Tags: CURLS | Mahisha Dellinger | hair | care

CURLS Owner Dellinger to Moneynews: California Tax Burden Forces Me to Move to Texas

By Glenn J. Kalinoski and John Bachman   |   Friday, 08 Mar 2013 07:27 PM

Mahisha Dellinger, owner of the multi-million dollar hair-care line CURLS and a native of California, had a simple solution to the problem of rising taxes: relocation.

“I’m moving from California to Texas,” Dellinger told Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview. “I’m in the midst of that right now for that very reason. That’s going to save … a lot,” she said.

“California, I love … but I just cannot continue to give as much as I am knowing that I can live in another state and not have as much of a tax burden. We’re taking away some potential jobs."

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Dellinger outlined the methods she has used to grow her business amid a sluggish economy. As a symbol of her great success, CURLS products will appear on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

“It’s about the scalability of your company, being able to respond quickly to a changing economic background,” she said. “For me, the growth was, ‘OK, the economy has tanked.’ How can we still continue to grow the business, develop it and still adjust in this ethnic market?”

Her solution was to add a retail line, which is going into Wal-Mart, for the budget-conscious curler.

“You still want to have a great hair day, you still want to have great products in your hair, but you don’t want to have to pay $25 a bottle,” she said. “That enabled us to grow our business. As a result we got Target and we got Wal-Mart and we got Sally’s.”

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A challenge Dellinger faces is her segment’s increased visibility among larger, multinational companies. Her firm has 10 employees.

“[They’ve realized] this is a big market [and said] let’s also make products,” she said. “We already have the shelf space, we already have the multi-national budget for marketing, we already have connections to all these other companies. Come in, slap a label on the bottle, say it’s for black women, and market it and take that market share.”

Obtaining access to capital while trying to expand the business was not easy for Dellinger.

“I had to use my own money,” she said. “It took me all of just maybe a week to realize … I’m going to fund this myself. Because I had my 9-to-5 [job], I reinvested every dime and every dollar that was made … back into the business and my 9-to-5 paid for my living expenses.”

She described other lessons learned along the path to growth. They included getting “your feet wet,” understanding the marketplace and the customer and making changes “before you go big into the Targets and the Wal-Marts.”

“That gave me more confidence and more experience,” she said. “We’ve been actually … courted by some companies. Some are interested in buying a piece of the company.”

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