At a time when many companies see their future in Asia, it is refreshing and perhaps surprising to see a Chinese hair company move its headquarters and support services to North America.
But this is what Superhairpieces has done and the company has established offices in Mississauga, Canada and Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
To learn more, The International Hair Authority met with the company president, Mr. George Li.
Your factory is in China, but you made the decision to establish your business headquarters in North America. What led you to move your operating base to the US?
The hairpiece supply chain never stops shifting as it follows the world economy and globalization. It migrated from Hongkong to Korea in the 1970s, then on to China in the 1980s. It is now moving towards South East Asia.
My sister learned how to make hairpieces in 1980s and started her own factory in the 1990s. However, during the 2000s, as the supply chain started shifting and we had to seek new ways to grow our business. So, we decided to come to US to be closer to our major market and be the independent supplier with direct connections back to its own production center.
North America is a big and sophisticated market and we wanted to be part of the mainstream. To do this we needed to be able to communicate directly with our customers, ship out products faster and take care of all their support requirements. Our company focus was simple – satisfy the consumer. And to do that we needed to be close to the end-user.
Today, we have a US team that is full of passion about what they are doing. In fact, we recently conducted a survey among our top hair replacement centers, and they all told us that they love our customer service.
American culture also encourages competition and I believe that’s an important force that drives industry to evolve. We knew this would stimulate our own product innovation and help us better adapt to the consumer.
About 5 years ago, we opened our first US office. We gradually built up our online sales and support team and opened a new warehouse. And we started actively reaching out to hair replacement professionals. Many members in this community started watching our growth and began talking about us. We were able to convert hundreds of them into our client base and I’m proud to say that this number keeps growing.
You could have chosen any city in the United States as your HQ, but you selected Fort Lauderdale in Florida, the heartland of hair replacement. Why did you relocate right in the middle of all your competitors?
Since we already had an office in Canada, we wanted a location on the East Coast that had direct flights to Toronto. After doing my research, I told to my wife, “I have two cities I would like to go and see; Orlando and Miami. They both have a direct flight from Toronto daily.” My wife replied, ”Which one is closest to the ocean? I prefer living by the sea.“ I was not surprised because our manufacturing center in China is also located by the ocean, so I went ahead and circled Fort Lauderdale on the map.
We never knew that this new office would be right in the heartland of hair replacement manufacturers. We didn’t realize this until two months after we had opened when we received an order from a salon that wasn’t one of our regular customers and we noticed that the printed custom order sheet they were using was from a local competitor. It wasn’t long before we discovered this was just one of many in the area.
Superhairpieces was established in 2007, but many people still don’t know about the company, why did you keep a low profile?
We wanted to study the market and do things right, so we began with a regional test market. Superhairpieces started operations in Toronto in 2007 and our customers were mainly local hair replacement centers. Toronto is a strong hair replacement market and it was an excellent base to gain experience.
Back in China, our factory was building new facilities and hiring more employees to meet our need for superior product quality and consistency. As the factory expanded, it demanded more sales from us to justify the ongoing investment. We quickly maxed out the Toronto market with its limited population, so we started to explore opportunities in the US professional market. And to boost volume, we also began to target online sales. At that time, the cyber world wasn’t as crowded as it is today; there were only about 6 major online sellers, 5 from US and 1 from Canada. So, we launched into this competitive market and were able to quickly generate a substantial customer base.
As we gained experience, and with the benefit of the market feedback, we expanded our product selection and boosted inventory levels. Manufacturing quality as well as sales jumped to a higher level and we became one of the largest online distributors. Superhairpieces has now become one of the best-known brands in the online community across the world.
Many distributors will only sell to hair loss professionals, but you are selling both to hair replacement studios and to the public. How do you avoid a conflict of interest?
Many people call it a conflict; we call it an emerging trend. We see the hair loss industry growing in all directions, non-surgical hair replacement, surgical hair transplants, not to mention all the other medical and pharmaceutical people gravitating towards this industry. Consumers are aware of these choices and they explore all the available solutions that can make their life easier and better. Consumers are already moving ahead; we are simply following their lead, needs and wants. We want to be a leader in helping the younger generation transition into a lifestyle of wearing a hair system. This is one of our main goals!
