Stacey Boguslavskaya and Monica Abramov never planned on disrupting the hair industry with their own line of cordless hair tools. And, they certainly didn’t plan on starting a cordless movement — one that would revolutionize the way women everywhere style their hair. In fact, if you ask them, launching a cordless hair tool brand was never their intention at all. “It was just supposed to be a side hustle,” Boguslavskaya says. “Like, we were still working in our corporate jobs.” And, yet that side hustle has now blossomed into an uber-successful business called Lunata Beauty that’s now leading the way in cordless beauty technology.
The Tease had the pleasure of speaking to Boguslavskaya about how she and Abramov built Lunata, why the brand decided to release their first professional styler, how they are dealing with growing competition in the cordless hair tool market, and more.
On the “aha” moment that inspired Lunata Beauty:
“So, Monica and I had another business previously. It was called shopbake.com. It was sort of like Uber meets Etsy for bakeries. So, we had a really important trip planned to go to Ireland to meet with some investors at a conference there. We wanted to pack light and just bring carry-ons. Monica brought a super expensive flat iron and I didn’t bring one because I thought, “Well, we can just share it.” We got to Ireland and got to our Airbnb and were getting ready for these meetings. We had everything—the adapter, the converter, etc—and the flat iron just short-circuited and wouldn’t even turn on. It pretty much short-circuited our Airbnb. And so, that was sort of like our “aha” moment of how come hair tools are not dual-voltage and how come everything is corded. At the time, there were so many cordless tools—Phillips had just launched their cordless toothbrush—but, we felt like the hair industry just wasn’t really innovating.”
On how she and her co-founder turned their big idea into a reality:
“When we came back from the meeting, we ended up going back to the corporate world because UberEats came to Canada at that time and we couldn’t really compete with free delivery. And when we were back in the corporate world, we kept thinking about how is it that there are no cordless tools that work well. So, Monica and I ended up ordering every cordless tool we could find on Amazon, Alibaba, and like any site that we could find anything that looked good and seemed to promise to be a good tool. What we found was that most of them were mini-sized —sort of like an afterthought or something you throw in your bag, but really it doesn’t do anything to your hair—or were Butane-powered where you had to find this little Butane cartridge, so it sort of works like a lighter.
We quickly realized that there really wasn’t anything on the market and ended up finding this one sample—it was a full-size flat iron and it still wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but it was the sample we could find. We reached out to the factory and we asked them if they could make certain tweaks for us and how many units we would have to commit to for them to try to get it to be hotter and to last longer. They said 105 units—a random number, but it was how many could fit on one shipping container. So, we ordered those 105 units. We wanted to sell it through Instagram and our Facebook, just kind of posting about it to see if anybody would be interested. We sold out within about a month and a half to two months with no marketing spent.
So, we saw that there obviously was a big need for this and I don’t know how it happened, but we got a bit ambitious and thought, “Why don’t we send a couple of these to some buyers?” We went on LinkedIn and found junior buyers at Nordstrom and some other retailers. Nordstrom was one of the first retailers that we sent the iron to and they first said to us, “Oh, how come your iron isn’t mini-sized? We think cordless should be mini-sized.” And we said, “Well, we don’t. We think it needs to work.” So, they sat on it for about four months. We didn’t hear anything back from them, so we thought they didn’t like it. Well, then they reached out saying that all the ladies in their office were using it and that they wanted to bring the tool into their stores. So, we kind of became a company in one week because they were like, “Do you have insurance and do you have a warehouse?” and we were fulfilling orders from Monica’s dining room table. We, of course, said yes to everything even though we didn’t, so we had to find everything in a week. Monica was literally reading these packing and shipping books on how do you find a 3PL and how do you get this insurance, and what else you need to do. And, since then it just kind of blew up.”
On why they decided to release their first pro tool—the Lunata Cordless Styler PRO:
“We always wanted to be a brand that stands by our products and even though our tools were already being used by professionals—a lot of professionals that work for HBO as well as Amazon shows and movies are using our tools,—we wanted to make sure that our technology got to a place where we were ready to really unleash it on the pros and stand behind the quality and everything, especially knowing just how important it is to their careers. So, it is our first pro tool and we’re super proud of it.”
On how they designed the Cordless Styler PRO to be their longest lasting styler yet:
“Well, first of all, we have a really great factory partner and engineers that we work with. And, I think that because our focus is cordless, then everything that we are doing when it comes to talking to the engineers and working with them is about cordless. So, the goal was always that we can’t just have a tool that runs for 20-25 minutes. We need the maximum time and an hour is a great amount of time. You can do multiple hair looks. So, our tool does have four batteries in it. A lot of other tools have two batteries, but they are still really, really heavy because of just some of the materials that are used throughout the tools. We really didn’t want to sacrifice time and heat for the external materials and it being too heavy. And, knowing that pros work with these tools for a long period of time — it cannot be heavy. So, that was like a big thing — you know, how do we design this tool to be light but also last long.”
On how she views the current competitive market for cordless tools:
“It gets us really excited. There are a lot of positives to having competition because before we were first to market and so there weren’t a lot of people searching for cordless or even thinking that a cordless tool could do anything for their hair. And we’re not a Dyson, so we don’t have those marketing budgets. But with big players like Dyson and ghd coming into the market, consumers are now searching cordless and they are seeing reviews. They are seeing price points and they are seeing features and they are making comparisons. And you know, if you’re going to be selling a mini-sized touch up iron for more than we sell our top iron, I think it puts us in a good position. But yeah, competition is always welcome and it obviously shows you that you’re doing something right.”
On what she hopes stylists takeaway from using their stylers:
“I think the biggest thing is that there is a company that actually thought about some of the things that they have been struggling with for so many years because on our team we actually have stylists in the company. We also have a lot of friends who are stylists and they are starting to do more and more hair outside of the salon, especially with Covid and the changing times. There is a lot more being done right now on-location or going to somebody’s house or at weddings or events and so having to have extension cords and figure out locations and all these things, it’s sort of like — well, these companies haven’t really thought about us. So I hope that when pros start using it, they see that we really do care about them.”
To learn more about Lunata Beauty, be sure to follow the brand @lunatabeauty on Instagram or visit their website.