This is the final series from the photo collection from this look by Drop Dead Luxury. I wanted to give you an extra special treat, so I sat down with Krystal Bailey, the one who started it all...
1. What inspired you to start Drop Dead Luxury?
Initially, I really wanted to start an Etsy shop where I could make handmade items like customized phone cases and snapbacks, so I started doing that. Spikes and studs were a HUGE trend last summer, so it was something I really thought would be successful. Not to mention, I’ve always enjoyed crafts and being creative, so it was a win win situation. While I was selling the customized items I noticed that dip dye/ombre was becoming extremely popular. People were selling them in all colors and lengths and I thought “I can SO do this.” So instead of coloring the extensions myself I enlisted the help of professionals and DDL was born.
2. As a young entrepreneur, what are the challenges you have faced in beginning a new company?
Honestly, in the beginning I had absolutely nothing and no business starting a company. I never asked for help from anyone. I didn’t ask my parents, the bank, or anyone, so it was insanely difficult trying to get somewhere with literally nothing. Fortunately, I’ve always been savvy when it comes to cash, eBay has been my savior for the last 6 years and still is. I’ve sold half my wardrobe for countless reasons since I was in High School, and a lot of the times it’s the things you use the least that are worth the most. Of course, I wasn’t able to start a full on company by just selling clothes. I worked very hard to save up enough to get a decent start and it hasn’t been all fun and games, but hard work will always pay off in one way or another.
3. How have you managed to balance both school AND running Drop Dead Luxury?
I probably shouldn’t say this, but I absolutely cannot stand school. I think almost everyone feels that way at my age. Sometimes I even wake up and question why I’m still enrolled if you want me to be completely honest. But you know what? I still get up and I go to every class (for the most part lol). I’m working towards a degree in Entrepreneurship, so I know I’ll be really happy that I’m forcing myself to go, but until that day I’ll probably just keep complaining lol. To answer your question, I don’t find it hard to balance both at all. I answer e-mails in class and make sure things are running smoothly 24/7. I wake up in the middle of the night to check my phone, wake up at 6am to check it again, go back to sleep, and look at my phone once I get up. I’m a maniac, but school comes second to work and that’s just how it is. DDL is my baby, so I treated like so.
4. Where have you found the most help in getting your new company off the ground?
I kind of already answered this lol! I just worked really hard doing what I could. I worked with my parents for a little while and did all sorts of little odd jobs here and there. You don’t need a gazillion dollars to start a company. You can start small and progress, but a gazillion dollars would have been GREATLY appreciated.
5. How would you describe Drop Dead Luxury to someone new?
It’s a dope ass opportunity for you to express yourself with your hair. A lot of people think of hair extensions or hair in general as just hair, something on your headm or whatever. I think hair is so extremely important. What would Nicki Minaj be without her colorful wigs in all shapes and sizes, or Amy Winehouse without her beehive? Hair is an accessory. No one wants flat, boring, Debbie downer hair. Just like no one wants to be stuck wearing a white t shirt and tan pants for the rest of their life. Hair is another way to have fun and DDL lets you do that.
6. What have you learned in this experience?
Be professional, always work harder, know who your customers are, and do what you love.
7. What are the first steps to beginning a new company?
Figure out what people want. You can’t just sell a bunch of things to people. You need to know who you’re marketing to and what they want. Once you do this, then you can figure out what YOU want to do with that information. Get financially stable. You don’t have to have a million dollars, but you have to have dollars. Have a plan. This is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t just buy a website, throw a name on it, and list products. Set goals for yourself, think about what you want and what is realistic, which leads me to the next part. Be realistic. I have such a bad habit of dreaming big and not taking “no” as an answer, but realistically I had to settle for a lot of things. That doesn’t mean you have to settle forever, but start out small and take it from there.
8. You are such an inspiration. What advice would you give to someone looking to begin their own company?
Make sure that you’re starting something you have a passion for. As much as I love love love hair, when it comes to this company my passion is predominantly for sales and helping people reach their goals. I love consulting with people about their hair extensions, colors, length, and styles. I love overlooking orders and making sure everything is running smoothly. Basically, I like being the boss of something that is so much fun. I don’t have to go to an office every day and file through paperwork, and that is something I‘m thankful for. Work harder than you think you should. Don’t be lazy! If you really want something you need to work for it. Not everyone gets things handed to them, so you should always be willing to do what you need to in order to get what you deserve. Believe in yourself. I know it sounds corny, but if I constantly doubted myself then I wouldn’t be here today. No one can be as hard on you as you can. You have the power to tear yourself down, but don’t do it, and don’t let anyone have that power over you. Never take no as an answer and keep trying, but pace yourself!
9. What are your plans for the future?
I plan on opening up an online clothing boutique. I’m very excited about that. I have the name down, but it’s more of an idea in its beginning stages. I will be expanding DDL with an eyelash line and shifting from custom extensions into more products that can ship to customers quickly. Also, I’m moving from NYC when I complete school, so I can go to London or Birmingham (England) where I hope to open up a boutique or two, and get my master’s degree from one of their design schools.
Check out Drop Dead Luxury for a chance to have your own fantasy hair:
This is the first gallery in a series of eight that is all her own - hair that never sheds and always shines.
Photos by Adina Doria/Hair styled by Diana Lucia/Extensons done by Felicia Francis aka Felicia Braids/Hair Pieces by Joey Thao (Look2) & Remy Holwick (Look1)