You've probably seen It's A 10 haircare products vibrant colors pop off the shelves at your local beauty shops, but did you know a Latina is the face behind the cult-craze brand. Carolyn Aronson created the haircare line due to her personal frustration with brands producing too many products with single false claims benefits.
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The beauty entrepreneur has been resilient since the beginning of her life as she was adopted by an American family, and spent over 20 years as a hairstylist before hitting the labs to create magic for our locks. Eleven years later, Aronson vision has stood the same as she continues to produce new collections targetting every day hair needs everyone faces. From her #1 product Miracle Leave-In to creating a line exclusively for men, it's safe to say this Latina knows what she's doing.
As the creator and CEO for the brand, the Puerto Rican beauty has dedicated her life to philanthropy by giving back to the communities which have supported It’s a 10 Haircare. Some of the programs and charities shes partnered with are Right Action for Women (Christina Applegate’s Breast Cancer Foundation), Boys and Girls Club, Red Cross America, and more.
It's A 10's goal is to provide everyone with salon-quality results in just one bottle. The collections are sold in over 25,000 professional salons and between 10,000 and 15,000 chains such as Ulta, Regis and The Salons at J.C. Penney. We caught up with CEO and Owner of It’s a 10 Haircare, Carolyn Aronson on being adopted, her hair-story, and inspiring advice to future beauty entrepreneur. Read it all in the exclusive interview below.
Bring your creativity, figure out what it is our industry is lacking, and be ready to invest in yourself. -Carolyn Aronson
Founder, CEO and Owner of It’s a 10 Haircare
Tell us a little bit about your hair stories/ history.
I've had my hand in hair for thirty-four years now. I was a stylist behind the chair for over 20 years. Then a salon owner and migrated into hair product manufacturing. I've pretty much lived and breathed hair in many different phases in my life.
How did you come up with the name, It's A 10?
You know when I actually tested the products I'd rate them. And I wouldn't settle until they were a 10/10, which means they're the best. It came from that cliché phrase and my partners were into the name as well. It was a collaboration between a way to not only obviously let people know we make the best products cause they're all a 10, but to let them know how multifunctional they are. They do 10 different things, and I wanted to create something that was simple, easy for everybody to understand. Because let's face it we're not all hairdressers and consumers get overwhelmed with everything out on the market.
It's Hispanic heritage month, and I did read you were adopted. Did you ever feel like you had to be a little bit more Latina because Americans raised you? Did they encourage your roots?
I didn't necessarily feel I had to be more Latina, I think that I was. My parents made choices that would put me in environments where I would feel comfortable. And I’m really appreciative of that. They made sure we had some Latinos in our lives, even though there were none near the area I grew up in. So we joined a soccer team and because that was one way to find Latino. All the coaches were Hispanic, and we would hang around them and their families. My mother made the conscious effort to see a family doctor that was Latino too. Just the little things, we don't always think about. I later found out that I was full Puerto Rican and I was one of twelve children.
Did your parents exposing you to the Latino culture impact your passion behind making women feel more comfortable in their skin/hair?
My passion and fire run deep through my veins, my blood, there’s no doubt about that. The culture itself is a very passion, love, and color. My creativity for making women feel beautiful is one of the reasons I love being Latina. Just making people feel more attractive was always a goal of mine; the creativity I think it has a lot to do with my culture as well. Connecting with my Latin background help me create the packaging for all of my products!
You launched it was a 10 almost 10 years ago. What has been the most pivotal moment up to date?
Wow, Within the professional hair care industry, recently I expanded distribution on levels that a lot of brands haven’t reached yet. We entered into the most significant distribution avenues within our industry, and we ended up doing them. We expanded into both of the largest two distributors in the world. And what was amazing about it is we were received with open arms by both distributors. And sometimes when you do that, one distributor may get upset. They can come back saying "Oh you’re going to go be with the other guys, I’m not going to support the brand, or I want exclusivity or not at all." Luckily it all worked out for me, which usually never happens. We were so excited because America loves It’s A 10 products. There’s plenty of avenues to get the product into people’s hands and they’re all just really excited about it. And like Sally Fields said, when she won her award, “They love me, they really, really love me.” And I’m really kind of shocked by that sometimes, and it's very surreal.
What advice would you give to women who are currently looking to dive into the product creation side of the business?
Here are a few tools to keep in your back pocket. If you think you're going to be too bland or you're just going to create more of what's already out there, it's not going to work. Bring your creativity, figure out what it is our industry is lacking, and be ready to invest in yourself. Figure out what you could create and bring and market differently to the public that only you have the power to do. For me, I stood behind the chair for 20 years and wondered why aren't there products out there which are both easy to use and read. It affected me personally, and I made it my mission to see the solution through.
My daughter feels she has pelo malo. She often says Mami I want your silky hair but I tell her to embrace her naturally curly hair. I find it funny that we usually want what we don't have, and I always wished I myself could have curly hair. Over the years, I've learned to love my hair the way it is, and I am so proud of the natural hair movement as well. Because there are so many amazing products today, especially my collection, the masks and the Leave-ins that create, I remember Gabrielle Union saying "For the first time in my life I’ve been reunited with my roots because I can grow my own hair with Miracle Leave-in Product". When you invest in your hair, you’d be surprised at how beautiful it can really be.