Yummie O. Went From Working in IT to Building a Multimillion-Dollar Extensions Company
Image Source: Courtesy of Yummie O.
Before creating the empire that is Yummy Hair, Yummie O. wasn’t even in the beauty industry. “My major was in computer information systems,” she tells POPSUGAR. “My goal was to be the first black CIO at the corporation that I was at. I was truly passionate about the field and loved everything about it.”
However, about eight years into her climb to the top of the corporate ladder, she got bitten by the proverbial bug that is entrepreneurism. “I just felt like I needed to do more,” Yummie says. “I needed to be able to have more impact, and I wasn’t able to do that in my IT career.” Known as the “hair person” in her family, Yummie was initially extremely against the idea of starting a hair business. “I remember when I was younger, going to my aunt’s wedding and being appointed the person to come up with all the hairstyles for the bridal party,” she says. “My mom reminded me how much fun I had with the process. Then she mentioned that my grandmother also sold hair extensions.” Taking it as a sign, Yummy Extensions was created in 2013.
Thankfully, Yummie’s IT background made the process of building her company from the ground up a much more seamless process. “I quickly realized that you can have a good product . . . but if you don’t have the technology to help to expand your reach, then you’re really just going to be at home doing nothing,” she explains. Working with a very lean initial budget, Yummie credits her education with helping her understand everything from how to build a user-friendly website to how to understand other developers when they discuss code.
Image Source: Courtesy of Yummie O.
In addition to making technology work in her favor, Yummie attributes her company’s success to two main things: customer service and education. “I’m an avid lover of extensions, and the way I was treated in the places that I would buy hair from made me want to prioritize the buyer experience and training,” she says. “When someone buys Yummy Extensions, the consumer themselves can be aware of how to care for and style their hair outside of the salon.” As Yummy explains, customers should have access to knowledgeable sales associates who can help guide them to the best extensions for their lifestyles, plus educational videos that provide more information on caring for their hair. As she puts it: “Yummy Extensions is like its own ecosystem.”
Although she now has millions of dollars in sales as proof of how incredible her extensions are, when Yummie first started, repeat customers made her realize that she might have be onto something. “Having the same person order two, three times – that’s when I realized that these extensions are something that people really loved,” she says. “About two years after the creation of the company, we launched our core Yummy collection, which was made up of three different curly textures. By then, word of mouth had spread, and we sold out on launch day. We have been synonymous with good-quality curly hair extensions since.”
Yummie has gone on to launch Kosa Professionals, a sister company to Yummy Hair that focuses on styling tools meant to ensure the longevity of your extensions. In addition, she is launching a mentorship program to help other entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes she made early on. “I have learned quite a bit over the years and constantly have people reaching out to me for advice,” she says. “I’ve come to realize that this program is something that can be extremely useful, so I’m excited to be able to officially kick it off in September 2023.”
In the future, Yummy hopes that the hair and beauty industry at large can become a place that practices radical transparency. “I would like to be able to see a lot more honesty in the industry,” she says. “A lot of times people know a product is great, but tell them how to use it and how it can really fit into their lifestyles.” With almost half a million followers tuned in to her every word on Instagram and countless five-star reviews of her products, the Yummy universe has clearly become one people know they can depend on and trust.