Introducing herself as Tasha to me, Natasha Culas (pronounced as ku-las) revealed that since launching Culas & Co in October 2020, she’s only told 2 people about her venture.
“No one knows what I’ve been doing except my husband and best friend. I told them that I will only share once I’ve made it on my own first,” Tasha mused.
It’s an uncommon approach, to say the least; most entrepreneurs would find their first buyers in close contacts, who then help with word-of-mouth marketing for low to no costs.
“Yes, but family and friends are not going to sustain a business, your customers will,” Tasha told me. “Also because [family and friends] like you, they may not tell you the truth, so I needed to hear from the horse’s mouth.”
Tasha elaborated that this method was her way of proving to herself that she had the potential to be an entrepreneur after leaving a 10-year career in risk consulting.
The leap of faith
The decision for Tasha to leave her job came about in May 2020 after realising she wanted to focus more on her family. This was fuelled by the pandemic as she and her husband struggled to keep up with childcare during the MCO whilst maintaining their day jobs.
Fitting for someone who had a long career in risk consulting, Tasha described herself as being a very straight-laced and risk-averse person.
Come 2020, the opportunity to found Culas & Co was opened up to her after experiencing postpartum hair loss and a refusal to cut her long hair to allow regrowth.
She tried multiple products to no avail, until deciding one day to experiment with her own concoction. Using natural oils, Tasha quickly saw results within a few weeks. That gave her the confidence to launch an online business to share her product with others who may benefit from it.
To get started, the mother of two taught herself Facebook marketing by watching YouTube videos.
“Going against all the lessons in my university entrepreneurship class about detailed business plans and projections etc., I went straight into advertising on Facebook with a budget of RM20 per day in October 2020, and have been fortunate enough to be profitable from day one,” Tasha recalled.
“What better way to test your product than to start selling directly? I would rather fail early and pivot quickly to get to my desired business goals.”
A small fish in the big sea
I’ve personally experienced hair loss before and have tried hair growth serums, albeit from larger brands who’ve already built credibility. Furthermore, most would seek advice on hair care products from their stylists at salons as they trust these experts to give them sound advice.
Hence, for Culas & Co to build trust in customers, it would have to rely on strong word-of-mouth marketing. This stepping stone was likely made harder by Tasha’s decision not to leverage her family and friend’s connections.
Confident in her product, Tasha shared that she believes that the serum’s benefits would speak for it. Just based on the fact that she was able to sell 1 bottle of her hair serum after Culas & Co’s first Facebook ad, Tasha’s positive that she can sell 20 more.
“If I can sell 40 [bottles] over time, I will find different ways to multiply it. Product reviews from customers raving about it were enough to convince me that there is an opportunity and sufficient demand even in an economy battered by a pandemic,” Tasha elaborated.
The Culas & Co brand is built on the premise that it can’t help everyone but it can help someone. And for that someone, it could be meaningful as hair loss is often tied to a person’s confidence.
For now, the small business is focused on pushing out its products via Facebook marketing, but has plans for other marketing efforts in the near future. The brand is also heavily relying on referrals from existing customers to promote the product within their own contacts.
A bottle for hair growth
Costing RM147 (without promotions) a 50ml bottle of Culas & Co’s Restore Serum boasts the benefits of restoring damaged hair, reducing hair loss, and treating dandruff, to name a few.
The serum is made with natural oils including peppermint, almond, coconut, lavender, and tea tree, and more.
Tasha came up with the recipe after 6 months of R&D, where various types of oils were compared to figure out which could stimulate hair growth best. Customer feedback has also played a role in the product’s further improvements.
To use the serum, Culas & Co recommends massaging 2-4 drops of the product onto a clean scalp while the hair is still wet.
Those using the serum for the first time may experience a transition process. It’s where your hair may become more oily or dry due to the chemicals it has been exposed to from different products.
The website recommends that customers keep using the product for at least a month before making a final judgment. However, for those unsatisfied with the serum, the brand permits a full refund within 60 days, no-questions-asked.
While Tasha has declined to share Culas & Co’s average sales, she stated that the brand produces 200 bottles a month and that the company’s growth has been steady.
In the next 3 years, Tasha plans to expand Culas & Co’s product line to further include other hair care essentials like shampoos and conditioners. Already seeing some demand from customers overseas, the founder is planning to expand her market to the Southeast Asian region as well.
One advantage that Culas & Co has is that its products are global delivery-friendly, similar to sukurabu’s, a customisable scrub business started by a serial entrepreneur with an eye on the global market.
Additionally, if Tasha is able to market her products via a B2C approach in getting hairstylists to recommend her product to customers—as Mentega did with its pomades—it would open the business up to a larger customer base and more credibility.
Since the products are made with natural ingredients, it may face challenges in achieving shelf stability for businesses to stock up when retailing to customers.
However, based on Tasha’s willingness to listen to customer feedback, it points to the fact that Culas & Co will be open to refining its product and processes as needed.
- You can learn more about Culas & Co here.
- You can read our other features on Malaysian startups here.
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Featured Image Credit: Natasha Culas, founder of Culas & Co
The post After 10 years of helping companies reduce losses, she now helps M’sians fight hair loss appeared first on Vulcan Post.