Business Name: Heatless Babe Waves
Name & Title: Brittany Johnson, Founder
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Edit Seven: Tell us about your business, what do you do?
Brittany Johnson: I’m Brittany Johnson, entrepreneur, actor, writer, and founder of the beauty brand Heatless Babe Waves (HBW) I started the company in January 2021 during the pandemic.
E7: How did you start your business? What inspired you to start?
BJ: I’ve always been the go-to friend for hair styling and beauty tips. I started modeling and acting at a young age, and my thick, long, red hair has always been a big part of my look and who I am.
When the pandemic hit, my husband and I were in the middle of a long fertility journey, and all of our clinic plans were put on hold. Feeling helpless and unable to control this new timeline, I turned to something I could control: a business endeavour. And not just any business, but one that would lift other women up and make them feel how I so desperately wanted to feel during that time: confident, beautiful, and fearless.
E7: Why do you love what you do?
BJ: The best part about this journey for me has definitely been building the HBW community,and receiving streams of positive feedback from so many women. I love when someone tells me that my product has made their life easier, made their hair look and feel amazing, and given them their time back. Time is such an invaluable currency these days.
E7: What makes your business special?
BJ: HBW is a Canadian female-made and female-ran company from top to bottom. That is something I am very proud of and something I think is important to our customers. Small, local businesses and female empowerment are two things I’m very passionate about. Bring them together, and you have HBW magic.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your business so far?
BJ: I’m a big believer in the saying, “Launch fast and course correct.” I don’t think anyone is ever ready. And if you can get out of your own way, there is a joy that comes when you figure out your moves as you go along.
E7: What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a business owner?
BJ: Starting a company in the middle of a pandemic was definitely a big risk. I dreamt up the branding, what it would look like and represent, and I knew that quality was important to me. However, the rest of it was all new to me: connecting with material wholesalers, assembling a team, navigating logistics, et cetera. I have been fortunate to call on fellow entrepreneur friends for advice and guidance, and that has been such a blessing to my Heatless Babe Waves journey.
E7: What is your one piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
BJ: It sounds cliche, but trust your gut. When you have a vision, and you’re staying up at night, excited about what you’re creating and planning, trust yourself that even if other people don’t see what you do, they will in time.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business?
BJ: Setting up an online store and organizing shipping and tracking logistics [were] all new territory for me. I feel like I am constantly learning every day, with every little fire that arises. I’m grateful for all of it because it has brought me to where I am, bumps in the road and all.
E7: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs in the beauty space to prepare for?
BJ: If you are pushing your brand on social media, content is king. And user-created content is the ultimate kind of content. Have a strong plan and a ton of your business content in the bank before you launch. Then, once you’ve launched, really build your community and maximize your output of user-created content. That’s what your community and people interested in your brand will connect and interact with.
E7: What advice would you give to small business owners in the hair and beauty space to help them take their brand and business to the next level?
BJ: If you’re an e-commerce business, you likely rely heavily on social media as a funnel to your online business. Therefore, community is essential to growing your brand. Spending time interacting and engaging with your community is vital; your customer and their needs should always be your top priority. If they have a great experience with your product and are interacting with your brand, word-of-mouth advertising or shares on social media will be that much more fruitful. Positive personal testimonials are business gold.
E7: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
BJ: Between my extensive skincare routine and my Heatless Babe Waves, I’ve got my “feeling good as hell” list pretty much covered. My guided meditation app is essential for my clarity and rest each day.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
BJ: Fashion, clothing, photography. Old movies, records, and vintage shops. I love anything with a story.
E7: Who is the Heatless Babe Waves customer, and why should they try your products?
BJ: [A Heatless Babe Waves customer is] anyone with long hair who wants voluminous curls without the heat damage and time wasted. Who doesn’t love a good hair hack?
E7: Where do you see Heatless Babe Waves over the next few years?
Currently, we are only shipping within North America, but I would love to launch globally. I hope by this time next year we are carried by some well-known beauty retailers. And, of course, my greatest goal is that our community continues to grow and thrive on an international scale.
My grade 8 graduation quote was, “I am going to make everything around me beautiful—that will be my life” by American actress Elsie de Wolfe. This remains my mission in my life and with my company today.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)