How Jenny Strebe used positive affirmations and crystal healing to create her modern haircare brand AIIR Professional

Jenny Strebe_Blog Header

Describe AIIR Professional in a few words?

A modern haircare brand that is focused on well being through positive affirmations & crystal healing.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

As I was driving every aspect of my stylist business and social media facets, the peace and relief I found in living a more holistic life began to weave its way into my everyday mental forefront. I wanted to use hair products that reflected my lifestyle. In 2016 I began to create an innovative hair care line that produces brilliant results, as tested by top hairstylists, with holistic ingredients that provide balance and manifest a centered life.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Prior to starting AIIR, I was a hair stylist who was determined to make a name for myself in the industry. I did this by entering every competition that came my way, thereby sharpening my skills from trendy haircuts to editorial and bridal styles. With the knowledge that beauty and fashion is global and wanting to understand the European market, I eventually moved to Europe in the early 2000s to work alongside extremely talented and diverse stylists and expand my knowledge of the European market.

 By 2011 I was back in Arizona, married, renting a booth and soon to be a mom. During the crazy (and wonderful!) adjustment period of becoming a mom, I began writing my blog, The Confessions of a Hairstylist. My blog officially launched in 2012 and became an instant hit-filled with tips and tricks for hairstylists everywhere. Soon, I had amassed a significant following on Instagram, developed a YouTube channel with hundreds of videos and authored 3 books which are sold in 17 countries.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I would say yes and no! 18 years ago I made a personal mission to carve my own stylist career path, one that goes beyond the chair. Did I realize this was going to mean I’d self-fund and develop my own hair care line? No! However, I’ve always been a dreamer and knew I was capable of whatever I put my best foot forward toward.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

With AIIR being self-funded and launching during the uncertainty of a global pandemic, our marketing budget was definitely limited. I largely relied on an organic approach and reaching out to influencers to share our products on their platforms. I am lucky myself to have amassed nearly half a million followers on Instagram, giving me the ability to promote the product on my own platform to people who have supported me since the beginning. There were definitely moments of frustration with the limited budget but at the same time an organic approach felt very genuine and I am proud of that.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I don’t look at any mistakes as such but I look at mistakes as learning opportunities and growth opportunities. One lesson I quickly learned is that you need to cross all the t’s and make sure that your communication is super clear. Our initial launch got pushed back by 3 months due to not testing the holographic on our labels. The holographic got burnt and chipped costing us over 30k and resulting in a January 2020 launch.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

AIIR for sure. It’s 100% self funded, and we are doing incredible.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Our AIIR Team is a small, lovely group made up of 7 people! When hiring my team, it was important that our values and desires aligned. I wanted a team that was passionate about our brand and truly believed in the products. I also love creativity! I make it clear that I want everyone to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and being their authentic self. With that being said, I would not say I have one specific go to question but rather an open conversation about what we are both looking for and if those ideals align.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

I am beyond grateful and humbled to say that AIIR grew exponentially during the year 2020. In fact, in this past year AIIR has grown to be a multimillion dollar brand. It was humbling because when I self-funded AIIR, I had $63 left in my bank account. To think it has grown this much, in this short of a time is crazy! I believe a large part of our success this past year can be attributed to the wellness ethos we have and people’s desire for a centered and balanced life. 

With that being said, I want to acknowledge the hardship that many hair stylists have encountered with salons being closed for a large majority of the year. Covid-19 has been physically and mentally daunting on everyone and I am sending my thoughts and optimistic energy to all. 

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Oh wow! As cliche as it sounds, AIIR has so much in store for 2021 and beyond. We have some new products on the horizon so you can expect to see those! I would also love to see AIIR retailed in a variety of different stores. It is important to me that we continue to push our wellness ethos and create a brand that is something more than just a hair care line, but rather a community of individuals who strive for overall well being.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

I have learned, as many others have this year, that life is going to throw many obstacles your way! This does not mean that you should just give up but instead take it as a redirection.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish people would have told me that failure is a part of it and how to positively reframe my mistakes. If I knew about my mindset then the way I do now, I would be so much better off.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Journaling is huge for me! I write down what I am grateful for and what I strive for everyday. This is an amazing way for me to check in with myself daily. I also have been practicing yoga for years which really plays a large part in keeping me centered.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Totally! I am a wife and mom of two so keeping a work/life balance is huge for me. It is important for me to show up for my family the same way I would show up for AIIR. You can catch me at the soccer and football field on the weekends cheering my kids on and detaching from the social media world that sometimes feels impossible to escape! My best tip would be to put the phone down (I know it’s hard!) and just remember that work will still be there in a minute, an hour, or even the next day!

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I am actually a crystal certified healer! I have always loved and found strength in crystals (hence AIIR!) but I really wanted to take it to the next level and become official.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1) I write down the goals & intentions I want to achieve for the day. What I need to accomplish. They aren’t far fetched so that helps build my confidence. 

2) I take breaks to walk outside to keep me grounded when I lack energy.

3) I live by a strict time block like a calendar. I keep certain days for meetings, content days etc. 

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means to me chasing your dreams despite the odds. I was a hair stylist who did not go to college or know anything about being a CEO for that matter. I am self taught and proud to say that I did not let the pre-existing labels of my life stop me from chasing future goals. 

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





8 Inspiring Latinx Entreprenistas that have launched groundbreaking companies

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve put together a list of 8 incredible Latinx women founders that have launched groundbreaking companies. Check it out: Jessica Alba: The Honest Company Founded in 2011, The Honest Company makes sustainable, well-designed products that work – built on transparency, trust, and a deep sense of purpose. In…

Susan Sarit of Operations-Made Easy on achieving your goals by getting organized

Describe your business in a few words: I am a mom, daughter, sister, business owner, and more! I started my business for both financial freedom and to be a work-at-home mom. I created Operations-Made Easy to help diverse women with the Operations of their business. Deliberative, disciplined, and detail-oriented are just a few words we…

Lisa Nutt of Make Every Minute Count on personal and professional growth

Describe your business in a few words? The Make Every Minute Count ecosystem encourages us to go (do that thing), grow (personally and professionally) and give (through a membership based family to family giving circle). What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’m a serial entrepreneur. This is the third time…

Connection Coach Kristjana Hillberg on trusting your intuition and having an open mind

Describe your business in a few words: I’m a Connection Coach who helps women unearth their deepest desires, move from auto pilot to intentional action and prioritize their wellbeing. What was your background prior to starting your own business? I’m a multipotentialite – meaning, I have tried multiple things and tested multiple careers ranging from…

Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon: Finally Back to Delicious Meals For Everyone

Cuisine varies by culture, but no matter how societies segment and define themselves, certain foods show up in households across the globe — only differing in their forms. Some of a culture’s time-honored meals are created by its culinary icons.  Among America’s culinary icons, Martha Stewart is, without question, its most trusted. In 2014, Martha…

7 Entreprenista League Members share the biggest business challenge they overcame and what it taught them

Brand Photographer Brittney Guy-Atakpo of Brittney Jean Photography The biggest business challenge I have faced is sticking to a schedule that made me feel productive and good about my work ethic. What I have learned is that there is no right or wrong schedule or routine that produces success. I have been more grateful for…

Courtney Spritzer of WorkRobe on her “secret sauce” for a successful product launch

Describe WorkRobe in a few words? WorkRobes are designed to have you looking your best during any video meeting, so you can go from bedroom to boardroom in seconds and in comfort. My mission is to reimagine what you wear to work (from home).  Can you pinpoint the moment you knew you wanted to create…

Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…