“We rise by lifting others.”
At Beautify.tips, we love to shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to build their own brand, blaze their own trail, and be their own boss. Here are their journeys…
I have had the pleasure of knowing Carrie for almost 10 years and I am thrilled to put her and SWAIR in the spotlight. Not only is Carrie smart, sharp and professional, but she is kind, beautiful inside and out, and a hard worker. It is no surprise SWAIR is revolutionizing the hair-care market.
#BeautifyBoss: Carrie Sporer, Co-Founder of SWAIR
The SWAIR Story
SWAIR creates hair care for people who workout. My co-founder Meredith and myself created the brand to solve our own problems! We met while training for the New York City marathon, and we both hated the fact that we needed to wash our hair in the shower after every sweaty run. At that time, the only product on the market that was supposed to help women skip in-shower shampoos was dry shampoo. Unfortunately dry shampoo was not an option for us, because it was not effective on very sweaty hair and left an itchy residue on our scalps when we did try it. We also learned that many of the best-selling aerosol dry shampoos contained an unsafe level of carcinogens. Disappointed with the lack of options, we started to reach out to labs to see if someone could help us create our dream product – a shortcut to clean sweaty hair using high quality ingredients.
A Dream Realized
Our end result was the Showerless Shampoo ($38), our hero product. It is a spray that cleans sweaty hair without suds, rinsing or residue. It is different from dry shampoo because you spray it on your dirty hair and then towel dry your hair to remove the dirt and sweat. It’s a new behavior and we are working to educate customers about how they can use our products to skip in-shower shampoos and save time. We like to say Showerless Shampoo takes you from sweaty to ready in five minutes or less.
Spill the Secret to your Success
I like to say that the secret to success is to “fail fast.” If something isn’t working after a reasonable testing period, move on. I know that I have held on to a bad idea for too long because I was afraid of change, embarrassed to admit I was wrong, or it felt like too much effort to change course. For example, at the start of SWAIR we hired an expensive advertising firm, but it was clear after the first three months we were not getting a worthwhile return on our investment. Instead of making a change, we stayed with them for an additional three months hoping that things would get better. Unfortunately, the results did not improve and it was a very expensive lesson. Now I try to “fail fast” and acknowledge that you can’t always be right, but you can always learn.
Our biggest breakthrough moment was having our product mentioned by a dermatologist on The Today Show. She included us in her recap of the “Top 10 Clean Beauty Products Missing From Your Routine.” Our site visits skyrocketed, and it was our highest sales to date at that time. This was about 4 months after we launched, and it was the first time that the business felt like it had real reach beyond our friends and family.
On Finding BalanceBeing a business owner, mom, and wife is exhausting, and I feel like the to-do list is never ending. My biggest hack is putting EVERYTHING on my google calendar – appointments, playdates, reminders to make a SWAIR TikTok – all of it! It keeps me organized and on task. I also try to workout every morning before my kids wake up. It helps to manage stress and set the tone for a productive day. Though I can be very regimented, I always listen to my body and make sure to take breaks if I am feeling burnt out. To be completely honest, I am not sure I believe in short-term balance. There are periods where I am super-focused on a work project and have my laptop open more often than not, and other periods when I am primarily wearing my mom/wife/daughter hat. My goal is to have a balanced life overall and just try to have grace when I need to put one part of my life on the backburner for a bit.
On Making Those Big Decisions
Leaving my job and working on SWAIR full time was definitely a result of the pandemic. My background is in fashion, and at that time I was consulting for several small clothing and accessories brands. When the world shut down, most of my clients asked to end their contracts because they felt so uncertain about the future. I used the extra time in my schedule to get SWAIR off the ground, and by the time my clients wanted to start working together again, SWAIR needed my full attention.
For others who are considering pursuing a passion project, there are a lot of practicalities to consider. For example, do you need another job for insurance? Do you have enough savings to keep you afloat for a while if your business is not profitable right away (most won’t be!)? I think that if you have a financial safety net, then stop reading this article and start your passion project full-time right now! Since that is not an option for many of us, try to find a job that will expose you to the ins-and-outs of running a similar business. For example, if you want to start selling your famous banana bread, get a job at a bakery so you have a front row seat to how that type of business works. Then, you can side-hustle your passion project and you will be better prepared when you are ready to make the leap. There are also a lot of programs and incubators that can help you put together a business plan or learn about financing that you can do on the side.
What’s New and Next
Meredith and I were thrilled to finally have a way to clean sweaty hair quickly, but we wanted a wash day product to complement our Showerless Shampoo. We created SweatShield to be “gatorade for the hair.” The leave-in formula is used after your regular shampoo, and has ingredients like cucumber extract and kendi oil to help strengthen, repair and protect your hair. My favorite ingredient is the marshmallow extract because it helps to keep your hair smooth and combat frizz, even if you’re getting ready in a sweaty locker room. We have a lot of ideas for additional products – but we’re not ready to say what just yet! It is important to us to make products that our customer does not already have in their bathroom or gym bag, so expect a lot of innovation.