Extensions seem like an excellent idea … until you’re looking at the wrong colour, length and look for your hair. Enter Jennifer Parrott, an extension lover who got fed up with expensive, time-consuming and damaging options and decided to do something about it by founding Locks & Mane, North America’s first luxury hair extension company making high-quality extensions fast, safe and affordable. Below, we chat with Jennifer about everything extensions! —Noa Nichol
Hi Jennifer! When and why did you launch your business, Locks & Mane?
I’m a mom of two sweet children and I started my company, Locks & Mane, seven years ago while on maternity leave with my son. I’ve always had such fine, thin hair and fell in love with extensions at an early age! I didn’t like how expensive, time-consuming and damaging most options were so I set out to create a service (which ultimately turned into a product!) that didn’t exist!
What niche were you aiming to fill?
I wanted to create a product that would appeal to the 20-year-old university student, the 40-year-old professional and the 60-year-old grandmother. It’s always been important to me that our brand and products are approachable and friendly and speak to all women.
What products/services do you offer, and what makes them unique?
We have a wide range of products and accessories now, but our core product has always been our 12″ and 18″ clip-in extensions! What makes them so unique is not only their fantastic quality and colour range, but their design! We were the first company to design a 2-piece clip-in set (as opposed to 8-10 pieces) and our clips are upward facing, instead of the traditional downward-facing clips. Because of our unique design you no longer need to backcomb your hair before clipping in your locks and they lay flatter and more securely than the traditional design. I wanted to make sure they were as easy-to-use and natural looking as possible!
For hair extension newbies, what’s the difference between synthetic extension and the real human hair extensions you provide?
The major differences between synthetic and real human hair extensions are that human hair tends to look a lot more natural and will last much longer than any synthetic pieces. You can also wash, cut, colour/dye and use hot tools on human hair extensions!
In dealing with real human hair, how do you ensure ethical standards are met/exceeded? What are some of the issues that can arise, ethically, when dealing with real human hair products?
Ethics and social responsibility have always been at the forefront of our brand pillars. Our hair comes from Indian temples and is the most ethically sourced hair on the market. I’ve travelled to our factory oversees and we’ve done onsite inspections to ensure all standards are met and exceeded. Until now, there has been a lack of transparency within the hair-extension industry. We are in the process of implementing a blockchain platform that will give our retailers and customers full visibility into our supply chain. We also plan to continue contributing to the non-profit Strong Like Me and giving back to the communities where we source our raw materials and manufacture our products.
What are your top tips to ensure we get a perfect hair extension match (and a style that doesn’t look fake)?!
The most important tip when colour matching is to make sure you always match with the ends of your hair and not the roots. Another good tip is if you’re stuck between a couple of colours, we always recommend going a shade darker for blondes and a shade lighter for brunettes for the most natural blend. When you first purchase a pair of human hair extensions they have a beautiful silicone coating, which makes them incredibly shiny and healthy looking. I personally love when they’re really shiny because they end up making my hair look shinier and healthier overall! That said, if you want them to look more natural and less shiny right out of the gate, you can either spray them with some dry shampoo or you can wash them in the sink and once they’re air-dried (or dried with a round brush and hairdryer) you can use your straightener or curling iron/wand to style them as you please. One of my favourite tricks to style them is to sandwich the top of the wefts in my bathroom drawer and hold shut with my knee while I curl the extensions; that sounds a lot harder to do than it is, I promise 🙂
What or who inspires you in your work?
This is a tough one! There are so many inspirational female entrepreneurs like Sara Blakley, Jamie Kern Lima, Cindy Eckert (I could go on and on!) that have helped pave the way for women in business. That said, I think at the core of what inspires me is my family. My mom has always been such an incredible role model in how she managed to balance a career and family. I also want my children to be proud of their mom and to know that you can achieve anything you set out to do as long as you’re prepared to work hard and be resilient and patient.
We hear your philanthropic game is strong, too! How do you support your community?
In 2017, my son was diagnosed with leukemia and my entire world changed in an instant. He was three at the time and my daughter had just turned a year old. We moved in with my parents and spent the better part of his first year of treatment in-patient at SickKids hospital in Toronto. He finished treatment last year and is a happy, healthy seven-year-old boy! During our time at the hospital, we met so many wonderful families and through my business I was able to gift a number of human hair wigs to teenagers undergoing chemotherapy. I’ve since started a wig gifting program and formally registered the non-profit, Strong Like Me. My goal is to help as many young women as possible to ease their transition during chemotherapy, and allow them to feel like their strong and confident selves again physically, mentally and emotionally. This entire experience made me realize that nothing in life is more important than the people we love and their health and that every day is a gift. It also taught me the importance of community and the impact of giving back in meaningful ways.
Going into fall/winter, what are some of the top trends you’re seeing in hair extensions?
A trend that we’re continuing to see this fall/winter is the ability to go from a short bob one day to long luscious locks the next and everything in-between. There’s so much flexibility with clip-in extensions as you’re able to change your hairstyle daily and really play to your mood 🙂