I’ve dreamt my whole life of being on TV. Not as an actor (not my thing) but just as myself, sharing my passion for clean, high-performing haircare, which I’ve immersed myself in for the past decade. Now I can’t believe that after 54 years, it actually happened! I had the privilege of representing MASAMI, the clean haircare brand I co-founded in 2018, recently on a national TV show. As entrepreneurs, much of our day-to-day life is challenging, so when we hit a milestone, it feels really special. I wanted to share my journey and my perspective of this incredible moment in time with you.
It started when our friend, Mayumi Ishii of Chrysmela Catch, sent us an email that a new TV show, America’s Big Deal, was taking applications for entrepreneurs to feature. From world-renowned inventor and entrepreneur Joy Mangano, the show is a first-of-its-kind, shoppable competition TV series for entrepreneurs to sell their ready-made products on-air to home viewers in real time.
My co-founder Lynn submitted the application for MASAMI but we didn’t think too much about it. But lo and behold, a few weeks later, we heard from the producers—they were intrigued and wanted to know more about our story. One conversation led to another, and pretty soon I was casting my husband, Masa (our muse), to the producers of the show—and they loved him, which I knew they would. Eventually, we got the great news that out of tens of thousands of applications, we were a finalist! From there, everything went into overdrive. We went to the studio in New Jersey to film our B-roll. The production team came to my NYC apartment and to our salon partner, Spoke & Weal, to film a day in my personal and entrepreneurial life. Next followed lots of back and forth on wardrobe, script, stage setup. And of course, a fair amount of administrative stuff to deal with like insurance, contract, product shipments, etc.
I get pretty excited about the potential for our brand to get on the radar of retailers and customers, so it was challenging for me to maintain an even keel over the course of the several weeks it took to get through all of the steps. I found myself tossing and turning a lot (rehearsing in my head) and much of our energy went into ensuring that we would present MASAMI in the best possible way on the show.
After what seemed like a lifetime, we got the official word that we were scheduled for the season finale on December 16 on USA Network. We would be pitching against four other entrepreneurs for the chance to strike a potential purchase order deal with either Lowe’s, Macy’s, QVC, or HSN. The days leading up to the show were surreal. It felt like my whole life had led up to this moment. My friends and family who had seen me working on our formulations for a decade were so proud, and I didn’t want to let anyone down. Luckily, the show was amazing. I really felt the positive energy and love on the set. Joy was a dream (as I knew she would be). I loved how supportive the retailers were about every entrepreneur who made it on. Even though it was a competition, it felt like we were all in it together, which was really nice. We believe strongly that small businesses should help and support each other—brand partnerships are a big part of our strategy—and this is a great example of how that can manifest into business (thank you again, Mayumi!).
Even though we didn’t win the show, we felt like winners. It was truly an unbelievable experience and one I would highly recommend to any entrepreneur wanting to take their business to the next level. Here are some of our learnings for anyone considering something like this:
- Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Luckily, there were teleprompters on set which gave me a little bit of comfort. But, nothing beats knowing your material cold. So don’t just try to wing it, make sure you nail it (and timing matters!)
- Be prepared for the unexpected. Like everything else these days, things can go wrong (or just take a left turn) on live TV. Just take a deep breath and go with the flow.
- Plan on spending 10+ hours a week leading up to the event. There are a lot of logistics that need to happen, so if you want to succeed, you’ll have to carve out the time.
- Share it with the world! This is your moment, so why not? Don’t be shy or self-conscious about promoting yourself, even though I’m not one to ever want to brag. . . But really, how many other people can say they’ve done this? And anyone who is interested in you and/or your business will appreciate it.
Our chance to tell our story on national TV was one that we could only have dreamt of. We hope there will be a season two of America’s Big Deal so that many more indie beauty brands can get the opportunity to share their stories with America too.
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