What we do best: We have been leaders in the creative hair color revolution for the past 40 years, pioneering the category before it was ever acceptable or trendy. It’s always been important to us to be true to ourselves and our long-held values and beliefs. Our hair color has always been vegan and cruelty-free, way before it became a marketing catchphrase.
We continue to encourage people to be individual and fearless, providing a safe, creative outlet for self-expression. As we say at Manic Panic, “We don’t just sell it, we live it!”
Where we went wrong and how we fixed it: It is our nature to trust people. So, when starting out in this business, we were a little naïve. Before we knew better, we put our trust in an unscrupulous contract manufacturer, who took our lipstick idea and made a cheap knock-off of the product we had asked them to make for us. After stalling us, and keeping us waiting a year, they launched theirs at the very same trade show where we were launching ours, selling theirs at half the price of ours. Now, if we decide to outsource, we research extensively, choose wisely and get contracts in place beforehand. As employers of over 30 people in New York City, we also have to be cautious and protective of our IP, another lesson we learned along the way. Now, employees and outside consultants sign non-disclosure and non-compete agreements at the start of our working relationship. A while back, we had an unethical marketing manager assisting us on a special project. We were in negotiations with a then-popular entertainer about doing a private label line of hair color. After he made the connection, he left our company, stole the customer, and did the line with one of the manufacturers we had introduced him to. Our advice: get everything in writing!
What’s next: We’re working on more line extension products. Recently, we launched our dry shampoo, and a line of professional hair color and lighteners. A wet line and styling products will follow soon. We’re also licensing the Manic Panic name worldwide for salons, as well as products in other categories. Manic Panic is synonymous with color. Our goal is to make Manic Panic a full lifestyle brand for everything colorful!
Ask Another Indie (Trish & Snookie’s question for our next Indie Inc. profile): “What inspired you to start your business?”