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“You live life looking forward. You understand life looking backward.”
– Søren Kierkegaard <
This year and this month we are celebrating a milestone I never imagined we’d ever reach, 15 years of business. It’s also not a small milestone either, as only 25% of businesses live, thrive and grow to that age. That quote by Kierkegaard is one I’ve always treasured and tried to live by, because as any small business owner knows…life like business must always be forward looking. Not just the road before you, but towards the horizon, and while doing so, it’s always important to look backward every now and then to celebrate the road you’ve walked. As I look back on that road now, today, I never imagined how far we would come or how many lives we would touch.
“When I was a little girl growing up in Bangalore, India I was born with skin just a little too dark and hair that was far too curly. In that time and in that place, I didn’t fit the beauty ideal and was bullied and called ugly. ”
Half the world away and half a lifetime ago as a little girl I struggled so much with loving myself, much less the hair I was born with. Hair is everything to a woman, it is her strength, her confidence, how she expresses herself and it reflects her personality. So often we look in the mirror and struggle to be happy with what looks back at us, because we often always want more. A little more length, a little more density, a little more dimension, movement…just…more. And sometimes, through no fault of our own, we start to lose it to age, struggling with disease, or just our genes. I know how that feels and when the seeds of what Perfect Locks came to be when I was just a little girl looking in a mirror I wanted women like myself to never feel the way I felt.
Out of a one-bedroom apartment, Priyanka and her husband Gautama launch a simple website and import some of the first Virgin Indian Hair into the United States. Perfect Locks is born with 3 products: machine wefts in one texture, 3 thread hand-tied wefts, and bulk hair.
With family and business growing, Gautama and Priyanka moved to a 3-bedroom home, operating Perfect Locks out of their garage. Over the next few years Priyanka would juggle being a mother to 2 children and also being an entrepreneur. Perfect Locks adds closures, frontals and tape-in extensions to its catalog.
The Perfect Locks brand takes off and Priyanka and Gautama move into an office space. The brand is redesigned and relaunched. Local interest began for a walk-in showroom in the community. Perfect Locks expands its offerings to include multiple textures, clip-ins, wigs and new tape-in types.
With Perfect Locks business rapidly expanded and a growing need for a local store for wigs and extensions, Priyanka and Gautama expand to an adjacent office space. A retail showroom is unveiled much to the delight of local customers. Long term plans for a permanent office and showroom begin.
The Perfect Locks business moves into a brand-new showroom and headquarters where it remains today. An exclusive wig room and salon space allow local customers to shop discretely and be fitted perfectly. Priyanka begins focusing on scaling their team with the right people and skill sets to take the brand further.
A road is always easier to walk when you have someone to walk with and even pick you up when you fall. I was blessed when Gautama (Guy as I call him) came into my life, and later, as my supportive husband he became my biggest cheerleader. Like most small businesses we began humbly, operating out of a one bedroom apartment. Guy built a simple one page website that quickly was seen by tens of thousands of people who were hungry for 100% Indian human hair and before we knew it the phone was ringing off the hook.
We began with a limited selection, but ones that we were well loved: bulk hair for braiding and extensions, as well as weaves. Guy handled the technical side and operations, I handled customer service and fulfillment…just the two of us. Before long, word about the quality of our hair spread and we found that the one bedroom apartment was too small for our growing business. Where did we upgrade to? A garage of all things! But the orders kept coming and the phones kept ringing and before long it was clear a professional office was needed. We finally brought on two employees and we realized in the blink of an eye that we had hundreds of loyal customers.
By the time we were in our first office, local customers had already started requesting a showroom where they could see and try the hair before making a purchase. For us, our lines had expanded so much that we had a lot to offer them…but we needed a way to stock, show and tell. As luck would have it an office space next to our professional office opened up and it became our first retail location, allowing us to serve local customers. But we needed a more permanent home, one that could house a showroom, education for beauty professionals, a salon installation space and also offices. It was then that a most unexpected opportunity arose out of a Jiffy Lube of all things.
What you may know as the Perfect Locks building started off a little less than glamorous. For years a former Jiffy Lube had been sitting vacant, a sad building that had broken walls and windows, as well as oil stained into the floor. It was as rough a starting sandbox as you could begin with and I had my doubts on being able to fully renovate the space. Before my journey with Perfect Locks began I actually had experience and training as an Architect and envisioned how we could convert the space. The basement where cars used to have their oil changed would become our warehouse. The ground floor with its high ceilings would be an ideal spot for a showroom mezzanine, offices and a space for salon quality installations.
Planning of this scale takes careful thought, so we started by putting plans to paper and truly envisioning every square foot in my mind as we began to tear up floors and tear down walls. From start to finish, it took us a full year to take this dilapidated Jiffy Lube business and transform it in a beautiful multi-function space filled with light and hopeful energy. By the time we were done and hosting our grand opening it occurred to me that creating this space where hairdressers could learn how to care for women undergoing chemotherapy and people who don’t feel hair confident was my proudest achievement in life next to my children.
Every day we strive to make our business a joy for both customers and employees. It's our passion, our love, our light.
Today, our flagship store is home to an amazing experience for local customers and the hub to ship quality add-on hair solutions all over the world. These past 15 years, despite our growth in leaps and bounds one thing has always remained the same: our promise. You deserve to feel and look beautiful and you deserve to have the best quality, ethically sourced hair found anywhere…hair lovingly given from a woman half a world away to another woman. It’s a continuum of love, hope and positive energy as we build a sisterhood of empowered women who look in the mirror and say, “Yes Queen!” We instill this promise into every member who joins our team here, to bring good energy to work to service you completely and always be on hand to help you find the hair of your dreams. It is my dream that one day, Walnut Creek, California will be known as the city of beautiful hair, our showroom just a stop on your journey in hair confidence every day.
We Appreciate You
From all of us here at Perfect Locks to every single of you who have supported us, trusted us, given us the chance to earn your business, thank you.