From VS Angels To Obama: How A Hair Tool Sparked A Hot Business

From VS Angels To Obama:

How A Hair Tool Sparked A Hot Business

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Not many people can say they’ve trimmed Obama’s eyebrows and curled Gigi Hadid’s hair in the same lifetime, but that’s just another week in the life of celebrity hairstylist and businesswoman, Sarah Potempa. In the past month alone, she’s flown to Paris to style 50 Victoria’s Secret Angels for the popular international runway show, hit Los Angeles to film an episode of Beauty Coach, and traveled to NYC to style actress Lea Michelle and Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello.

As flashy as it all sounds, though – and as star-studded as her clientele list is – Potempa’s primary business venture is putting her products into the hands of everyday women.

“For 10 years, I was at Proctor & Gamble working as a spokesperson, and I would talk to writers and editors about how to recreate celebrity hair at home,” she says.

“I was surprised to discover that many women don’t know how to do hair, and that even their own hair is a mystery to them.”

This realization served as the catalyst for Potempa’s line of innovative hair styling tools, a business she founded with her older sister, Erin, five years ago. Her younger sister, Emily, joined the team later, and all three now work together.

Most notable in the product lineup is The Beachwaver, an innovative curling iron that rotates at the user’s control to create three different types of curls. It comes in both a consumer and professional series, and features 350 custom parts, hand-assembled computer boards, a slick clamp that prevents kinks, 360-degree swivel cord, fully customizable temperature with LED screen, ergonomic handle, customized full-length internal heaters, and gold powder-infused tourmaline for uniform heating.

Basically, it’s like the fully-loaded, fancy sports car of hair tools. And while you’ve probably seen other versions of a rotating curling iron on the market, know that Potema’s The Beachwaver was the first of its kind. Since its inception, the tool has achieved cult status among everyday women and celebrities alike, and is the recipient of numerous accolades and awards, including Allure’s coveted Best of Beauty award.

The business is completely self-funded, and clearly a success, in no small part thanks to Potempa’s passion and pride, which reads through everything she does.

“Being a female entrepreneur in this business isn’t easy, and my sister and I have been through a lot. We’ve had a lot of people say a lot of things about how we wouldn’t make it, or that we wouldn’t be able to power through and fight when things got difficult.”

“We worked really hard and we are really proud of where we are.”

To that, Potempa adds that the joy of being an entrepreneur isn’t necessarily about becoming a multi-millionaire at the end of your run, but is rather about the run itself. So for those currently knee-deep in entrepreneurial mud, Potempa says to remember to enjoy the journey, and to be loyal to yourself, and your passion, along the way.

The Quick 10

1. What app do you most use?

Instagram.

2. Briefly describe your morning routine.

I make coffee, check my phone and do my hair. And when I’m home, I’ll get my two kids ready for school.

3. Name a business mogul you admire. 

There are a lot, but I’ll choose Mary Dillon, the CEO of Ulta. She came in new and has been transforming the business.

4. What product do you wish you had invented?

The iPhone. It seems like literally everyone has one.

5. What is your spirit animal?

The dog I just got is very similar to me. He is a Gentle Giant Malamute that’s super independent, really strong, but also sweet.

6. What is your life motto?

“Leap and the net will appear.”

7. Name your favorite work day snack.

Fresh green juice and almonds.

8. Every entrepreneur must be … to be successful.

“Hardworking, and believe in the power of the universe”

9. What’s the most inspiring place you’ve traveled to?

Cambodia and Thailand. There’s something about the colors, intricate details, and their mentality. People were living in poverty, but so happy. When you’re working so hard at something for a long, there are definitely moments where you want to give up, or you ask yourself, “What’s the point?” But being able to “live in the moment” and stay happy is something I learned how to do after visiting southeast Asia.

10. Desert Island. Three things, go.

Book on how to build a ship, my husband, and a guitar.

Wendy Rose Gould

Wendy Rose Gould is a reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona. She covers women’s lifestyle topics for numerous digital publications, including Refinery29, InStyle, xoVain, Headspace, PopSugar and ModCloth. You can learn more about her at WendyGould.com.

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