Meet the makers: Jayne Rutland

Jayne is a hairdresser who started making and selling her own hair products under the brand Hairy Jayne in 2008. Here she tells us what it’s like pitching to the Managing Director of Liberty, and how she raised £3000 through crowdfunding.

Hairy-Jayne_0059How did you get into making hair products?

I’ve been a hairdresser since 2001 – I worked in salons for ages and got fed up. So I went freelance in 2008 and found I had lots more time, and I started dabbling with potions. I did an aromatherapy product-making course at Morley College, where the tutor said I could make my own hair products. I then found Plush Folly and did lots of courses.

My first product was a hair treatment with argan oil, which I bought when I went to Morocco on holiday. Since doing the aromatherapy course I’ve stuck to using essential oils and natural products.

And how is the business doing?

It’s a tough industry to break into! I break even now on the hair products but I am still cutting hair three days a week – that funds my work on hair products for two days a week.

I took part in Brand Amplifier, which helped me think more like a business rather than “I make this, would you like to buy it?” Then last summer the law changed and I had to have all my products retested by a cosmetic chemist, which cost £3000! To raise this money I went for crowdfunding through Indiegogo. For the video my husband Karl dressed up as me in a ginger wig – it looked great with his beard! We managed to raise the whole amount!

We hear you also pitched to Liberty on their Open Call.

Yes – I registered and got there at 8am, the doors opened at 9am, and I still queued for five hours! I was interviewed by [Managing Director] Ed Burstell – I recognised him from TV! He was very enthusiastic and nice. I pitched to him and then had to do it again so they could film it. They said they would take my pack of three hair perfumes! They didn’t talk any numbers so maybe I should have been suspicious, but when you shake hands with someone you think it will be OK.

Then I got the follow-up call when they said they didn’t feel their customer base buys natural stuff so they didn’t want to place an order.

That must have been so disappointing.

The biggest lesson is it made me think would I be able to fulfil an order that size at this stage in my development. But they gave me some useful feedback and advice – they suggested I try Fortnum & Mason, which I hadn’t thought about.

How have you benefited from being a member of Makerhood?

Makerhood was the first time I tried out going to talks to learn more about business development and being part of a bigger local network. I went to the series of pitching sessions they ran – and then went on to pitch at Liberty.

Makerhood gives me a sense of everyone being team players and helping each other. I was thinking about running some workshops and then Making Uncovered came along and gave me the opportunity. I really enjoyed that – I’ve always loved teaching, even when I was in the salon.

Karl and I were on a real high after the event, walking up the hill and saying what a great place Brixton is, meeting local people who share common interests and can put on a great event like that!

You can buy Hairy Jayne products online. Jayne is also selling at the following events:

2 November West Norwood Feast
22-23 November Renegade Craft Fair
30 November Crafty Fox, Dalston
6 December Crafty Fox, Brixton
14 December Craftacular


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