Founded in 2005, Sennits LLC / HairZing, a privately-owned company, is a leader and innovator in fashionable and functional hair accessories. The HairZing culture is one of lean manufacturing. We “do more with less” and value experience and efficiency in all team members.
In this post, you’ll learn about HairZing’s competitive advantage in the Hair Accessories Industry and how HairZing got started by getting into the hands of millions of women across the world.
What is Sennits / HairZing?
Sennits LLC is an American conglomerate headquartered in Oakland, California. Founded in 2005, Sennits is the parent company of HairZing and UpZing. Produces multi-patented accessories for Conair Corporation, QVC, HSN, and large retailers like Amazon.
You may recognize some HairZing accessories branded as Scunci U Got This Upzing, Double Combs in stores like CVS, Walmart and Walgreens across the United States and worldwide at www.HairZing.com.
By focusing on providing proprietary designs and using innovative materials, HairZing brings high quality trend-setting fashion accessories to millions of women at remarkably practical price points.
Why is Sennits / HairZing Important?
Counter intuitive to the proliferate supply chain model of using factory based, highly automated, low cost production facilities, HairZing has counter-intuitively carved out a supply chain based on developing businesses with women’s collectives and small family owned and operated businesses in Africa and Asia.
The flexibility of this supply chain offers is a win-win for the workers, company and end use consumers. Women in remote areas gain access to economic opportunities without having to leave their families and are learning the demands of running their own businesses.
Now, HairZing is able to profitably market handcrafted accessories designed to the American consumers taste and sell in large quantities to retailers in the United States. Customers are able to purchase products that are stylish, trendy, affordable, but above all, hair-healthy.
Creating jobs is a stabilizing force on the entire community.
The HairZing team could easily have chosen to use conventional Chinese factories. However, they knew this particular product could be produced in rural areas and provide jobs and income where there simply is none.
It was an opportunity the founding partners partners Holliday Montgomery and Francesca Kuglen could not pass up.
Simultaneously, the HairZing team is challenged daily on maintaining the fine line between charity and sustainable business. From the beginning the goal has been to create independent entrepreneurs who will be in a position to produce products from other companies in addition to HairZing.
To this end, the HairZing team has provided working capital, computers, money for materials and training, as well as teaching business concepts and practices without any expectation of controlling or owning the work places. In fact, they insist that the collectives and small business owners become accountable for their own businesses.
HairZing’s vision is to create long term stability for its profit model and everyone associated with it.
This supply chain option has no proven models; what works in theory is evolving in practice. To accomplish this they had to identify areas where there were enough skilled workers to create the product line. In order to expand quickly, they had to be able to tap into places where there was a genuine need for jobs, and the learning curve for training was low; again counter intuitive.
Across Africa, beading is considered an art form with tremendous dignity. Millions of women use their beading skills to bring in extra money for the family although it is not a stable source of income. To rural women, it is often their only form of income.
In the remote areas HairZing chose to work, there is no infrastructure as we know it---no running water, electricity, public transportation or education system. Likewise in rural China, women had the beading skills but no work in their areas.
An infrastructure exists in China that does not exist in Africa, and that has been the sole difference in getting China launched faster than Africa.
Each production has its own set of challenges. In Africa, the cost and time required for importing raw materials and exporting finished goods is one of the highest in the world. Corruption is rampant and little infrastructure exists to support small business. HairZing styles had to be redesigned to incorporate locally available beads. Local suppliers were developed for other raw materials, such as the metal combs, adding more economic opportunity to the region.
In China, HairZing is produced in rural areas where women must be able to mix “production time” with looking after their children and crops. During planting and harvest times, women need time off and flexible schedules.
In Kenya, factories are set up under acacia trees and women walk for miles to the central location to pick up and drop off supplies and finished goods. With limited electricity, production is limited to daylight hours.
Training is paid.
This is unusual for the industry but necessary for workers not to rush through the learning process. Training is done on site using a “teach-the-teacher” technique to ingrain best practices for production, quality control, inventory management and shipping.
Once trained, each teacher creates their own small production teams of other women, obtaining raw materials and delivering finished goods on a schedule to a central location for finished packing and shipping.
All in all, it took over thirteen months to get the first order to HairZing’s warehouse. Today, over 6 million HairZing double combs have been sold.
Worth the hard work, quality rejections are under 1% and everyone is profiting on personal and professional levels.
The first HairZing product from Africa shipped in September 2007.
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