After being delayed twice, Black hair designer makes history launching on home shopping channel

Abu Mubarik March 09, 2023
Tiffini Gatlin. Photo: Linkedin

Tiffini Gatlin is the founder of Latched and Hooked, a Black-owned and operated company providing non-toxic solutions for protective hairstyles. According to her, the company was born out of the need to provide consumers and hair stylists with a safe, affordable and time-sensitive alternative.

Gatlin narrated in an interview with Rollingout that she started Latched and Hooked after transitioning from corporate to entrepreneur. According to her, she used hair as a way to earn extra money while being a lifestyle blogger around 2014.

At the time, crochet braiding was quickly becoming the best hairstyle for Black women. Although beautiful, she noted, “the method of brushing kinky textured hair, rolling around a perm or flexi rod and covering yourself with thick towels as your prepared to dip your head in a pot of boiling water–was extremely dangerous.”

According to her, there were thousands of hashtags on Instagram and several YouTube videos with millions of views urging women to follow the process so they could get the look of textured curly hair that would withstand any climate with little maintenance.

After trying the method several times, even on herself, she stopped after nearly burning a client from the steam and hot water. She went to the beauty supply store to find synthetic hair that was already curled and looped. Besides finding no options available, there were also no pre-looped crochet options on the market, she noted, leading to the birth of Latched and Hooked.

Before her beauty company, she had tried her hands at different things. She had worked in the finance and banking space, with Latched and Hooked becoming her second beauty company. Her first beauty company was with a stranger because she was scared to birth such a large vision on her own. Although the partnership did not last, she found the experience ‘absolutely necessary’ for her to go through the trials so as to become wiser, more cautious, and knowledgeable and share with other entrepreneurs about her pitfalls, she told Rollingout.

Today, Gatlin’s second beauty company Latched and Hooked has made history with the launch of a collection on the home shopping channel QVC — a first for a Black-owned faux hair designer. Making history on the channel was delayed twice due to several factors including the pandemic and product testing, she said.

“I will be making history as the first (and hopefully not the last) Black owned and woman operated faux hair designer and distributor to debut on QVC!” Gatlin wrote on Instagram last month. “Never could I have imagined that my first purchase order would come from QVC! Like many of you my mom would watch and order (porcelain dolls were her obsession) and now decades later I’ll be in millions of homes as I showcase live from QVC studios!

“My first meeting with my buyer was on June 2, 2021 at 2:30 pm and I finally made it to the finish line! It was a grueling experience, one I will not take for granted because I learned so much.”

Two years before this, Latched and Hooked was recognized by Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, which brought a $100,000 investment in her business.

Turning Latched and Hooked into a successful venture did not come easy for the Black entrepreneur. Gatlin designs and manufactures her own synthetic hair products, however, getting her products into independent beauty supply stores was difficult as buyers of beauty supply stores wanted Asian own brands.

“Buyers of the beauty supply stores or generally Asian and they would rather purchase hair extensions from other Asian-owned brands. But, where there is a will, there is a way. The advice that I would offer to other minorities in the world of beauty is don’t give up on yourself and create your own tribe (community) when another tribe will not accept you into their space,” she told Rollingout.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 9, 2023

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