Feel inspired to go after your dreams
By: Hairstrong – 5 Minute read
Fun facts about Nicole
- Hometown: Holland Landing, ON
- Favorite food: cheese
- Favorite color: blue
- Western University - Ba Kinesiology & Sport Management 2019
- Ivey Business School - MsC International Business with CEMS 2021
- Won Ivey's Annual MBA Pitch Competition in 2020
- Enactus' Canada Student Entrepreneur Finalist 2021
- Deadlift PB is 325 lbs
- Ran a half marathon in 2022
- Multiple Provincial Championship wins in Rowing 2017-2019
- National Champion in Rowing 2017
- Won 6 purple shirts at Western University.
Summary: Meet the entrepreneur behind the Hairstrong movement! We interviewed our founder, Nicole, so you can get to know the driving force behind the business.
It seems appropriate to finally introduce the entrepreneur behind the business (fitting, as it is her birthday tomorrow, May 9)! We asked her some questions to introduce herself to you and hopefully inspire you all to go after your dreams as she did.
Did you always want to start this business?
No! Before university, I worked over 20 hours per week to afford to go away to university. I barely made the grade cut off, but I am happy I did! At this point I thought I wanted to be a physiotherapist so I could be around athletes all the time. This plan quickly changed after completing some placements in my 1st and 2nd year.
By my 3rd year I still didn’t know what to do, but I applied to do a master’s at the Ivey Business School for International Business because I enjoyed the introductory business courses offered at Western University.
In 4th year I took a Kinesiology course in entrepreneurship and came up with the idea of Hairstrong. At first it was just a project, but by the end of the term, I pitched the business and was influenced to pursue Hairstrong... So, I did just that.
I was scared to start as I knew it would take a lot of my energy, but once I launched and saw how many people bought one, I knew I was onto something special. Since the launch in July 2019, there have been many ups and downs, but I plan to continue to grow this business when I’m done with my master’s.
I honestly never thought I would be an entrepreneur; I didn’t know I had enough confidence to sell a product to someone, especially a result of my own. The more I started doing it, the more I realized that my personality fits this role SO much. I love working hard day in and day out, and I got rewarded with my work, which kept me motivated. Rowing has taught me how to be resilient, so any obstacle or setback I encountered only helped the business grow.
Why did you start rowing?
Let me preface this with the fact that I was A) NOT a morning person, B) did not have good stamina, and C) have never rowed before in my life.
So why would I join? I started rowing for a few reasons: I missed team sports from high school, I wanted to lose the freshman 15 I gained in the first year of university, and I love being competitive.
In my second year of university I began the next chapter of my life, which was hugely based around rowing. I changed my whole lifestyle to accommodate this sport and become successful in it. I went ALL IN. The progress I made in my first year of rowing motivated me to continue within the sport. The hours of training I put in were worth it. The early mornings meant I was more productive during the day, and the long workouts let me eat—however much I wanted.
Besides the camaraderie, I lived through some of my biggest life lessons while rowing. It taught me how to manage my time effectively to balance school, my part-time jobs, and training. It taught me how to push through the times where your mind wants to quit. And finally, it taught me that my failures did not define me as a failure, and instead, they were obstacles that I chose to overcome. Rowing completely changed my life for the better; I became fitter, more organized, and a better person overall.
Why did you come up with Hairstrong?
Since I was 16, I worked part-time jobs to get some financial stability. I would work upwards of 20 hours a week to save money for university (which I almost didn’t get into because of my workload). At Western University, I picked up practically every job I could to make some extra money. I did all the paid studies (that I could find) that Ph.D. students were conducting, I tutored students, acquired a work-study position with the rowing team, all while having a part-time job at Sport Chek. Even though I worked this much, I still heavily relied on OSAP loans, university grants, and scholarships to pay for my living expenses and tuition. I hated how inefficient making money was for me and kept trying to think of a better way to pay for my expenses.
The need for financing had often conflicted with my training for rowing as I would have to choose between making some money or getting my training volume in. During this time, I would make sure that if I did train, I would make the sessions efficient.
There was one problem… This goal was impeded by my long hair. Yup, my hair was now the issue. My hair ALWAYS got in my face, my elastics broke, and I would get headaches from them from pulling on my hair. I would have to stop my workouts, readjust my hair, and continue. It was infuriating trying to get through a 90-minute session with hair in my mouth.
Fast forward to my fourth year of university. I enrolled in an entrepreneurship class and vocalized my hair problem to the class. When I finally spoke to others about this problem I thought I had, they all said they experience the same thing with their long hair. That flipped a switch in my head for the “ah-ha” moment.
My hair is NOT the problem; the products are. Since then, I’ve tried my best to design a scrunchie to be adjustable to all hair types and lengths.
Who is Hairstrong for?
It’s for me and you and women like us. I now work diligently on my business so that it can provide me with sufficient income without having to work at multiple different places and still have the time to dedicate myself to a healthy lifestyle. This business is more about just a scrunchie, yes that’s the product, but it’s what the scrunchie stands for.
My dream with Hairstrong is go worldwide and change the hair accessory industry. Products should be made to fit individual hairstyles and types.
I want you to move without restriction. Women shouldn’t feel like they have to choose between their long hair and being efficient. This product was made for women to feel empowered by their hair, not hate it. Women should feel confident that their products can be trusted to perform any activity.
Any final words?
Join the movement and feel the difference that confidence makes in your lifestyle. Feel like you can conquer anything. Hairstrong is more than just a scrunchie—it’s a lifestyle choice for driven women; it’s YOUR Hairstrong. #Hairstrong
We hope you enjoyed this interview with our founder! Feel free to connect with us on Instagram if you have any questions… Nicole answers DMs personally.