Interview

How I made it: Erim Kaur of hair care sensation ByErim

She started with £10k and built a multi-million pound haircare brand
By
BizAge Interview Team
Erim Kaur

What does ByErim do?

ByErim is a luxury hair and beard care brand that has been a viral success since launching in 2019. It’s now a multi million pound business with a loyal customer following from around the world.

I created the brand’s oil formula in the kitchen with my grandmother. The brand has grown quickly since I launched with just £10k of savings to become the success it is today.

What's your biggest strength?

Our unique formula is probably our biggest strength and what sets us apart from others in the hair care industry. It contains a balance and blend of oils such as Amla, Argan, Castor, Coconut and Sweet Almond oils. It’s not just something that we’ve come up with - it’s tried and tested and something I use myself every day and have seen amazing results from. We also have hundreds of reviews and testimonials from others that have seen their hair transform and that’s something that others can’t replicate. They all have different stories – whether they have suffered with thinning hair that is now regrowing, hair becoming shinier and stronger, hair becoming thicker and more healthy – all sorts! We love to see and hear from our audience, and their amazing stories are always something that we get excited about.

What made you think there was money in this?

I created ByErim after spending over a decade testing hundreds of different formulations for the perfect hair oil in the kitchen with my grandmother. After my mother died of breast cancer when I was eight, I grew up without any other female role model in my life and I found creating the hair oil with my grandmother was a key bonding experience.

I kept track of all my expenses, and didn’t cut any corners. For me, using the best quality ingredients I could was really key as I had personally seen the benefits of hair oiling myself and wanted others to experience the same.

When we launched in 2019, the initial 250 bottles sold out in four hours. I never thought they would sell out that quickly! I launched these first 250 bottles on my personal Instagram page, as I had quite a few followers – I only created the ByErim Instagram page four months into the business. All of the £10k savings that I put into the business went towards this first batch of product.

The money I made in this first drop went towards investing in more stock. The next batch of 500 bottles sold out in two hours. We’ve just grown from there. We have very loyal customers who are happy to share their hair journey with us and once they have purchased the oil once, continue to do so.

Where is the business today? 

We are a multi-million pound business, which is a huge achievement for a small business that launched right before the pandemic hit and we’ve had rapid growth and success in our first two years of business.

We started with £10k of my own savings and turned over £1.5 million in the first year, becoming one of the top 5 fastest-selling hair oils in the UK.

We’re continuing to build and grow from that each year and with a loyal customer base around the world, including the US and Canada, it looks set to grow from strength to strength.

What is the secret to making the business work?

For us, one of our main successes has been listening to our audience and using their wants and needs to shape what we do. For example, we’re launching new products this year, including a shampoo and conditioner, in response to what our audience have been asking for so we can offer a full end-to-end hair experience.

The ByErim community is one of the most unique things about our brand and happened naturally. They are all willing to share tips on how they have improved their hair, they all engage and interact with each other, and share feedback with us; it’s really lovely. We do also give a lot to our community as well in terms of haircare tips, free wallpapers available via our app, lots of behind the scenes snippets on our social media channels and so on. Without our community, the business wouldn’t be as successful as it is today.

How do you market the company?

We have predominantly relied on organic reach on social media to grow. However, we have more or less exhausted the portion of our audience which was appropriate to sell to, so we’ve now looked at, and seen success with, Facebook advertising, leaning more into TikTok and investing into PR for brand awareness. This was a big jump for us as we relied so heavily on word of mouth for so long. As the business grows more and we launch new products, we know the model will continue to grow and expand too.

For us, our marketing channels are a sounding board for our audience to tell us what they want and what they’re looking for. Without them, we wouldn’t be here so it’s important for us to utilise them as much as possible.

One of my top tips when it comes to marketing on social media is to not always look for new followers. I think a lot of people get caught up in growing their follower numbers when I would suggest growing your relationship with your existing followers is more important, and the rest will follow naturally. Also test, test and test again when it comes to content and see what works for you. You can only do this by trying different things out and learning what your audience engages with and respond to the most.

We’re also hugely passionate about not only marketing to women, but making it clear that men can use ByErim too. We’ve had amazing stories from men who have found it soothes their itchy and flaky beards and results in thicker and softer beards too.

What funding do you have? Is it enough?

The company started using £10k of savings that I carefully put away from working in a nightclub. All of the initial savings went into creating the ByErim brand and as a result we sold out at launch.

The business is now a multi-million pound company, and continues to grow rapidly. Our profits go back into our business and this has continued to work well for us. We’ve not needed to seek outside investment or funding so far, and we hope the business can continue to grow as it has done.

Tell us about the business model

The business model is quite simple with suppliers kept to a minimum. We work with the largest oil refiner and fulfillment company in the UK. All of our ingredients are ethically sourced and we only use the highest grade oil to ensure that our formula is perfected each time. Our fulfillment and packaging is done by Europe’s only carbon neutral warehouse and we also work with DHL for all of our international shipments.

We only have sub-contract staff and therefore our overheads are all relatively low. The staff all work remotely as we do not currently have a HQ office in London but it is in our plan for 2023.

What were you doing before?

Prior to launching ByErim I worked as an influencer, and I still do; my following has reached 255k on Instagram. I became an influencer very naturally just by posting things that interested me and what I was doing in my everyday life. For example, I did a documentary on the 1984 genocide of Sikhs, I went viral once when I wore Asian clothes to my graduation – like I said, just things that resonated with me. As I was one of the few Sikh women posting in this way it created intrigue and interest. I was also very consistent - I fell in love with my audience so I was excited to post every day.

Working as an influencer allowed me to launch ByErim with the confidence that there was demand for the product we had created. I’d connected with so many others online who were seeking what I had, so I knew there was a gap in the market and a customer base that wanted this.

Are there any technologies you've found useful?

Instagram is definitely essential for us - it’s our biggest marketing channel and is one of the channels that we showcase the hair oil and all its benefits on the most.

For us, it’s not just an advertising tool, it’s a two-way platform for us to hear from our followers and to test out ideas and content with them too.

What is the future vision?

To continue building up ByErim to be a luxury hair and beard care brand, and continue expanding into more products that our consumers want and will love.

We’ve got big things on the horizon this year for ByErim and it’s so exciting to see the business grow and keep meeting the needs of our customers. There’s exciting stuff happening nearly every month this year, as well as the new products coming out, so it’s a huge one for us as a brand

Personally, I’m also planning to study trichology and further my knowledge of hair and scalp care, which will benefit the brand and I can’t wait to be able to share more knowledge and strengthen the business even further.

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
August 29, 2022