Cyberspace is where we came from and intend to stay. We have been accepted by hair replacement professionals and we will never forget where we came from. To avoid any conflict, all our professional customers have a different log-in which has a different pricing structure and extra discounts. Due to the nature of the online environment and the fact that people are looking at pricing, we want to offer the lowest price they can afford.
Web Marketing demands a special skill set. Is your IT and engineering background a key asset?
Cyberspace and the real world used to be completely separate. Not anymore. Most of our clients are part of a younger generation who are Internet savvy… but first-time wearers of hairpieces. Our online sales effort reaches out to this younger generation which is experiencing hair loss and offers them the choice of a lifestyle with hairpieces that are modern and stylish.
We also know that many hair stylists, barbers and hair replacement professionals are also seeking new ways to adapt to this trend. They are actively searching for new resources and opportunities by using online services. We are excited that we have a jump start in this market. We have been growing, and continue to grow, as we invest our resources into new technology and staying up to date in the beauty market. We are merging these two worlds together.
Many people may be tempted to buy direct from factories in Asia. Why should they choose Superhairpieces instead?
People will always be tempted to buy direct from Asia to try and save money. They want to purchase products at a lower price and talk to the manufacturer directly to discuss product issues. They even accept the challenge of language barriers and time zone differences and try to compare and select the right supplier from the numerous mass-emails they receive. I understand this, but they quickly run into the headaches of inconsistency from piece to piece and the inconvenience of mail in and out. Not to mention the risk of funds being transferred safety, the inconvenience of returns or exchanges, and uninsured warranties.
Superhairpieces can offer all these important services right here in the US. We have updated our factory to the highest quality standards and our customer support and warehouse are based in America. By cutting prices even lower than those they pay when ordering from China, we are able to help professionals and consumers to solve their problems with taking the risk of losing their money and all the hassles that come with it. This allows them to save their precious time and to focus on growing their own business and enjoying life.
In addition to hair replacement products and hair extensions, you also offer a selection of wet goods, styling aids and other healthcare items. Do you intend to become a full-service hair management company?
Yes, we aim to fulfill all the needs of every consumer. When customers buy from us, they want this to be a one-stop shopping experience. They expect that convenience. We are actively seeking an all-in-one solution to better serve our customers’ needs. We are always looking for new innovative supplies to add to our product line. In 2019, we launched our own brand of Super Blue tape and Super Red tape and added Mink Eyelash products for our hair extension buyers. In 2020, we will be launching our new wet line of hair care products under our own brand.
You have an information technology/computer background. What led you to the thinning hair market?
My family brought me into the hair industry. I actually started my career as an IT engineer working in the US branch of Hisense. We sold products to companies like Best Buy and this is where I gained my business experience. My wife Oliva and son were located in Canada at the time and, as you would expect, the family wanted to be together, so I relocated there. My first job in Canada was as a technician in a consumer electronics company, but I wasn’t happy, and my father suggested that I got involved in the family business of making & selling hairpieces. That’s how it all began.
Do the analytical skills and training you acquired during the IT years help you now as you build a personal care company?
My IT career help me to gain the knowledge I needed to be efficient in business. That early experience trained me to know that innovation and quality control is the key to success. I became the ISO-9001 chief officer in our company’s R&D department, which helped me to plan and successfully launch many different hairpiece models into the market. I am still doing this today for Superhairpieces.
My IT experience also helped me deploy and update Ecommerce technology into our website, creating an up-to-date and advanced system that is very close to the Amazon online shopping experience.
What is the one product you are most proud of?
It would be one of our men’s model M101 hair systems and its new brother, the Pro series – M101Pro. M101 is a men’s thin-skin hairpiece and it has been our best-seller for over 10 years!
What is your short term and long-term vision for the company?
