Rolling Out

Meet Tiffini Gatlin, the 1st Black woman to sell hair extensions on QVC

Latched and Hooked Beauty encourages using healthy extensions for protective styles

Tiffini Gatlin, founder and CEO of Latched and Hooked Beauty, is making notable moves in the hair industry for Black women. She became the first woman to sell high-quality synthetic hair extensions for Black women on QVC. The home shopping network regularly features Gatlin’s product line that includes hair extensions and wigs free of heavy metals, lead, phthalates, and formaldehyde. Gatlin is also one of Ulta Beauty‘s 100 Inspirational Black Voices.

“Failure is proof that you tried,” Gatilin shared with rolling out about overcoming obstacles during her entrepreneurship journey. The pandemic significantly impacted businesses, including Latched and Hooked, but Gatlin adapted to the changes and began creating content and servicing clients through her website.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I started the company because my oldest daughter suffered from scalp irritation. So, like most moms, I just kind of like sprang into action to try to figure out a solution. I actually travel[ed] to China and visit[ed] a few manufacturers. I shared what my daughter was experiencing, and what other Black women were experiencing. At that point I didn’t even know how synthetic hair was made. I didn’t know that there was a formula that was used to actually create this polymer fiber. I learned what chemicals were used for the formulation of the synthetic hair extensions. Learning more about that just got me curious and I was able to talk to the manufacturer about how we could replace some of the toxic chemicals with nontoxic chemicals.

What is the process for creating a quality hair extension line?

I wanted to have a hands-on approach … We did everything in our warehouse and packaged and boxed everything by hand. We shipped our packages to QVC. People would say we are crazy for doing that instead of hiring a third-party logistics company. It helped me understand what it takes to fulfill a purchase order from a retailer. Since the show aired, the most significant thing has been increased awareness of our brand.
How did you navigate obstacles on your road to success?
I have failed so many times, and I have gone through so many different adversities in business. What I’ve come to learn about speed bumps and obstacles [is] that all of those things are learning lessons. Would you rather say that you tried, or would you rather say you didn’t even want to attempt to do it. I’m the kind of person [who] wants to know what’s going to happen. I’ve had so many opportunities to come my way because I failed. You just have to keep going. It’s a part of the journey you must feel. I’ll also say that if there’s a time where you know an entrepreneur is looking for an investor or some type of help to grow their business, [remember] one wants to hear a boring story about. You want to talk to an entrepreneur who has some grit.

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