At its heart, Ruth's Beauty was about rethinking my own buying experiences as a woman of color and empowering myself as a consumer. I created a customer-focused experience that ultimately has wide applicability for all companies with high-end internet sales models.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
After a number of years working in a busy legal practice in New York and London at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, I stepped away from practicing law to pursue an interest in painting and sculpture. In order to paint full time, I wanted to start a business "on the side" to support myself and where I could serve as general counsel and connect high level legal experience to the real world situations facing a small business.
As I thought more and more about what kind of business I wanted to start and what mattered to me, I really began thinking about the buying experiences of women of color and how I could make sensitive purchases feel good. The tagline was “Shamelessly gorgeous” because in 2008 buying hair extensions and wigs was still a very awkward backroom experience, even for the very high end customers that formed the Ruth's Beauty target market. Also, with a number of customers who have medical hair loss, it was important to take the stigma out of hair purchases.
'it was important to take the stigma out of hair purchases'
I created Ruth’s Beauty because of my own desire to be able to shop comfortably in the privacy of my own home while I considered various wig and weave textures and looks that work for me. I had this idea of a “place” – online - where women of color and women of different backgrounds could go to in the privacy of their home and find quality flattering varieties of hair that we want through an easy, streamlined process.
Ruth's Beauty started as a home-based internet business selling wigs and hairpieces to women with an emphasis on providing individual and personalized attention but ultimately became a company that would make $6 million in sales with an initial investment of a stock photo that was given to me as a tongue in cheek birthday present. I was committed to developing natural textures for women of color at a time when they simply were not available on the market. We created a number of textures- Dominican Curl, Somalian Curl, Ruth's Yaki, Ruth's Ripple that had the dubious distinction of being some of the most widely copied textures until they became industry standards.
After getting married and having two wonderful children, I was ready to return to full time legal practice. We attempted to outsource many of the functions in 2016 but unfortunately were not able to maintain the level of customer care that had always been our trademark. The onslaught of copyright infringements and troubling data breaches proved to difficult to overcome and I finally sold the remaining assets in 2017.
I view this as an opportunity to refocus on my legal career, but I will continue to provide business consultation services. This website is a brief overview of what we accomplished and also a place where customers can leave their contact information for notice about the launch of Grace Lace Wigs, a new company for which I have consulted and where many of the Ruth’s Beauty favorites will be available.
Thank you for your support.