The National Post caught up with founder and CEO of Routes Hair Extensions, Rachel Burgin to talk about her vastly growing business. Routes Hair Extensions are one of the world’s leading luxury brands of Remy human hair extensions.
How long have you been in the luxury hair extension business for?
We have been in business for 4 years now and we are running into our fifth year.
What made you want to launch your own hair extension company?
I was in the industry myself as a hairdresser and hair extentionist for about 15 years and I was constantly up against suppliers who had bad or no service. I faced issues such as not being able to get the products I needed and various other things so I decided to set up Routes, my own line of extensions and I began offering it to salons and other industry professionals and it all took off from there.
You offer a range of products including hair extensions and tools, describe the various products you offer?
We offer many different lines of hair extensions and they each have different methods. All our extensions are made with human hair, we don’t have any synthetic mixed in. We have all different lines, methods that salons are using and also clip in hair that you can use from home. Our newest line which is being released very soon is a luxury wig line, which again is all human hair that will come coloured, cut and styled. It’s really modern and a sought after look.
What makes Routes Hair Extensions different from other companies?
Put simply, we care. We care about our customers and customer service is definitely a top priority. One aspect we concentrate on is helping to build our customers business into salons. We try to give them tools that will help them to bring in more customers and gain better industry knowledge. By helping their business grow and ours grows with it.
As you previously mentioned, Routes Hair Extensions have recently launched a new line of wigs. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Along with the launch of the line of wigs, we are also starting to set up a charity. Instead of selling the wigs, we would give them to people who need them to gain exposure for medical hair loss clients as not everybody can afford expensive wigs. We want to fundraise and bring big exposure if we can, to help as many people as possible with hair loss.
What are the advantages of using real hair rather than synthetic?
Human hair is like our own hair, and will act like our own hair. This means you can style it and wash it like real hair. With synthetic you can’t put heat on it and if you get it wet it will matt together. Synthetic hair is a very temporary thing so it’s great for going on a night out but it won’t look as natural and it’s going to have a different texture and maybe a bit on the shiny side. It is very much for short-term use whereas with human hair you can have it fitted in a semi-permanent way and wear it for months and months and get a more natural look and feel.
Where can you purchase the hair extensions and get them fitted? Can you do it yourself or do you have to use a professional salon?
You can purchase all of our products from our website. Anybody can buy from the site, although we do have a trade discount for professionals to buy hair for salons. We also sell to the public so the extensions you can clip in to use at home and we state on the website which products are for professional use. We also have all the aftercare products, hairbrushes, combs and those sorts of things that are great for home use.
Routes hair extensions offer many different shades of hair. How do you get the correct colour match and what would you say is important when deciding on a colour?
There are a few different ways we colour match. We offer colour rings for salons as we’ve got salons up and down the country. It’s kind of like a swatch and you can hold the swatch up to the clients hair to get the match. Also, for those who want to order directly from us, we do a free colour match service so if the customer takes a photo of themselves in a natural light with the tips of your hair in it, email it in to us and we will get back to you with our recommended colour match. If for any reason we get it wrong, which we don’t very often but obviously that could happen, we offer a free exchange service as well. The important thing really with deciding on colour is to get your own hair colour right first. You don’t really want to buy extensions and then decide to change your hair colour, its really important to match to what you’ve already got.
You have launched in both the UK and USA, what would you say is the key to balancing both territories successfully?
Launching in the USA is new territory for us, but the key to balancing both and running smoothly is again, customer service. Wherever you go around the world everybody responds well to good customer service and people that care. I’ve got an outstanding team that do genuinely care about the customers and getting things right. Also, an effective system really helps. We have a really good system that keeps all our data in one place, anything a customer wants to change or queries they all get flagged up and we can see them straight away and deal with them without a delay.
What are your top tips for keeping the hair in good condition and long lasting?
Always use the recommended after care, 100%, and that is the same for every type of extension. If you use the correct aftercare, it’s made for it, it’s tried, tested, proven. It’s the same with all other companies, always go with the recommended after care.
You have received great reviews online, what is the secret to keeping your clients happy?
The secret to keeping clients happy isn’t really a secret but it would be the same again of genuinely caring about the products and customers, customer service is always key. With any business, there might always be the unfortunate time that there is a problem and the key is to solve those problems, put it right for your client and make sure they are happy with the outcome at the end.
Where would you like to see Routes in 5 years time?
Our new charity is very important to us, so I would like to think that we would grow be a well known, household charity name where we can help lots of people not have the horrible of feeling of having no hair, not being able to get something that feels natural or aren’t able to afford it. This extends to hair loss from alopecia as well as cancer patients. More than anything I hope that the charity really takes off and gives back to help people to make a difference.
Routes hair extension sponsor the Best Female Personality category at this years National Reality Television Awards, taking place on the 25th September. To vote go to: http://nationalrealitytvawards.org/voting/
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