In the short term, we are focused on fast growth. In the age of the Internet, the process of searching, comparing and finding the best businesses can be done in just a few minutes. Consumers have gained these search skills and only the top first or the second best-ranked companies will survive. Superhairpieces is in a leading position right now and we need to maintain this growth to remain one of the best online hairpiece sellers. “Our long-term mission is to convert hairpieces from a luxury lifestyle of an older generation to an everyday lifestyle for the younger generation.”
What is the one thing you would most like our readers to know about Superhairpieces?
We developed a unique business model to help our clients get their products as quickly as possible. It’s never been this fast or easy before. We stock as many variations as we can to make our hairpieces ready to wear within 24 hours. We try to share as much detailed information as possible on our “website” and in our “Blog.” We help customers make the best decisions in a fast and easy format.
Younger generation consumers have their own way of making decisions. Either you adapt and make products that work for them, or you do nothing, and they disappear and go somewhere else. We are working hard to convert the younger generation into wearing hairpieces and creating a new lifestyle. This will be a great benefit to hair replacement centers everywhere by expanding their business horizon to the younger generations.
We carry the best men’s & women’s hairpieces, hair toppers and wigs. Our Grade 5 & 6 hair-extensions are made from the highest quality on the market today. Our hair extensions are especially popular in the Canadian market. The quality is outstanding, and the price is unbelievable!
If you had to summarize Superhairpieces in one sentence or slogan, what would that be?
We are the new generation hair piece company!
People like to know about the personalities behind the products they buy. Tell us about yourself.
I have an engineer’s background which helped me to build the Superhairpieces culture.
With this mindset, I believe in creating high quality products with the best technology out there to offer superior solutions to all our consumers.
Are there any other staff members you would like to introduce so when people phone your company they will be talking with a friend?
I would like to introduce my wife, Olivia. She works with our custom-order team. She has been working with me for over 10 years and she still runs to picks up the phone calls whenever it rings.
I would also like to introduce Mr. Marcello Masseran, my sales and marketing manager who started working with us when we opened our US office. He is the person who keeps in touch with all our hair replacement professionals. He is the key contact for all hair studios.
Looking ahead, what plans does the company have?
In 2019, we relocated our head office from Canada to US and consolidated our hairpiece support team into our Fort Lauderdale operation to bring us closer to the market. In 2020, we will open our “Evolve Global Academy” and offer Free Demo’s. We welcome all hair and medical professionals to join us! We will also be offering year-round free hair seminars and online education. We see the need and hope to meet a lot more hair professionals in 2020.
Any new products on the horizon?
We have just launched our New Perm and Afro Series. It’s no secret that achieving the curl you need is no easy task. If you’re tired of being left having to perform harsh, damaging processes on your brand-new unit – you’re not alone. Superhairpieces is dedicated to offering you the best range of in-stock men’s hair replacement units, so we decided to take care of the hard part for you. We are so excited to introduce our exclusive line of Perm and Afro units, so no curl pattern gets left behind. Get the curls you love, and we’ll take care of the TLC your curls will need!
Will the Coronavirus problems affect delivery of your custom-made hairpieces?
No Worries – You can still get the hair you need with a wait time you’ll love. Great hair and great designs take time, but, what if you could get the quality you love, with a wait time that’s even better? With the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus, restrictions in importing and exporting may leave you in a bind trying to get your hairpiece in time. But Superhairpieces has more than just your scalp covered. We’ve got your back too! We’re in the business of providing quality, without sacrificing time. To make this possible we’re proud to provide our customers with a full range of in-stock hairpieces. With options in Perm, Bleach Front, Afro, and a full range of hair colors all in stock and ready ship out from our Florida headquarters, you’ll see why we’re the pioneers of a new kind of hairpiece. For more information, please visit Superhairpieces.com
Any final comments?
If you flip back through the Hair Authority magazine to the Spring issue of 2009, you will find an article written by Mr. Steven DiManni titled, “Men’s Hair Replacement & the U.S. Auto Industry”. In this article, Mr. Steven pointed out three problems in the hair replacement industry.
- A resistance to change.
- A misreading of market trends.
- The desire to continue to offer what the industry wanted rather than the consumer wanted.
In the article, DiManni challenged readers, “Who cares about the consumer?” And we said to ourselves, “We Do!!”