your personal and professional life is so important


Because we are living


Where we work and you know, and everyone is experiencing


With the.


In particular,


It's like family


Members, loved


Ones, you just have to show


Up every day and be apathetic. It's like at the end of the


Day, like my goal


Is to empower women and but a lot of our customers are women


And power women and change the way they


Move through the world and whether that's


Through product, whether that's


Through our mentorship program, which has been like one of the most rewarding parts of


This. And our team, like that's the most


Important thing, is that we're taking care of each other. So that was a long winded way to say that like that ladders up to that how you raise money.


And we got really


Lucky in


Terms of the partner


And our


Lead. And we have twenty about


Twenty five investors, a mix of angels and our


Leader, they're really excited


And on the same page, which I think is especially in Iran, so important and


So exciting. When you said you did the two hundred interviews, you went through that process in a really big way. My two questions are when you were seeing, like, the kinds of things that they were looking for, what were those kinds of things that they were saying that they were looking for, whether they did or not invest in you? What were the kind of things they're interested in? And, B, did you have to kind of pivot or change your pitch as you went through that process, getting back to the tail end of two hundred?


Meetings, yeah, so, such a good question,


You know, it was it was


A really interesting process to listen to what people were looking for a year ago, and then we still talk to investors all the time. People reach out to us excited about the brand and they think it's always good to take a beating, even though we're not currently fundraising.


And the the


Thing that I kept hearing, I guess, a year and a half ago


Now was like customization growth at all


Cost. How are you doing these, like, personalization


That was


Really sexy and popular


At the time. And I think that


There's been a


Total philosophical


Change around building a brand and making


Life better for you


Products that are necessarily just like sexy see customization


Engine.


And we're seeing that now. I mean, since there is so much I think there's been I mean, there's been like 10, if not more new hair care plants that are really focused. And you just don't have the most successful brands in that category, for example,


Like they excuse, you know, and they're one of the


Rare ones.


I think my entire


Vision was


Kind Crown Affair. And the


Pitch in particular


Is like every single


Product we're making is a hero


Product we


Are working with outside of contract manufacturers to truly innovate on this product. This is obviously more from a product perspective than a brand and larger vision of what we're doing.


But, you know.


This category, people just go to contract manufacturers and they're like year 12 shampoos and herself conditioners, and if it's a celebrity line, you know, you kind of just like put a face and a fragrance and call it a day.


But for us,


It's like


I part of my


Ethos is like I never want to launch anything to the world unless it's truly unique and makes me feel


Different. Like SKU count is


Not the issue in this category.


So I


Owe a huge


Part of talking to investors was was getting them


Excited


About the way we're


Changing the narrative around hair care. The first step is the realization that this category has been


About styling


And color


And


Perfection. Even if there's diversity in casting, it's like all the models, hair blown out, you know, and the language and terms around it. And for me, it's about


Building a community


Around, taking care of yourself and ritual


And it's table


Stakes that the product is clean and that the product is better for you. I would never want to launch a product into the world that's just like where we don't own the formula or


That, you know, it's


Not


Clean.


And it's really interesting, I think clean in this Category two, which is become a very like always a clean


Like especially


In the US, like the FDA regulations are. So the bar is so low here and we all need regulations for our products.


And that's not a brand


That's a product promise.


And I think with these with talking to


Investors, getting them to understand the long journey of what we're doing


And what has


Happened over the last 10 years with skin care is now that you're aware of that maybe started like a year ago with hair care. It's all very new and it really takes time.


I think, you know, in the


Pandemic, in a way, has been such a catalyst. You can't run to your salad or you care up to your hairstylist and


You're like, what am I doing for


Myself on a weekly


Basis with a hair mask,


For example? Like, how am I slowing down and making this a really beautiful experience


And have


Watched it be something to look forward to instead of like, oh, I have to wash my hair. This is so annoying. And it's like it really takes like four years. That's how I that's my perspective and my connection


To hair as well.


Less and hair is a part of my well being.


So that's always


Been the patch. And I think what investors are like, are you going to be the next this for this or Warby Parker for this? And I'm like, that was ten years ago.


This is what


We're doing, either you're alive or not. So I also think and you noted this with the grassroots thing,


I think that the best


Investors invest in founders because they know that it will hit the fan like there will. There might just be a global pandemic. You might need to pivot your entire business. And that's why it's important to bet on people, not the product at the end of the day. Yeah. So I honestly just want into the pitches. There were days that I was three calls a day or three meetings a day and I'm like, did I say to what? But I think that's why you get so great at this. And either people feel connected to you and what you're doing or not.


