Serial entrepreneur Inge Peacock has always been passionate about running a business that helps people look and feel their best; initially working in fashion and now through GlamIt, an importer, distributor and online retailer of premium-quality haircare products.
Inge Peacock, founder and MD of GlamIt.
While run-of-the-mill haircare products may be overflowing on the average supermarket shelf, salon-quality brands can prove a little harder to come by, especially those produced by companies abroad.
Enter GlamIt, launched by Peacock in 2015 to give South African consumers, hair stylists and retailers easy access to international professional brands previously not made available locally.
At the heart of the platform's sourcing strategy is a focus on products that are not only proven to be effective, but are free from harsh, cheap chemicals found in many 'drugstore' brands.
Chi and Balmain Hair Couture
are among the big names linked to GlamIt, both luxury brands used by professional stylists backstage at fashion shows and pageants across the globe. Peacock is invested in cultivating strong relationships with her company's product partners, with various brand ambassadors making regular appearances at GlamIt events, including Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, and professional global hair artists Anna Cantu
and Guido Rieger.
Here, Peacock lets us in on her GlamIt journey, the perks of online retail and the power of good hair.
What inspired the launch of GlamIt?
I was inspired to avail the highest salon quality hair care products to all South Africans of every income bracket. We have access to great professional hair care brands but I felt that the selection was quite limited and there was room for high-quality international brands currently not available in our market.
A bit of healthy competition never hurt, so in 2015, GlamIt was born. I really believe in the brands that we, as Glamit, bring into the country, but it goes beyond just the products themselves: we are very passionate about making people feel empowered and we believe that good hair can make anybody unstoppable. Our products are affordable (by comparison to other professional haircare products) and are incredibly accessible via our retail partners, and online.
What were you doing before the launch of GlamIt?
I have always owned my own business. I worked in the fashion industry previously where my business designed, manufactured and sold clothing to national retail chains; we also owned our own ladies boutiques. I then spotted the gap in the market for good, salon-quality haircare products that were not currently available in our market.
Why the focus on haircare specifically?
Have you ever seen someone with good hair not looking confident and radiant? Your hair is your crown and you should wear it with pride. I have always believed in the power of healthy hair and empowering women (and men) around the country by looking, feeling and being their best selves. There is a massive lack of education around good haircare. At GlamIt we strive to educate consumers on what to look for in your beauty products; natural, chemical-free products are so important for overall health (including your hair).
You seem to have carefully aligned yourself with brands in the luxury haircare market. What are the characteristics you look for in brands you choose to stock?
It’s all about the connection and quality. I personally go overseas and meet the creators and the teams that develop these products. All of the products we bring into the country are alcohol, silicone, chemical, paraben, sulphate and cruelty-free. All the products we sell are made directly from natural ingredients and are designed to nourish, protect and repair the hair. We at GlamIt have very strict guidelines on who we associate ourselves with – the products need to be of the highest standard and we really let the quality speak for itself.
Throughout history, the beauty market has performed comparatively well during difficult economic times. Why do you think this is?
Personally, how successful I am is dependent on how confident I feel and I am most confident when I look good. I believe that most people view their beauty products as a necessity, and as we live in an incredibly competitive world, looking professional can directly impact your chances of landing a job. So in times of financial belt-tightening, beauty products are of the last to be impacted.
What would you say are the main opportunities and challenges when operating solely in the online retail space?
When you have a physical shop that you operate out of, you attract certain foot traffic around that area and rely heavily on word of mouth, marketing and advertising. You also have to pay hefty rent for that space (especially in Cape Town), so in terms of operating in the cloud, so to say, we have the potential to focus our budget and energy on reaching and educating people all over the country.
I believe that being online is the most effective way to run a business and it’s proven hugely successful for us. Utilizing all platforms available to create brand and product awareness with the consumer is incredibly important.
What has been the highlight of your GlamIt journey?
I have had the privilege of working with some of the best in the industry, worldwide. I have travelled, experienced things and met people that would have never been within my reach had I not started GlamIt. But the best part of this whole journey is giving back. We associate ourselves with Dress for Success and Hope Africa, which are two initiatives very close to my heart.
What’s been the most important business lesson you’ve learnt?
Be patient and persistent. If you put in the hard work and be consistent in achieving your goals, you can only succeed. I have had huge personal growth through this journey and I hope to inspire other entrepreneurs to start their own businesses – it’s so empowering and rewarding.Shop GlamIt online and connect with the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.