You Go Natural (YGN), a Dallas-based hair and beauty company, announced it has closed a $2 million seed funding round led by Brand Foundry Venture Partners with other notable participants including Capital Factory, Willow Growth Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.
In 2016, Monique Little, the founder and CEO of YGN, realized that she needed an easy way to protect her hair and look good on the go, so she created a pre-tied and satin-lined headwrap with her own sewing machine.
After showing her new headwrap to her Instagram followers, it became apparent that there was high demand for headwraps. So, she started making and selling the headwraps online. At the time, she had just given birth to her daughter and was living in New Jersey.
“You Go Natural was born out of the idea that it should not be difficult to wear your hair as it naturally grows out of your head,” Little told Dallas Innovates. “It’s an affirmation for women who dare to love themselves naturally.”
Two years later, Little moved to Dallas after her husband’s job was relocated. She said that, at the time, it was easy to move the business since YGN was run out of her home.
A lot has changed since then. YGN now produces and ships all of its pre-tied headwraps from its 1,500-square-feet production facility in Old East Dallas. By the end of April, her team plans to expand the facility to 7,500 square feet.
YGN has become a multi-million dollar generating company serving over 50,000 customers worldwide.
“As a black female founder, I have unique market insight into the world of ethnic beauty. I know where the industry is way oversaturated, and I know where there are gaps in innovation and solutions that have yet to be introduced,” Little says. “The vision of YGN goes way beyond headwraps. We are building the go-to source for innovation in natural beauty.”
Little was one of four Dallas-based founders named to the inaugural Forbes Next 1000 list in 2021.
YGN sells open T-shirt turbans, headbands, open crown wraps, T-shirt buns, and T-shirt turbans through its website.
“Not only does this product save our customers the time and frustration of learning to tie a head wrap, the satin lining protects the hair from breakage and damage and helps to retain moisture,” Little says.
In the coming months, Little says YGN will also be introducing an innovative line of waterproof swim turbans, which will be lined with silicone for women who typically avoid getting their hair wet.
In addition to the facility expansion, YGN plans on expanding its team from 38 people to over 100.
“YGN is one of few brands that chooses domestic production, bringing an often forgotten skill back to the workforce in Dallas,” Little says. “Not only does this affect the lives of our employees, but it affords us the ability to create innovative concepts in the market and present them to our customers at light speed in comparison to other e-commerce brands.”
Although YGN hair products are produced domestically, Little says they were not immune to the supply chain disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the beginning of the pandemic, a lack of materials made it difficult for YGN to keep its store stocked. However, after pivoting to producing masks by utilizing remnant fabrics, YGN was able to fill the gaps in sales.
“After watching helplessly as many of our vendors had disruptions in service, we learned valuable lessons about building redundancy in suppliers and our workforce, as well as the value of owning our end to end process from production to shipping,” Little says. “Not only have we secured ourselves against vendor failures, we have reduced our production costs by over 50 percent.”
Little says while their direct-to-consumer model has kept them busy, YGN plans on exploring other retail channels in the future. Little projects that YGN’s revenue will increase fivefold this year.
“We have quite an ambitious product roadmap that we plan to roll out over the next one to two years,” Little said. “We will continue serving our customers as best we can, and as long as we can stay true to that North Star, I would consider us successful.”
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