So interesting. I really love that. Gosh, well, something that you reminded me when you were speaking about the


Product and the


Ingredients that are in these standard kind of manufactured products. Is that thing you have on your website where it shows all the things you don't have in your product? And I was like, oh, I never thought about this. Like, this is crazy. What are all these things even mean? What are these words? That's a long list.


It is. It is really interesting because like


Retinol


Hydrochloric acid, like these ingredients have become so normalized in skin care, we often don't actually know what ingredients are doing to our hair, depending on what you're looking for. So your hair is a fiber.


It's all about


The hydration level. So understanding


How much


Moisture you want in your hair, how much you don't, how you want to apply it, how often you should be washing.


I mean, it's it's a whole


Universe that I think is really fun to kind of get to know. And hey, if you choose to do a million treatments or blow dry your hair every


Day, like, do you like,


I'm all about balance and finding the thing that makes you feel good. But I do think there's power and educating and understanding


What something might


Do,


Especially like I will not


Bore you with the Sulpice situation. But like


In this


Country, like we are just addicted to using sulphates in our hair. We shampoo and the bubble and the foam and it really does Estrapade your hair so much and causing more problems that then you sell you solutions for like how to fix like Friz for example.


But it's like all


Friz is, is your hair needing more moisture so it doesn't


Reach up to the


Sky for more moisture. Like if you and it's the same thing with food,


It's like it's not,


It's right. It's not about deprivation or diet. It's like putting the right things in you so you feel good. And your relationship to that, they feel really good.


I think that for the way


We're approaching here, that is so


Much of it. You know, as we launch


More products, it's as I said, every product is a great product. So we're really mindful about the product development process.


But like, if you're out


There and looking for a shampoo, like you should really not be looking. I would recommend a shampoo without cold. Without tags, those are carcinogenic and not


Great, and one of the closer


Things, like a survey, like something that really


Just removes


Debris and builds up and nourishes your


Hair and you know that


Education isn't out there. So we're really excited to kind


Of pioneer near that


Piece.


Yeah, totally. Totally. Does the Bible, your Bible still float around on the Internet? Is that still out there?


It is. And we actually did it. We actually have a whole series called Rituals with Uncrowned


Affair, our


Content platform on the site. Our blog, if you will, is called Top of Mind, because it's like all the things that are top of mind in life in general, but also like your hair is is literally on the top of your head at the top of your head. So who did it? And I actually had to update it. I updated it since March, so please


Send it my way.


I also like the idea of on the Internet, I could talk about hair advice forever. And actually everyone is so different. And depending


On I mean, I talk


To like Olympic swimmers who have to wash their hair every day how they're taking care of their hair. I have girlfriends wash their hair, Max, Max, once every week and a half, and everyone has their own rhythm. Where you live makes a difference.


So, yeah.


Wow. I need to I'm going to I'm going to get into your DMS. We're going to discuss this. Yes.


Ok, I


Really want to talk about your marketing. I really want to talk about the grassroots efforts that you've been doing and especially kind of what you learned in your prior career and brought forward into your go to market launch strategy, especially this year. Given all the troubles that we've had and, you know, pivoting our original plans, how did you launch and what is your marketing been like since?


Yeah, so I think


The most important thing is the marketer


Is I'm just going to say


People generally meaning customers, meaning community,


Meaning Ed.


Everyone is literally just a person. You have to treat them like people


And building up


Your army of people who believe in you and are excited about what you're building.


I mean, as you think about


Launch, if you're listening and thinking about launching a


Business like it is so


Important to remember that people want to support what they are part of


Creating. And I


Think so often, especially as women we like and I am still


Totally guilty of this,


By the way,


We don't want to share


Things with the world until they're perfect


And people really do


Want to be a part of that process. So when you do


Go live, they're so


Excited to be like, this is awesome.


Even if it's just a quick email


Or coffee or selling product


Early, like people get really


Excited and they root for you long


Term. And I think the


Customers and community that you build in year one are the people. And I think this is awkward. And even though I'm not working with those brands anymore,


I see


Those customers show up. They're still posting, they're still commenting. They're still sharing


Your year,


Your day one. People are your people. And the most important thing that you could


Do is invest


Time in them, just literally


Time. And whether it's phone


Calls with customers to understand what they're loving or how they heard about you or how they discovered


You. You know, launching is a really


Challenging thing now, like building a, quote, direct consumer brand is not what it meant. I mean, first of all, as a consumer, I think being omnichannel, especially in beauty, as a category, is really important. You want to meet your customer where he or she


Is beyond


Just your site, which is a podcasting conversation for another time in terms of like retail strategy and growth.


