In Conversation with Diana Larkin of MyHare
Describe your business in a few words?
MyHare is a direct-to-consumer, expert-created brand for the people, bringing the salon-quality waxing experience, home. More than that, MyHare is here to educate and beautify, inside and out.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I’ve actually launched two businesses! Prior to launching MyHare, I opened WAX salons in Los Angeles. At the time, there were no high-end, luxe wax salons in L.A., which I found odd given the city is full of A-list celebrities and executives. I saw a gap in the marketplace and decided to go for it. I sat down, taught myself how to write a business plan, raised the capital I needed to start a business and opened up the wax salon that I had been searching for. Ultimately, after learning so much from so many great mentors, I felt like it was time for me to become a mentor myself and pass the knowledge forward. I grew out of being an employee and blossomed into an employer and business owner – and I’ve never looked back.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was a talent manager in L.A. for most of my 20’s prior to opening WAX. I loved the work and saw success pretty early into my career, but knew I had a different career calling.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Perhaps not right away, but once I began working for someone else, I realized that if I was going to work this hard, it would be for myself.
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?
For WAX, my marketing strategy was to gain recognition from editors in the beauty space to help garner press and awareness, and ultimately drive traffic to retail. Given my experience as a talent manager and the media connections I had made, the PR-first approach was very successful. While MyHare is still in its infancy – we launched in late-October 2020 – I am using a variety of marketing tactics: traditional media relations, sampling and outreach to beauty bloggers and influencers, social media partnerships with other like-minded brands, and a community-driven social approach to garner user-generated-content. I personally work hand-in-hand with my marketing, PR and social media teams, so I’m very involved with everything from strategy to messaging to sending out product samples. We’re testing what’s working and where we can improve, then pivoting and adapting from there.
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?
When I set out to start my business, it was scary. It felt like a lonely endeavor. My remedy for this was to partner up and bring someone on board who would not only bring value, but also honestly share in what I knew would be hundreds of decisions that I was scared to make alone. Plainly, I second guessed myself. I thought if I had a partner by my side, I wouldn’t be completely alone in the blame should something go wrong. To be clear, I am not against bringing on business partners. I think some of the best businesses are made up of great teams. But I partnered up for the wrong reasons and out of self doubt, which is a terrible mindset when taking a leap of faith.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m proud of my decision to leave the entertainment industry, especially the brokering of talent in a place like L.A. To do a full 180 and open WAX has been my biggest accomplishment. Not because it worked and was successful, but because at 29-years-old, when I had already succeeded in something that was working, I had the guts to follow my hunch, take a risk and bet on myself. No one can take that away from you.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I have found for any good question, there is an equally good and appropriate answer. Most of us know what an employer wants to hear during an interview. So for me, questions, no matter how creative, never give me what I need to onboard someone. It is all about gut. Gut, intuition, that feeling, whatever you want to call it, has to kick-in during the interview process. Chances are, if you are meeting with someone for a position, their resume has already ticked all the boxes. But I look for energy. We all have intuition, interviewing is a time to use it.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Beauty, as a professional service, is a deeply personal business. It often requires a relationship between two people in-person. Whether it’s your facialist, hairdresser, waxer or dermatologist, most consumers have a pretty intimate relationship with these professionals, oftentimes for years. COVID not only made taking care of yourself a bit more challenging, but it also stripped us of the day-to-day interaction of seeing clients who have become friends.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
After establishing my brick-and-mortar stores for WAX in L.A. for 14 years, it made sense for MyHare to launch with hair removal products first, such as Strip Down wax strips and Lip Service bikini masks. Now that we addressed the body, we have a facial waxing kit coming out in late spring that really sets us apart from the rest. It is for everyone and addresses all hair removal needs from the neck down, so it will be called Face It. I personally invented an applicator that shapes brows, removes nose and ear whispies and kills the unibrow, all with one applicator. We’re also exploring ways to treat hair versus removing hair, such as beard oils. I am most excited to launch a razor for women, which will have a few surprises and points of difference – more to come!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Get dual citizenship if you can. In all seriousness, don’t take anything for granted – especially relationships. It is becoming harder and harder to stay connected with people in a real, authentic way. With social media and our phones glued to us, it’s rare to have an actual conversation on the phone. But now that we can’t see everyone, I think many of us have realized how important relationships are. Truly connecting with another human being, really seeing someone and being seen back. This is priceless.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
A stronger sense of finance. I know that’s not a very spiritual answer, but having a strong understanding of money, how to put it to work, what to do with profits and how to reinvest – in terms of what will work and what just sounds good – is crucial to future growth.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
I’m so grateful to be in a very beautiful and healthy relationship with my boyfriend, and we didn’t let Covid take us down. Being around someone you have so much in common with, especially attitude and outlook on life, made every difference in the world. I also have a 10-year-old daughter who needed looking after. Taking care of someone else, always takes the attention off of you, in a good way. It’s the beautiful business of mom-ing.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
Honestly, I love to work. I hate that it’s even called work. I guess it’s the upside to doing what you love, right? I kind of treat it like a big board game. Trying to get your piece around the board to collect your prize. How far can I move this piece, or what new idea will inspire me today or what total stranger will I meet today that will impact my future? Balance for me is making sure I am present when I am not focusing on the business. When I’m with my family, I’m with my family. When I exercise, I get in the zone. And when I sit down to do a “beauty night,” I lay everything out, turn on the music, focus on cleaning myself, pampering myself, celebrating myself. Intention behind everything makes the experience.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
Some people can’t tell from just looking at me, but I was born and raised in Seoul, Korea. My father’s Irish gene just happened to dominate my mother’s Korean gene. But my Korean heritage is very important to me and a big part of who I am.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
Lists, Lists, Lists. I write everything down, including three daily goals every morning that have to get done before the stroke of midnight. Anyone can get three things done! They all have to be doable of course, but I usually make one thing a scary thing. For instance, asking for help, or introducing myself to a stranger. I also find that waking up very early, usually between 5-6 a.m., when the rest of the house is still asleep, and it’s still a bit dark outside, is when I feel the most alone with myself, and I can really hear my thoughts in that kind of silence. It’s at that time of day, before anyone can ask me for anything or demand of me, I can hear what it is that I need and want, and then I just go for it.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
I think it means different things, at different times. I think a real indicator of growth as you go through your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s is how others’ opinions of you matter less and less compared to your own. I’m totally willing to admit that in my 20’s and early 30’s, it was all about how others perceived my success. That’s when I was the idiot buying a $4,000 Chanel bag, but didn’t have an IRA. Now, I realize that being an Entreprenista, is having the confidence to NOT show off – you make way better choices this way. You don’t see Bill Gates pulling up in a Lambo, right?