Breaking taboo: Meet the sister-duo helping women fight hair loss problem with human hair extensions
Made in India brand 1 Hair Stop, started by Richa Grover Badruka and Raina Grover, solve hair loss problems among women with hair extensions, toppers, and clip-ons.
Across the world, styling hair with extensions, silk toppers, streaks, volumisers, etc., is a trending fashion choice among many.
Although India is one of the biggest exporters of hair in the world, surprisingly, these products don’t see a high demand within the country.
Hyderabad-based Hritik Exim — started by Lalit Grover in 2008 — is a major exporter of hair extensions to the US, Brazil, and other countries.
When Lalit’s daughters — Richa Grover Badruka (30) and Raina Grover (28) — were defining their career paths post their graduation, they found that despite Indian women suffering from hair loss problems, they aren’t forthcoming to try hair extension and solve this problem.
“While I joined my father’s business, Raina pursued a job in the digital marketing agency. As I was handling international sales, I saw a huge global demand for hair extensions made from the hair we were exporting. However, there was almost negligible demand in our India,” Richa tells SMBStory in an interaction.
Today, a large percentage of women face hair loss and hair thinning issues. Most of these issues root from COVID-19, pregnancy, thyroid disorders, anaemia, PCOS, and skin conditions, including psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis. With alternative therapies, treatments, and medicines, the results vary.
Richa saw this untapped opportunity in India and discussed the potential idea of starting a hair extension brand with her sister. By this time, Raina had quit her job and entered the business full-time.
But, the sisters were entering a market where there was no demand!
In October 2019, the sister duo started 1 Hair Stop — which offers easy-to-use luxury hair extensions, toppers, and clip-ons for women who are at different stages of hair thinning and hair loss.
Carving a niche for itself in the Indian market for three years, Richa didn’t disclose the turnover but claims to have catered to over one lakh customers across India.
Breaking the taboo
In this day and age, in India, women facing hair loss issues is a taboo, while it is acceptable for a man to be bald, says Richa.
“We aim to break the taboo for women, talking about hair loss problems in a hush. The general mindset among women for our products is that it is a wig, which is completely wrong,” she says.
She explains, “From volumisers that give volume to hair, to clip-on bangs, halo extensions, ponytail extensions, messy bun scrunchie — there are a plethora of varieties with us depending upon the hair issue.”
1 Hair Stop’s hairpieces and accessories range between Rs 1,200 and Rs 35,000, depending on the need of the customers and customisation, if required.
Richa says the initial few months were challenging as they were striving to create awareness around the products, and Raina’s digital marketing experience played a key role here.
“Raina helped in the digital marketing campaigns, where we made videos of not models, but women struggling with hair loss problems, and our products helping do the talking. This garnered a lot of customers, and by January 2020, we started getting sales,” she adds.
Initially, 1 Hair Stop was getting around 50 to 100 orders in a month, but today, the brand is growing exponentially, receiving an average of 150 orders daily.
Talking about creating demand, Richa says, “Our challenge is our opportunity.’’ She adds the brand find challenges in targeting the right customers, and that’s where it finds opportunity because it is helping people make informed decisions.
In fact, the male-dominated hair extension industry posed many challenges for the sisters as people considered them naïve and took their advantage. However, they stood straight without any distractions.
All the hair used by 1 Hair Stop is 100 percent human hair, ethically sourced from the temples of South India at their auctions. One of its primary sources is the Tirupati Balaji temple in Andhra Pradesh, where lakhs of devotees donate their hair.
The company makes all its products at Richa’s father’s in-house manufacturing facility. “The manufacturing backup has been the biggest advantage for us as we aren’t relying on any third party. This also helps in constant innovation without any hassle,” she says.
Extensions made from real human hair are considered the best, says Richa, as their cuticles are preserved and they all run in the same direction, making the texture silkier and easier to manage. If taken proper care of, Richa claims 1 Hair Stop’s product can last up to 10 years.
It competes with brands like Hair Original, Beaux, and more.
The way ahead
Talking about future prospects, Richa says 1 Hair Stop is a brand from India, for India and they are looking forward to introducing a new line of semi-permanent extensions — the first-of-its-kind in India for salon professionals.
The sisters also plan to offer salt and pepper natural grey hair extensions for elderly women.
It also plans to start B2B sales with major salons across metro cities to make its products available pan-India.
“A dream closest to our heart is to open our flagship store that will house a variety of products and services,” Richa says.
Edited by Suman Singh