But, you know, it's just


So


Important that you are able


To connect with your person from day one. And when you lost something in the world,


Like they feel


Excited about this and want to share it with you on your direct channel. So, yeah, I'm trying to think I mean, there's so many elements to launch


And like seeding


To community and influencers and influential people is a huge one. So they like post about


You on launch


Day and


Really making sure


Your message is


Tight and you're offering


Something


Different. Like I, I had


No goudey of us. None of us knew that a pandemic was happening,


But


Our entire pillar was actually


Rapti like that is the


Ethos of the brand. It is actually time and the time


You take for yourself


Out of care instead


Of frustration. All of our


Collateral that we printed months before in our shipper's, our copy like it was all about taking your time and finding your ritual, and then all of a sudden all people have time. So that ended up working really well. That works. Yeah, it ended up falling into place and being, again, as I said, a catalyst for people resonating with the message. But now you can't again, as I was saying, like in terms of early days to see you can't just be like this is now direct to you


And it's


More accessible and


It's like you really have to


Have an innovation and something different. So, yeah, getting the word out there, I think your community is huge.


Pr is really


Important. Having a thoughtful PR strategy I


Need traditional PR


Has evolved exponentially. I feel like every year,


You know, Instagram


And social, whatever the platform is for your product market


Fit like I, I have a lot of


Friends who have more


Brands than they like.


Kill it on tape.


Talk for us


With our product market fit. Who are our customers and we customers. We do have women who are Jency


And love


This product and are so excited about it. We also women who are like 70 year old, we're going to be using like 70 year old winemaker in Napa who has bought this for all her daughters. She loves it every day. You know, we we have real women who use this product and it's a part of their life.


So, you know, for


Us, it's like, how do you get the message out? And I think word of


Mouth is


So important in this category with beauty. And we really did see that three months in, like we had a lot of


Excitement and then three


Months and we were like, oh, people are buying the oil.


And the girl is


Because hair is


Genetic. It's like people would tell


Their sisters or their moms or their friends. And I feel like the three month mark is when we really started to see like it started to spike in terms of people getting super excited.


But that was a very


Big ramble on the launch mass. But I think really thinking about this stuff holistically is important,


Like every


Product, what your message is, how you're telling that story. And, you know, it's different now. At the time, I was able to have a couple decides with editors and decide when you go meet with them and you educate them on your product.


And that was a huge


Part of some of our launch stories, whether


That was business


Press on places like Forbes or Business


Insider, you know, and


Then Beauty, Press, Vogue and everyone in between the fashion as well. On the business side, a law has been such an amazing supporter.


You know, now


We're doing some calls, I think, building relationships with people, you can't just pick people randomly like this is new, right about it,


Building


Relationships and actually listening to people and hearing what they like. On the plus side, on the customer side, it's like that's everything in it.


I think that's how you build a great brand over time.


Yeah, that's so interesting. And I was actually going to ask you about your press because you have such incredible press around the launch that I was like, whoa, how did she get all this amazing stuff? That's super interesting to have the Eddison meetings. Did you just cold outreach to journalists to be like, hey, let's open a call and chat about this thing that I'm creating and putting out into the world, or was there more to it?


So I actually didn't have a ton of PR relationships like my actual personal circle in my life. I've been with my fiancee for seven years. We'd like a very small group. I'm like not the person who's meeting people. So this is really the first time that I was like, oh, I have to like, this is exciting. I get to tell the story to journalists. And yeah, it was I mean, we have a we have a PR team who I actually was our internal team at way. They do our PR now called dispatch. They're amazing. And we just have


Such a


Transparent and honest relationship with each other and there's no ego about anything.


And like who tells the story?


Who makes the relationship, which I think is so beautiful.


I think sometimes weekly


Pr calls with an agency can be like so much pressure,


Like the expectation


To deliver a certain number of articles or a certain number of things. Again, this goes back to the investor thing. It's a partnership. And how you build partnerships is everything. So, yeah, I mean, truly, it was just pitching. I mean,


No, I'm I'm


Getting slightly older, but, you know, and people could see my background and be like, oh, this girl worked so and


So, but it was all new.


I don't come from traditional beauty.


For me.


This has just


Been like I


Telling my story as another


Woman with my own hair


Journey.


I think it's a little


Different than maybe what they've been getting for


Years of celebrity


Like professional lines. Really being about the styling. I think that this was refreshing.


And because of


That, we


Were able to have people


Authentically write about this


Story, which was so


Exciting to see. I really didn't know what was going to happen on launch day, so it was cool to see all of that come out. And again, so many people


Connect with with the


Vision of what we're building.


