My history of Foil Me began 6 years ago when I saw these shiny sheets of foil in Emily’s hair while she was at a hair salon one day. When she got home, I asked her why she had foil in her hair. At the time I was running a food business and I was selling large pre-cut foil sheets for wrapping burritos and burgers. When I realised foil was used in hair dressing too, it was most definitely a ‘light bulb’ moment.
Knowing next to nothing about hairdressing and colouring, we asked Emily’s best friend, Amy, who has been a hairdresser since she was 16 years old. We asked her about the foil she was using and she, like many others, was buying supermarket foil and ripping it up. She thought the idea of a pre-cut foil was great and that it would save her heaps of time. We chatted about the way she used the foil and what would make foiling easier for her. We were also informed that there were already pre-cut foils on the market and why Amy (and it seemed lots of other hairdressers) didn’t use them.
Armed with this knowledge, we asked our burrito foil manufacturer to create specific foils that would suit hairdressers based on our ideas. We had some samples boxes made up and we began to show local hairdressers. We had a hair salon at the end of our street so I thought they would be a great place to gather feedback on our new product.
“Hi, I’m ili, I live down the street. I’ve got some new hair foils here, did you want try them out?” was literally what I said.
The salon owner had a look and tried them out and offered me $10 on the spot for the sample pack. That was a good sign I thought!
Armed with more feedback, we tweaked our foil and packaging and then had more samples and sizes made. At this point, Emily, who was on child rearing leave from being a high school teacher, was wanting to get back into work again, but not ready to go full time teaching again. So, she took our hair foil samples and twice a week would go cold calling into hair salons with her gentle, yet persuasive way. She would leave the foils with them and then just come back 1 or 2 weeks later. The feedback received was nothing short of amazing and local salons around Adelaide began placing orders.
I would then pack the orders in our garage and I or Emily would drive around Adelaide personally delivering to every salon. Although, in the early days it was only 3-4 deliveries per week.
Emily would make notes about the salons she visited either between naps when our little one was sleeping or at night once the kids went to bed.
Slowly, 3-4 deliveries per week turned into 7 or 8 deliveries per week including a few “help I’m desperate for foil, can you drop some off on Saturday morning!!!” type deliveries. So, we would load the kids in the car along with some foils and go for a nice Saturday morning drive to make deliveries! It was great to be able to help salons out like that and it was even nicer the genuine appreciation our Foil Me Lovers had back then and that our Foil Me Lovers have to this day. It made our business that much more enjoyable.
As the orders grew, so did the amount of feedback we received. We listened to everything everyone was saying and began to develop and perfect our designs and sizes. What began as a single sized ‘pop-up’ foil then expanded to our ‘wide,’ ‘extra-wide’ and ‘short’ pre-cut foil which no one else was doing at the time we introduced these sizes.
Around this time, Emily started a ‘foilmefoils’ Instagram account. I recall she would sit on her phone at night (and whenever she had the chance during the day) for hours at a time scrolling and commenting on hair related pictures and watching videos or “talking” to people on Periscope. I also recall saying to her ‘You’re wasting your time!’ …Yes, I know how wrong I was and I’m often reminded of it!
Emily began to interact with more and more hairdressers and salons all over Australia and the USA. Interest in our foils grew and slowly, more and more hairdressers from around Australia began to try them out.
Now instead of packing and delivering 5-10 orders per week, I was packing 10 or 20 orders per week. Some I delivered personally and then others I packed and sent interstate by post or courier.
Everything was getting busier and busier so we needed to hire our first part time employee. I was busy packing and Emily was busy visiting salons in person or interacting with them online and we needed some extra help. Things were also getting a bit distracting at home with the businesses and kids so fortunately, a small office at the end of our street came up for rent.
Foil Me was becoming an actual business with our first staff member and now a proper office. It was pretty exciting.
That one part time staff member then became two.
Our three or four products became ten.
Part time turned to full time, two part time and one casual.
Packing orders in our garage turned into a warehouse team packing full time.
Foil Me has changed our lives and has helped to change the lives of hairdressers all over the world! We are six years in, but it honestly feels like we are actually just getting started. There is so much more to be done.
I look forward to writing his story of Foil Me in another six years.