We recently caught up with Sheneka Adams, owner of the S. Adams Collection, to discuss why she decided to give up her career as a video model and pursue her dream of owning her own business. In 2012 Sheneka Adams launched her own hair extensions company and has made more money in a month than most video models today make in a year. Find out why Sheneka says there’s no money in urban modeling, why she decided to start selling hair extensions, and what advice she has for those who are looking to start their own business.
How long have you been in business? The S. Adams Collection has been in business for 3 years now. I can’t express the joy I feel about it as well. Most small business’s don’t make it past the six month mark and I’m 3 years in!
What made you decide to leave the urban modeling world and start your own business? Well you can’t be an urban model forever. That business is dead currently. There’s no real money in it anymore. I could never see myself working for anyone again so me and my ex-boyfriend came up with the idea to start my own hair collection. I had been wearing other hair companies prior making them tons of money so we figured why not do it ourselves.
You recently shared that your hair extensions business, the S. Adams Collection, brings in over $40K a month. What is the most you’ve ever been paid to appear in a music video or urban magazine? The most I’ve ever made from a music video was probably $1,500. Most of the money I made from urban modeling was from hosting gigs and appearances. Music videos do not pay anymore, at all unless you’re doing videos for big names artist, you can’t live off that. I don’t mean to brag about how much I make, it’s just that I’m so blessed and humbled that I actually have a successful business.
Would you agree that the hair extensions business is an over-saturated market? What sets the S. Adams Collection apart from it’s competitors? Yes, it’s over saturated but there’s enough money for everyone to get so I will never knock another business owner trying to make their dreams happen. What sets S. Adams Collection apart is that we have quality products, true Virgin hair extensions that took us almost 2 years to find, and I was the first company to introduce the boxes. Our specialized boxes are metallic and they also come with complimentary needle and thread which was different in our eyes. People know I’m serious about the company and they know I go hard for it, and when people see that, they will support you.
What have been some of the biggest challenges you have faced from your first year in business until now? One of the biggest challenges was making our mark! I already had a huge following from modeling but to transition that into sales was not easy. I think for me, one big mistake that I did initially make was not having my website up to scratch. I know this is a massive part of any business. Not having this in time to start my business was a setback. There was so much to do until a friend of mine recommended I looked into a company like slickplan. Through this, I was able to create an effective plan of my website. People are always sceptical when ordering online and I even had some people down me because they didn’t think a “video model” could be a serious business woman, but that made me go harder. I eat, sleep and breathe this business, not to mention I currently run the entire thing myself, with no staff and no help!
With so many business owners looking to cut costs anywhere they can, how important would you say packaging is when you’re shipping an online order? Packaging is VERY IMPORTANT. Presentation is everything! I emphasize this because if you’re going to spend $600 with me on ANYTHING I want to make sure you have the best experience I can offer, all the way down to the packaging. Yes it costs money but you have to invest in yourself if you want other people to spend their money with you. Even if it’s doing something like looking at business energy comparison sites to find the right deal for your business.
With all of the success that your online business has had so far would you ever consider opening an actual store? Why or why not? If so in which location? Yes, I have thought about it and I would love to have my own store/salon. I am currently gearing up to attend hair school so that I can learn as much as I can about doing actual hair. I don’t want to have a hair salon and not know anything about it. So once I educate myself, I will be opening a store! But right now I am doing well, like the old saying goes, if something isn’t broke don’t fix it, lol, but strive to do better and be better.
What other items do you sell on your website other than hair extensions? I sell shirts, brushes, metallic nails, and coffee mugs. I’m currently working on a hair care division and also creating my own hot tools for hair.
How big of a role has social media contributed to the success of your business? Social media has played a major role! We live in the day and age of social media so why not take full advantage of it. Not to mention, IT’S FREE! For a small business like me who may not have $50k to spend on other advertisements this is my best offer. I encourage all small business owners to take advantage of social media when they can, because it’s free so there’s no excuse!
Do you currently use any other form of advertising other than social media (Radio? Billboards? Magazine?) to promote your business? Yes, I have advertised in magazines, websites, and I also have relationships with many celebrities that I use to help advertise the business as well.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to start their own business but is afraid of failure? Failure is a state of mind. It’s like a dark cloud hovering over you waiting for the sunshine to break though. A dream will be just that unless you get out there and conquer it. Sometimes it may not happen right away but if you keep pushing at it, it can happen. Just like with anything, there is always a lot to learn. If I hadn’t learnt about the various marketing techniques, how to grow an audience and was recommended to look into finding the best data integration tools for the job at hand (along with a lot of other aspects), I don’t think I would be where I am right now in terms of my business. It’s all about consistency and knowing that although it takes time, you can turn your dream into a reality. I know this better than anyone being that I’ve been through so much and I’m still able to be blessed with this amazing blessing. All you have to do is google me and you will see the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered. If I can do this, then you can and I mean that from the deepest part of my soul.
What can we look forward to from the S. Adams Collection in 2016? Expanding and more products! I’m brainstorming of different ways I can set myself apart from everyone else. I’ve been in business for 3 years now and I’m looking forward to building something I can pass down to my kids so they can be their own bosses!
Follow the S. Adams Collection on Instagram @SAdamsCollection
Shop online @ www.SAdamsCollection.com