Yeah, totally. Absolutely. Oh, so exciting. What does the future look like? What's happening


Next?


I mean, a month for everything in life that I actually, like, postpone my wedding this year. And I feel like everyone in my life is like, what's with the wedding? I'm like at month by month, like even even with the business.


I mean, we definitely


I have a very clear like one year, three or five year time here for what Crownover could become. But the truth is, is like the playbook that has worked for all of these other brands. It's it's changed like the world has changed how people discover product change. People by product has changed.


And we're really like


Navigating in real time. I think it's always helpful if you are the customer of the product you're making. And my team is very much that way, too,


Because we


Always want to be nimble.


We always want to be where we


We need to be for our customer and just keep diving in on that relationship.


I think the new


Universe of


Death and having


People be excited about every product launch, we're in a category that does have repeat purchase


That's


Powerful. We're not selling mattresses or suitcases. I mean, you can buy a couple mattresses and suitcases, but


This is a


Lifelong journey with our customer. And I think,


You know,


For us, it's it's about building that over


Time and then lots


More formula. And in our products next year, which is so


Exciting, we'll also be


Shipping. We've been getting a lot of international shipping


Requests right now. We ship through


Some of our


Partners. We were on group, which is great. We work with a couple


Partners in Canada. We're actually in Hong Kong now coffered. So it's cool to be in China, but definitely just


Expanding, which is


So


Exciting.


Yeah, so exciting. Oh my gosh. I'll be cheering from the sidelines. What advice do you have for women who have a big idea and want to launch their own thing?


Just start is probably the


Best advice, as I said, even whether it's like a Google doc or a couple samples,


Like it's really


Scary. I have a leadership coach and she always does this and she's really conditioned me. She's like, I'm so afraid of having, like, an ugly baby is what she calls it, which sounds horrible. And it's probably not appropriate to say, but it's kind of scary putting a thing out into the world when it's not finished.


And I think just being


Like I have this idea whether it's an app or a platform or community or a physical product or


Literally


Any idea, you have to


Write it down and get feedback


On it and take the feedback with a grain of salt. But I think, you know, like that was actually a big indicator that I did touch on earlier.


But people kept


Coming after I talked to somebody about hair


They would like text


Me for weeks or five years later being like, so I'm still thinking about this and blah, blah, blah. And I think when people show genuine curiosity,


That's when you know you're


Onto something. And then maybe


That's the the flag to


Be like, hey, it's time


To raise


Capital or don't raise capital or invest in yourself in


This way. The other


Advice that I


Have is like write


Stuff down. There's that Joan Didion quote. That's like I don't know what I think until I write it.


And this is become


A huge new habit


For me. For a few years


Now, I've been doing the Gratitude Cybernet Journal, which I love. It's a great journal


And it's really easy


And keeps you accountable.


But my friends of mine actually don't really mean that.


So the five minutes are all


I need to tell them. We spoke about it. I'm seeing them this week, actually.


Amazing. Yeah. I'm like, I'm not they're not technically an investor, but like I talk about it all the time and I think I've gotten like dozens of people to buy it. It's truly transformational. And then I write morning pages every morning and it's scary, to be honest with yourself. But being like this is what I


Want and physically


Writing it out, it's pretty wild when you look back, even like I was looking at some of my journals from


September, we're


Now in November and like a lot of the stuff has come true or a lot of the things that I might have been concerned about are no longer concerns, are no longer fears.


So that has


Been a very cathartic process for me


That I think if you have a


Dream and you're a little bit


Afraid to go


Forward, it's like a good place to start. And like no one's judging you and no one's going to read it just like start and go for it.


Mm hmm. Yeah, that's so important. And I'm also someone that wants to get more into writing things down and putting those thoughts on paper. There's something so therapeutic, I think about writing and something I'm definitely wanting to focus more time on. So that's really interesting. You said that, OK, we are up to the six quick questions part of the episode. Question number one is what's your why?


My wife


Is


Making people


Feel different about themselves.


I love putting things into


The world, whether it's a Crown Affair or just in my


Personal life, that changes


The way people identify about how they view the world.


That is my


Mission and everything I've ever done.


Love that. So powerful. Question number two is what's been the number one marketing moment that's made your business, pop?


Wow, it's so hard to pick one, to be honest with you, I would


Say like people with real communities, if you


Want to call them influencers, like they were like we've had people post and we'll see like one hundred orders. Oh, I have a really good one, though, in New York. Maghrib, an amazing our hairstyle and how it makes your hair, because I won't get into it now, but the way that it actually makes it absorbs water from your hair.


It air dries


Like a Hyam sister.


It's like a masseur, Gabrielle.


That is literally what they said. And I think we sold like one hundred dollars and it was crazy. So that was cool to see.


Two people have


Opinions and voices


Who, you know, proof is really


Powerful. I love that for you.


So it's amazing you're like this 20 minutes of my life happening right now. I was like, refreshing.


Tapasvi, I'm like, is this broken?


With no turning up the sound on your phone? You're like, yep, let's hear it. Question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? And that's around what you're listening to, what you're reading, what communities you're a part of, that kind of thing.


I listened to a lot of podcasts, my favorite podcast is called Poetry Unbound, and it's led by a theologian Podgorica Tumor.


I only read


Two homes a week and unpacked them. And it just puts me into


Like a space,


Like I literally will start when I'm reading something. I hear his


Voice. And there's honestly


So few people where that really happens, where you actually start to kind of take their voice. And that, to me is the best. I also love, like Adam Grant, Seth Godin and a lot of marketing writers. I read their daily letters. It always sparks something, even if it's not the moment like something will happen in my life, maybe a few months later. And I'm like, oh, yes, I thought he was right. Or Adam Grant


Is truly


An incredible


Professor,


Educator around


Building team culture, which I think


Applies to our personal lives as well.


Mm hmm. Certainly. I'm going to subscribe to both of those later. Question number four is how do you win the day? And that's really honing in on your rituals, which I know we've touched on.


But let's go back to winning in the day is definitely doing my morning papers that I have in a journal. Like I feel really complete when I put my five minute journal away at night and


Like big, big win if I get a


Bath and dinner is made by my by my fiance. I like that. To me, it's like a dream guy, which we've been getting a lot of encouraging so much more time together, which is a total dream.


Yeah, totally. Absolutely. I love a good boss. I'm really into Lavandero, both relaxing. I'm not a long person Batho. I'm like a really short person buff. I'm like 15 minutes in and out. But like that 15 minutes is bliss.


I love that for you know, I think there's a stigma like you have to be in the back for forty five minutes. There's something really powerful just like phone in the other room, getting in a warm bath. It just resets you in a really nice way. It's my best ideas come in the bath. So like I also have to do it


Because that is where the


Magic comes.


So that's where the magic happens. I love that question. Number five is if you only had a thousand dollars left in your business bank account, where would you spend it?


Wolf, I probably have to pay back an investor if


This is all I have, one thousand.


I thank you for all of your contributions.


I mean, if that was


Where I had to be really mindful about allocating my spend. I would invest it in content


Creation, I think the


Legacy of what that can be and how it gets shared, I think sometimes we forget in this world of paid marketing and I just like doing good content


Can be


Really shareable. The metric of how many people have saved stock down is really powerful and not always measured. So I would I would probably


Say with content.


Yeah, I mean, you've got total proof with your with your hair Bible, people still want that. I still want that. That doesn't cost a thousand dollars. OK, question number six, last question is how do you deal with failure? And that could be around a personal experience or just your general mindset and approach.


You know, I'm not good with failure, I don't think anyone is by nature and society, it's really


Hard


Practicing that failure is good. And I


Think like even


Listening to the podcast that I imagined, like just conditioning yourself to be like, oh, this is a part of the


Job. And I talk about


This a lot. I have a really good friend who's worked at Pixar for like 15 years. And he is he has an amazing talk on the concept of honor.


And that is


Truly the concept that they really honed in on, I think, at Pixar and the work that he does as an animator.


But we talk


About like that piece and how we don't


Measure the journey a lot.


And I'll have to say, you guys talk I think he has a video on it.


But I think


Trying to create structures like the journalling, like the FAF, where you


Can actually pause and be like this is a part


Of it and not so focused on


The apple. I also


Think I was talking to I have a group of artists we chat on Tuesday night,


Which with 15


Women, and that's a huge community that I love to


You know, I don't I think


Just like being honest with yourself, it really does help you


Get through those tough


Moments,


You know, and it's OK.


It's normal. You just have to be


Honest about it. It's not easy.


And being honest about that, it's not easy is everything, you know.


Totally. Totally. Oh, this is so fun. So fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to be on the podcast and share your incredible journey and all the cool things you're working on. I'm just so thrilled to have had this chat.


Thank you so much for having me. I wish we had a whole other hour to talk about you because I'm sure you have so many learnings from chatting with all of these founders, like the connection is beautiful.


So thank you for


Having me on it. It's been wonderful.




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