- Joi Wade is the founder of Joiful Bee, which sells textured and curly hair accessories.
- It has recorded over $500,000 in revenue since its launch, thanks to its social media presence.
- This is part of Insider’s “Star, Rising” entrepreneur series, which spotlights early entrepreneurs.
Last name: Joi Wade
Site: Tampa, Florida
Business: A hair care brand that makes accessories, like brushes and towels, for textured and curly hair.
Pass: Before Joi Wade launched her business, she amassed a following on YouTube and Instagram.
Wade is best known for her hair care videos, which she started posting in 2015, which show her test products. Plus, she’s part of the online hair movement that has encouraged black women to embrace their natural textures after an age-old trend of using harmful chemical straightening treatments to better suit Eurocentric style standards. She has made over 200 videos and has 123,000 subscribers on YouTube and 14,000 followers on Instagram.
In 2020, when salons temporarily closed during the pandemic, Wade leveraged his digital success and launched Joiful Bee, which sells shampoo brushes, hair towels and satin scrunchies to detangle and wash hair. textured. Black consumers are expected to spend $1.6 billion on hair care products in 2021, according to market research firm Mintel.
Growth: Since launching in 2020, Wade has posted more than $500,000 in revenue, according to documents seen by Insider. Additionally, the brand has 12,000 followers on Instagram, and Wade plans to host a pop-up at the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta this year.
Before Joyful Bee: Wade studied public relations at the University of Southern California and now works as an associate product marketing manager at Google. She runs Joiful Bee as a side business.
Challenges: Supply chain management was a huge challenge, Wade said. At first, Wade struggled to keep up with demand from all of her customers, which taught her how to balance inventory with marketing so she always had enough product for customers.
Trading tips: “Validate your product to see if it’s something people actually want to buy,” she said. For example, it spent the first year launching small, soft launches of its products to gauge consumer interest.
Business Mentoring: Wade calls his father, a small business owner, one of his biggest mentors. He taught her how to connect with customers using her own experience of building a business without social media. “I’m amazed how he grew his business without the digital marketing tools we have today,” she said.
Why is this the best time to start a business: “Now is only the best time to start a business if you feel called to be an entrepreneur,” Wade said. Owning a small business will be a “difficult, time-consuming and isolating endeavor”, she added. But consumer needs have changed because of the pandemic, and there are new opportunities to meet their wants, she said.
At hiring : Currently, Wade runs the business with the help of four contractors who help with marketing and order fulfillment. It does not plan to hire full-time employees at this time, she said.
Manage burnout: Wade logs off in the evenings, whether or not there is work to do, and takes time to pursue his hobbies. She’s also working on other projects, like the book she wrote about getting into college and the travel podcast she hosts called “Melanin and Miles.”