Despite Sahar Saidi never completing an undergrad degree, she got her MBA and started a global e-commerce company, selling hair products to women with curly, kinky-coily, or wavy hair. Prior to launch, she dealt with numerous challenges: faulty product labels, lack of investor funding, and a few nightmare vendor relationships.
Now, the founder set her sights for her company LUS Brands to elusive “unicorn” ($1 billion+ valuation) status. Talking to PulseBlueprint, Saidi and her team shared the stories and strategies they used to go from nothing to millions, and the strategy in the works now to take them to billions.
Who needs a 9-5, anyway?
A woman with naturally curly hair, Saidi was frustrated with how ineffective and complex hair products for curly hair were. So she tried to solve her own problems, by creating innovate formulas from scratch that actually worked and were simple to use, much like MFMG Cosmetics founder Tomi Gbeleyi.
“I knew because of social media there was an opportunity to step in, and I felt that larger brands would take advantage of this consumer demographic that had been underserved for decades,” said Saidi, referring to hair products for women with curly hair. “Every other company complicates it, asking customers to use 5-10 different products and spending hours a day. ”
The timing for her couldn’t have been better, either. Freshly graduated from her MBA at the University of Toronto, Saidi tried to join the traditional corporate 9-5 world, after working as a self-employed consultant for 8+ years. Unable to land the type of role she desired, she decided to leave consulting and found LUS instead.
“Investors wouldn’t back me,” said Saidi. “No one believed a shampoo company for curly hair would ever make it in such a competitive space. So I decided to take a big risk. I withdrew $75K from the student line of credit I had received for my MBA, put a small portion of that in my own account to live on, and the rest in the company’s account. That’s how I started LUS. It was literally all or nothing.”