The Process of Founding a Groundbreaking Brand



Have you ever thought of starting your own brand? Have you ever had an idea or innovation and don’t know where to start? I get asked all the time, “How did you start FASTFOILS” and, “What do you need to do to start a brand.” To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing when I first started. I knew I had a concept that I had not seen in the market before, so I got curious. After some research, I realized that the idea for my product did not exist, and I was certain this innovative product would help my fellow stylists work more efficiently behind the chair. To this day I am still learning every day. The more my company grows, the more I learn and live through the successes and failures that come along with growth. The most important thing I’ve learned about failure is how to overcome these challenges and fears, building me stronger for the next one that is yet to come.

It All Starts with a Concept or an Idea

This concept came to me while working with Mark Woolley from Electric Space at London Fashion Week where efficiency and speed are key. I was wearing all black when the idea of creating an ultra-black foil, that would keep and distribute heat more efficiently, came to mind. I knew I was on to something and let my curiosity drive me to find more answers.

You then must do your research to see if your concept exists and if it does, see if you can make it
better or innovate it.

At FASTFOILS our number one priority is hair health. Our high-performance foils with endothermic technology protect the hair integrity and provide a minimum of 25% faster processing time with a more consistent level of lift and better colour deposit than the traditional foil. I realized that there had not been innovation in the foil category in thirty years and that’s when I knew I was onto something and had to keep going. There are not many opportunities to reinvent the wheel, but when you do, it can revolutionize an industry.

Now You Have an Idea, and You Know it Can Be Something Good. What Do You Do Next?

You then have to do product research and testing, develop a brand concept, conduct research on what is already in the market, and gather feedback from testing to improve and finalize your product. Then comes building a launch strategy and having a lot of tenacity and a little audacity to break through a saturated market, and, of course, you need a stable foundation to fund the costs that come along with this journey. This can all seem very daunting, so if I can share any advice; it is to take one step at a time, after all; Rome was not built in a day.

I will say that once you start, there is no stopping, and I would not even start if you think that it is going to be easy.

We spent one and a half years in research and development (R&D) with third-party testing before we launched our first product. Once you have your concept, your R&D results, and you have gathered enough information for your market research, the next most important piece of the puzzle is what your brand will look like and what your mission statement will be. Your brand is just as important as your product, so the question now is; how do you want your brand to show up? Brands can evolve over time, but you only get one chance to launch a product, and this can make the difference between a good product and a great product — versus a moderately successful product or even a failed product. 

You Are Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link

Surround yourself with the best people you can: friends, acquaintances, clients. Anyone and everyone who can be a connection will be beneficial later on. But don’t forget; relationships are a two-way street. Focus on building a reliable support system: hire a PR agency that represents your brand, lean onto your mentors, and ask for advice because you will not know until you know — and sometimes that means learning the hard way. Most importantly do not give up! There will be nights when you do not sleep; there will be thrills and tribulations. But if you believe in your concept, believe in your brand, have a point of difference, and a little bit of audacity — anything is possible. Overnight success is considered to be ten years or more. One of the best pieces of advice I can give someone is that if you do have a concept or idea, be very careful who you communicate this information with. When you are ready to share your concept, have everyone — and anyone — sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your idea. Great ideas do not happen very often.

Take the Time to Process It All

Lastly, a wise person once gave me a piece of advice. “Give yourself the time to think… if not, you will always be reacting not building.” Doing things well takes time, so don’t rush it and measure your success by the journey, not the end goal or the top of the mountain.
Stay tuned for my next podcast The Tease Talks with Ben Barkworth when I speak to Mark Woolley, Founder of Electric London, and Electric Space where we dive deep into how he started his salon chain, product line, and now international space. I will be in London launching FASTFOILS internationally at Electric Space London.

To learn more about FASTFOILS and Electric London, follow us @FASTFOILS, @FASTFOILS_UK, and @Electric_London_.

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Ben Barkworth

Ben Barkworth is the owner of JUSTB Salon, Toronto and an international award-winning hairstylist with over 15 years of experience. He is also the founder of FASTFOILS and leads with a mission to inspire, educate, create and promote hair health.

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