Relentless female CEO creates a company that’s solving your number one hair problem
Hair ties can be a fraught subject when it comes to those who use and rely on them. While they’re necessary to keep your hair up-and-out of your face, they come with frustrating consequences, like the ubiquitous black hair tie on people’s wrist, the subsequent wrist indentation from said hair tie, and the exasperating crease that the hair tie leaves in your hair.
Lindsay Muscato is the founder and CEO of Teleties, a company that is working to solve all of the aforementioned hair tie problems while also transforming hair ties into a wearable fashion accessory.
The idea for Teleties, named after their similar appearance to a telephone cord, came from her own hair tie trials and tribulations. She explained the frustration she felt when she used to play soccer both as a child and as a young adult.
“I would find myself in the middle of the field with my head literally thrown over putting my hair back up because my hair tie wouldn't stay in,” said Muscato. “So at that moment I realized I needed a better solution.”
Fast forward nearly a decade, and Muscato found herself in a similar situation, but in need of a more all-encompassing solution.
“Being a very active mom on the go I realized that not only did I need a functional hair tie but that I also wanted a fashionable hair tie, and so I started working on the project.”
Muscato highlighted, however, that the idea was the easy part, making it happen, is where the real work started.
“In making a homemade prototype, I went through many rounds of trials,” explained Muscato. “I worked on using and looking at different materials, so it took time. And then once I was ready to launch the company, I started very small and I literally launched the brand out of my garage in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.”
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Muscato explained to Fox Business that launching Teleties was extremely challenging. She was working nonstop from her garage, had two young kids, and was bringing in friends to help her. Muscato, however, revealed that she never stopped believing in herself and in her idea.
“Really I think what it takes is just putting in the hard work, starting small, and believing in yourself,” said Muscato. “It was incredibly challenging and there were many times when I almost gave up, but if you believe it's a good idea, you can make it happen.”
Muscato’s perseverance paid off. Teleties outgrew Muscato’s two-car garage and moved into a 1,100-square-foot space. Now, Teleties headquarters is housed in a 12,000-square-foot location in Maitland, Florida, and Muscato said that the company is growing out of that one too.
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Muscato said she was fortunate in the way she was able to harness social media to grow brand awareness and maintain momentum.
“From the get-go, I wanted to have really great images, because I think that it’s really important to use social media to your advantage in a way that can sell products,” explained Muscato.
One of Muscato’s strategies involved reaching out to influencers like Ashley Brooke, a beauty and lifestyle blogger.
“I've known Lindsay for years, we actually met in the pre-Instagram era on Twitter!” recalled Brooke. “She ‘tweeted’ me and asked if I wanted to grab lunch. I said yes, and we've been close friends ever since…I helped her launch Teleties by sharing with my audience the first day the online shop was live. It was such a fun moment! I knew my readers would love them as much as I do.”
In addition to a strong social media strategy, Muscato underscored the importance of assembling a team that could excel in areas where she herself felt she was deficient.
“I try to bring on team members who fulfill my weaknesses and I trust my team,” said Muscato. “For example, knowing that I wasn’t a big operation and finance person, I asked one of my good friends to help me.”
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The friend who Muscato brought in was the current Teleties CFO/COO Trent Forquer.
“It has been an exhilarating experience being involved with the company from a very early stage,” said Forquer. “From helping drive the success of the business by ensuring the proper tools are in place, to managing the rapid growth; all the while keeping a close eye on the cash flow of the business.”
Forquer’s expertise has paid off in helping the growth of the company. He told Fox Business that Teleties is currently selling nearly as many hair ties per month as it did in all of the first year combined. In fact, Muscato said that the company sold 600,000 in year one and is on pace to sell 5.3 million Teleties in fiscal year 2019. She added that to date, the company has sold 7 million teleties.
While the company is in the green, it’s not all about the money for Muscato. Teleties is a give-back company that donates to FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). FORCE is a non-profit organization that aims toward improving the lives of people and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian and related cancers. It’s a company that is close to Muscato’s heart.
“My grandmother died at the age of 36 from breast cancer, and ten years ago my dad found out that he had the BRCA1 gene,” explained Muscato. “So it’s something that really touches home and I’m glad that I can help and organization that is literally saving lives.”
Muscato explained to Fox Business that Teleties is more than a product and she underscores that helping others is what motivates her every day.
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“I’m not just selling a product, I’m solving a problem,” said Muscato. “We’ve created something that’s fashionable, and truly believe that we have something that’s life-changing.”
Emily DeCiccio is a video producer and reporter with Fox News Digital Originals. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyDeCiccio