When Lizzie Carter, founder of Only Curls, was looking for the perfect solution for her own hair back in 2016, she quickly realised there was a huge gap in the market and curly hair had largely been neglected in the beauty sector, especially in the UK. Lizzie created onlycurls.com, a London-based DTC haircare line made specifically to help people manage curly hair. Their business has grown incredibly rapidly, and with a large dedicated following on Instagram and Tiktok. With an exceptionally strong repeat customer base they look set to become one of the most disruptive curly haircare brands in the beauty market.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
My background is in fashion design. I worked for companies including Abercrombie & Fitch and Nordstrom in the States before moving back to the UK in 2015.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
I’d been trying to think of a business idea for a while. The idea came about when I was searching for a special towel for my curls and couldn’t find one easily in the UK, following this I had the revelation that us curlies had been somewhat left behind by the beauty industry. The products I was using (this was 2016) were the same, and in the same packaging as ones I had been using 20 years prior. I wanted to change this and start a new conversation around curl care. My mission with Only Curls was always to encourage curly people of all textures to ditch the chemicals, forget the straighteners and start loving their natural curls.
How did you achieve awareness?
We have the curly community to thank for our success. Our customers have helped spread the word via social media and we have been able to build a large following on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
I started the business with £500 and have reinvested the profits to grow the business and team. In the past 12 months we have turned over £5 million, with no investment,
What are the key successes?
The amazing feedback from our customers is what keeps us all excited about this business!
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
The pandemic threw some serious stock challenges our way, lead-times across all raw materials were an issue and we had to move fast and quickly come up with alternative packaging solutions to keep in business.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We are excited to expand our product range and make our products available internationally
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Don’t overthink it. If you have an idea the internet is there to help you figure out how to make it happen!
Can you share you top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Always stay ahead. It’s important to keep on top of new platforms and technology in order to stay on trend. This new climate with new platforms like Tiktok, allows small business to play in a market that was previously dominated by large conglomerates.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
After having 2 children,and starting a business I have so much respect for my parents. My dad had his own company, and my mum always worked, yet they were always there with time to spend with us. I’m not sure I’ve figured out the same balance as them just yet, juggling the business and two young children has many challenges- but I hope to get there.
What are your Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social handles and also website links so our readers can connect with you?
@onlycurlslondon (facebook, twitter, Instagram, tiktok)