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Top 5 business tips from Tangle Teezer’s Shaun Pulfrey

Rejected by Dragon’s Den (but later praised as the one that got away), Tangle Teezer is a British business success story. Since starting in 2007 the detangling hairbrushes are now sold in over 70 countries and used by celebrities like Cara Delevingne, Victoria Beckham and Salma Hayek. Last year the company reported an annual turnover of £23.4 million with an estimated 20 brushes sold every minute around the world.

Founder Shaun Pulfrey took some time to give us his five top business tips for healthy, lustrous, tangle-free growth.

Shaun Pulfrey, founder of Tangle Teezer

Be different

“This sounds really obvious, but the best way to get your product or your business noticed is to be different. We’re always trying to be different in everything that we do at Tangle Teezer. Right from the early days I was determined to create a hairbrush that touched on as many senses as possible in a different way from any hairbrush that had come before.

“I made the shape different to the touch, I made a hairbrush without a handle so it looked different, and I even played around with the spelling of the name so that it sounded differently. Work really hard at being different, it will save you a fortune in advertising in the long run, and get people talking.”

Be honest with your customers

“All I ever wanted to do was to create a hairbrush that would make it easy for everyone to remove tangles and knots painlessly and without effort. I knew if I could do that, it would help everyone have healthier hair, and possibly change the lives of parents with young children. I never set out to create a multi-million pound company.

“That’s what I mean by being honest with your customers. If business partners or our consumers thought all we cared about was money, they wouldn’t be our customers for long. But I think when they saw that I really cared about what I was doing on The Dragon’s Den, and that I was prepared to be mocked to get my dream out there, it seems to have struck a chord with people.”

Find passionate people to work with you

“They say that the DNA of any business is set in the first 90 days of its existence, so those first people who come to work with you are critical. I confess I never looked at a CV when I hired someone. What I looked for more than anything was passion – a passion for beauty and a passion for hair.

“When I saw someone’s eyes light up when they began to talk about their make-up or their hair colour, I knew they’d be a great asset because they would have exactly the same passion for helping other women have great looking hair too.”

REALLY care about every single customer

“Customers are like gold dust when you are starting out! I remember I used to pack every single order in the early days, and almost say a thank you every time I popped their little parcel in the post. I would work all weekends to catch up with the packing, and try to get orders out as quickly as possible. I felt humbled that people were prepared to part with their own money to own a Tangle Teezer hairbrush. I still feel the same now.

“Customers almost feel like part of our family, and I love it when they write and tell us they feel it too. It’s been nearly nine years since we launched and some of those teenage girls who bought their very first Tangle Teezer hairbrush in the early-days might have young children of their own now – that’s a lovely thought.”

Don’t get too obsessed with competition

“Of course it’s important to have an awareness of competition, but don’t obsess over it. It’s much more important to focus on your own idea, and making your own business different, than constantly try to combat what competitors are doing.

“I’ve always tried to be first in what we’re doing, and I believe if you follow that path, your competitors will be much more worried by what you are doing than the other way around.”

You can see the timeline of the business (and buy some hairbrushes) at Tangle Teezer

 Find more business tips and insights on the O2 Business blog

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