Kim Etheredge is the CEO and one-half of the dynamic hair brand Mixed Chicks. As the daughter of an Irish mother and an African-American father, she struggled to find products to suit her hair. As she grew older she realized that family, friends and strangers alike had the same dilemma. In 2002 she met her business partner Wendi Levy and they bonded over their hair journeys. They went to a lab with their favorite products, researched ingredients online, tested several samples and came up with their staple product the “leave-in conditioner.” Once the Mixed Chicks formula was created, tested and approved they launched a web-based business in 2004. Before long the two were running a full-blown business providing a solution to men, women and children’s hair needs around the world. We spoke to Etheredge about Mixed Chicks longevity in the business.
What was the inspiration behind Mixed Chicks?
It really was self-motivated. It simply was to create a product for my hair being a blend of different textures. Growing up finding products, we were limited. It was really about making a solution instead of complaining.
How have you sustained the business over the years?
God is good. When we began we were one of the first brands. There was so much diversity in our brands in Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture, Kinky Curly, Jane Carter and myself. We all began making products for women to express themselves with their natural hair. I think the difference with Mixed Chicks is that we have the best customers who are very loyal. They’re satisfied with the results every time, so they come back. A lot of times people say their hair got tired of a product. I think we have the consistency where the product continues to work. We do try to stay innovative and put out products that everybody else does not have.
How have you overcome business challenges?
It’s like a roller coaster and you just got to put your seat belt on and ride it. It can be very frustrating, however, I think it’s about truly believing in what you do, not doubting yourself and staying committed to the purpose. I think that’s how you continue to win and continue to grow.
Tell me about your new Mixed Chicks collection?
We have a new collection called Hair Four Days. I have a leave-in spray, which refreshes detangles and moisturizes the curls. I have a volumizer for the second day that’s like a mousse that refreshes without having to rewash your hair. We have a calming cream like a moisturizer goes on dry hair. So whether you want to smooth it on from root to the end or you want to put your hair up in any updos or ponytails, and still have those fresh curls at the end. I have fabulous perfume spray, that takes the odor out and refreshes the smell of the hair.