With 29 years of experience under her belt as a licensed cosmetologist, and more than 23 years as the owner of a salon suite, it’s safe to say that Mina Scumaci, the founder and CEO of Scumaci International (maker of The Original ClassiCurl Roller), knows the ins and outs of the beauty industry well. Scumaci also knows that if she was unsatisfied while using traditional Velcro hair rollers on her clients—which snag hair, cause static and collect lint—then other stylists and consumers must be having same difficulties, too. Her solution to robust, voluminous curls came when she married boar bristles with a longer, 4-inch barrel. Let’s take a look to see how she plans to (literally) make waves in the industry with a product that delivers smoother, healthier curls for a salon-style blowout at home.
Beauty Store Business: When did your passion for beauty begin?
Mina Scumaci: My passion for beauty started at a young age and carried on into high school. Most girls want to look pretty and I would experiment on my (brave) friends’ hair. I would try to cut their hair the way my stylist cut mine! With trial and error came my love for beauty.
What inspired you to create The Original ClassiCurl Roller?
I had never been happy with traditional rollers found in the market; they didn’t stay secured in my hair well, and when I took them out, my hair would always get caught on the plastic edges. Over the last several years I noticed that a lot of stylists were using brushes to set hair. They are heavy and uncomfortable for our clients, and expensive for us stylists to buy (it usually takes about a dozen to fill a head). Also, if a stylist wanted to carry several different diameters of brushes, they would need a lot of storage space. I wanted to figure out a solution to these problems, which is why I developed The Original ClassiCurl Roller and founded Scumaci International in October 2015.
How are these rollers unique compared to others on the market?
These rollers are unique because of the combination of the 100-percent boar bristles and the 1.5-inch longer barrel. The 100-percent boar bristles are naturally healthier for the hair and provide a stronger grip; they smooth the hair cuticle while creating volume and shine. The ClassiCurl rollers create a “finished look” with convenience, efficiency and a longer-lasting hold. These patented rollers also support the recent skyrocketing growth in the blow-dry salon market. They are lighter in weight than brushes, are cost-effective, use less storage space and are easier to manage. My clients are happy using my ClassiCurl rollers because many have expressed their frustrations with using a round brush and not being able to duplicate their salon blowout at home.
If you don’t know the answer to something, find somebody who does.
What was the development process like?
Working with an engineer, we needed to develop a prototype. Extensive research revealed that boar bristles are not harvested or sold in the U.S. In an effort to create the prototype, we used bristles from a boar brush I owned. Once I had a working prototype, my search to find a manufacturer had begun. Through my professional network, I was able to do so, and I was thrilled when I was finally able to place my first order.
What are some of your long-term goals for the future?
My goal is to expand the ClassiCurl brand to include complementary styling agents so women and cosmetologists can enhance the styles they create using our ClassiCurl rollers.
What are some of your career highlights?
I had an amazing opportunity to showcase my brand at one of the largest beauty trade shows in the world, Cosmoprof North America (CPNA), in Las Vegas this past July. I applied for the coveted Discover Beauty Spotlight section of the show floor and was overjoyed when I found out I was accepted. While there, I was told my ClassiCurl rollers had been selected as a Trendsetter for CPNA 2017, and New Beauty featured our brand as one of the 10 most unique discoveries at CPNA this year. I was also one of 10 companies interviewed by Bonnie Bonadeo from the “BEaUty Inside and Out” show (our interview aired in August). I was so honored to see that I was chosen alongside some amazing companies from around the world, including celebrity stylist Giannandrea Marongiu.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as a CEO?
CEOs have to wear many hats. When I venture into an area of the business I’m not familiar with, I reach out to my professional network for help. It is vital to the success of your business to understand the pulse of the market, to work with individuals with a strong footprint and to also be willing to work between the hills and valleys.
The road to entrepreneurship is a long one, but if you stay determined and persistent, you can become successful in reaching your goals.
What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting your business?
One of the biggest challenges was finding a manufacturer and building that business relationship with someone halfway around the world. Also, I hadn’t raised any capital to start; I just received a few small loans from some family members, and I had to be very selective on how that money was allocated.
Tell us about any exciting plans for the company for 2018.
I’m currently working on finding/expanding distribution in both the U.S. and Canada. I’m also looking into the possibility of exhibiting at the Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna show in March 2018. I was amazed to learn that there were 2,700 exhibitors and 250,000 visitors from 150 countries this past March! I feel that show would be an incredible way to introduce my company and to promote my ClassiCurl brand internationally.
What advice can you offer other aspiring entrepreneurs in the beauty industry?
The best piece of advice I can offer other aspiring entrepreneurs, in what I believe to be one of the most competitive industries, is be ready to work hard and know your market. If you don’t know the answer to something, find somebody who does. The road to entrepreneurship is a long one, but if you stay determined and persistent, you can become successful in reaching your goals. I often have to remind myself that this journey is a marathon, not a sprint!