An Interview with Joann Marks, CEO and Founder of Fairy Shimmerhair Extensions
What is your background?
I own a company called CosPro Marketing that was started as Cosmetic Promotions back in 1990 using a borrowed computer and my garage as a warehouse. That inauspicious beginning has culminated 30 years later as a leader in Beauty Marketing, working with CVS and Walgreens as well as every mass beauty brand. Today the company (rebranded in 2020 as CosPro Marketing) has 23 employees, operates a 40,000 square foot warehouse, and supports two offsite workshops for mentally challenged adults with thousands of hours’ worth of work each year. Altogether, the Cosmetic Promotions team produces and delivers more than 20,000 beauty kits each month. In addition, I started CosPro Agency 19 years ago to provide makeup artists and brand ambassadors in stores to promote the beauty brands we work with.
What got you interested in Fairy Hair?
About 2 years ago I was in a Bar Method class and the instructor had these shimmering strands in her hair that looked awesome! I was getting ready to go on a weekend girls only cruise and thought it would be fun for our group to get fairy hair. So, I booked a party with a fairy and from that moment on I was hooked. Everywhere I went people wanted to know what it was and where they could get it! I had people following me in Europe!
So, tell us exactly what is it?
Fairy Shimmerhair™ Extensions are delicate, silky, shimmering fairy hair extensions which tie onto one strand of hair. They last until that strand of hair falls out naturally. You can wash them, brush them, comb them, color them, curl them, straighten them, blow them dry, and get a haircut with them in!
What are they made of?
They are made of a high-quality fabric that mimics actual hair. Some companies call it Thai Silk but we had them tested by the University of Florida and it is really a silky polyester that withstands heat up to 350 degrees. There is only one company that manufacturers the strands we choose to use because we wanted the one with the highest quality and largest shade selection.
Can people buy the fairy hair elsewhere and DIY?
There are some on Amazon that are a much lower quality (TINSEL) and usually only offer 12 shades. The issue is not only the product quality but the expertise of putting it in. Doing it on yourself is exceedingly difficult and if not put on the hair correctly, will fall out easily. Our trained technicians know the secret to perfect application so that the strands last longer.
So how long can people expect it to last?
I have one strand in my hair now that has been there since middle of June – over 4 months! But typically anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The key is that it is tied to ONE hair and when that one hair falls out naturally so does the Fairy hair.
Why did you decide to start this business NOW – especially during Covid?
Our CosPro Agency was not able to book events into stores because obviously to apply makeup you must touch people and during Covid, that is not being done. That means they had nothing to do and I didn’t want to furlough all of them. I also realized there were all these freelance makeup artists out there who needed work. Fairy hair application is Covid safe – everything is sanitized between clients, there is one person there at a time and both the specialist and the client wear a mask. They are not face to face and the specialist is not even brushing the hair, she is choosing one strand at a time.
But overall, there are 2 more reasons I wanted to start this business:
- Many small businesses are hurting. They have reopened and are struggling to get customers in the stores – especially with all the restrictions. By hosting a fairy hair 3-hour event, they can get 12-16 new customers – ONE AT A TIME – into their stores. Plus, we help promote them on our social media. Most of these boutiques are women owned, so we like that.
- I wanted to empower as many young women as possible that I could. This gives them the opportunity to run their own business, choose their own hours and make good money.
Is this a franchise?
No, it is more like selling Avon, but better. You buy the kit for under $400 and then reorder the hair from us as needed. As your business grows, you can hire fairies to work for you! The group here in Central Florida has been doing it about 3 years and they are always booked solid! Our company is providing the training, the locations, and the booking platform along with robust marketing. They are earning up to 65% of each session plus tips! A fairy working just 6 to 12 hours a week can earn over $50,000 a year.
Where are you doing these?
Right now, we have launched in Atlanta and Jacksonville. Tulsa is next. We have agreements with several small chains, so we are launching in areas where those chains are and where we have the most agency people. But we are also accepting applications on our website.
How does a store get involved?
If a store is looking for more foot traffic, they can contact us about hosting an event.
Are these only done in stores?
No, we also offer Fairy Shimmerhair™ Extensions private parties!
What types of women is this for?
Every woman who has at least 2 inches of hair! Women of all ages love it, you can’t believe how many over 65 women living in the Villages are getting it done. Some people get it for a party, others wear it constantly. Cheerleaders love it, college students get their school colors done. At Halloween you can wear orange and purple. During Mardi Gras, purple, green and gold. And of course, Christmas you can do red and green or silver and gold.
It can be VERY subtle – I like using colors very close to my hair color that just sparkle in the light. Or you can go all out bling and do our Mean Girls Pink or Pure Sapphire. There is also the very popular Rainbow that the younger gals love.
How much does it cost?
It is just $2 per fusion (which hangs down as 2 strands), we sell them in packages of 10, 20, 30 and so on. For every 10 you buy, you get to choose a color. Most people get 20 to 30 strands and 2 colors.
Fairy Shimmerhair™ Extensions are FUN – something we all need right now. It is a way to feel good about yourself and get tons of attention and compliments!
We also have an automatic loyalty club – for every 100 strands you purchase (over time), you get a coupon for 10 strands FREE. We also do FREE strands on the store employees and hope to start doing free sessions for children in need or at women’s shelters.
Some businesses doing grand openings would hire our fairies for 2 hours to do free fairy hair as a promotion.
Also, some celebrities have been seen with fairy hair.
Beyoncé glistened at the 2010 Grammy Awards and in 2019 not only did Saoirse Ronan dazzle on the red carpet for the 2019 Governor’s Award, but Kacey Musgraves rocked a tinsel ponytail during her 2019 tour with the help from celebrity hairstylist Giovanni Delgado.