Rebecca McCann is a self-taught, self-made entrepreneur. Rebecca launched Pro Blo Group in November 2014, initially operating from her mum’s kitchen with a plan to sell her hair tool on eBay however Ebay never happened, instead, Rebecca launched her brand into Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales, Sainsbury’s, and other stores across the globe. The brand is loved worldwide and boasts an organic cult following across social media. With distribution in the UK, USA UAE, and Russia Rebecca continues to expand her business at rapid growth. Lockdown brought a new project, that quickly developed into SLEEP London and Rebecca is following a similar strategy to grow the brand globally. Rebecca firmly believes in her mantra: Say ‘YES’ and make it happen!
What is Pro Blo?
Pro Blo is a detachable hair tool that allows you to create gorgeous salon perfect hair at home. It really is that simple! Our kits include multiple brush heads that attach to the handle, the brush heads are ceramic coated meaning they heat quickly and cool slowly allowing the hair to cool around the brush barrel. That’s the secret! It is whilst your hair cools that the curl is locked in.
What was the catalyse behind launching Pro Blo?
We live in a busy world and often we don’t have the time, or the budget to go for a salon blow dry. I would always spend Saturday mornings getting a blow dry but when i took on my mortgage and started budgeting i realised that it really was a luxury that i couldn’t afford. I craved the confidence boost a fresh blow dry gave me and using hot irons was so damaging to my hair. Pro Blo was born through the love of a good blow dry and living on a budget! Gone are the days of saving a salon blow dry for special occasions, Pro Blo literally makes the impossible possible! With a one off purchase you can give yourself a salon blow at home every single day if you choose.
What is a typical day like for you as an entrepreneur at the moment?
Honestly, it depends on the day. I really try to split my schedule between working in the business and working on the business. As a start up continuing to scale, it’s definitely a hard balance to find, but it is key to continuing our growth. A lot of my time is spent overseeing the operation and working with our global distributors to ensure logistically we are always ahead of where we need to be. One thing I am really conscious of is cutting out anything in my schedule that doesn’t need me. Although I am still very heavily involved in our marketing strategies and roll out, this is more because I love the creative aspect of building a brand, for me, that is the most exciting piece of the puzzle.
Who is the most influential female entrepreneur that you admire and why?
I look up to so many incredible female entrepreneurs. I feel so fortunate to be living right now, in a world full of opportunity. For me, Sara Blakely is the epitome of success, her business has achieved phenomenal success, her openness to share her story and be so real with it is inspiring. From Founder of Spanx heading up board meetings, to serving up her kids pancakes, to triathlons, to mentoring young women and showing it all. The highs, lows and the reality that even at the height of success she is just a woman trying to balance it all and grab life with two hands.
What solid words advice can you offer to others who are looking to launch a start up in the retail space?
Do it at the right time. Pro Blo grew very quickly, and ultimately that was our biggest problem. Pro Blo launched into Selfridges within 3 months, this gave the brand instant credibility and catapulted the trust ability element as a new e-commerce brand which was amazing. It was a huge moment and very quickly other retailers followed, but going into retail has a significant impact on your cash flow. There are a lot of hidden costs such as; deliveries, specific barcodes/ labels, marketing rebates, returns and so on. The profit margins per item will decrease and then you have payment terms that can be anything from payment 2,3 or sometimes 6 months after stock is received. As a start up business with little cashflow it can be crippling to replenish stock volumes with huge payment delays. When you hide away from the world for months building your business, so many what if’s in your mind, constantly, then you launch and huge names come knocking it feels impossible to do anything but shout yes and sign the contract but tell yourself this: if they want you today they will want you in six months. Do it at the right time, for you!
What has been the most challenging yet rewarding barrier you faced and how did you overcome it whilst building Pro Blo?
Honestly, for me learning to say no. Anyone who risks it all and goes all in on their vision, is a yes person, or so i thought. Truth is, saying no is equally as powerful. When opportunities came in the early days of Pro Blo i wanted to say yes to it all, looking back i was most likely subconsciously scared if i said no the opportunity wouldn’t come round again. Pro Blo was a small independent new business with just me! Full transparency i didn’t have staff for almost a year, i did it all. So when you are all in you need it to work. Saying no felt like i was doubting Pro Blo, so i said yes and rolled with the punches. In reality, and i say this today with experience, I never needed to roll with the punches, I could have said no, I should have said no and progressed on my terms in my time frame. Would I go back and change it? No way! No regrets because at the time, every decision i made i wholeheartedly believed was the right decision.
Which 3 marketing tools are you currently using and do how they support your every day business functionality?
My favourite thing to do is scroll #ProBlo on instagram, honestly! It is flooded with real customers creating real content and shouting about it on their social media feeds. Does marketing get much better? User generated content is a huge element of Pro Blo’s social strategy and has been since day one. Our customers are just the best, we build relationships, we respond to every single comment and DM, with over 500,000 followers across our socials that is a huge commitment but it is one we will never waiver from. Our customers are single handedly Pro Blo’s biggest marketing tool. The hype around being reposted on our feeds keeps the content coming and I don’t know who is more obsessed, our customers or us!
As a brand we really try to keep all are marketing really authentic and organic so currently Tik Tok is proving huge in our space and sits perfectly next to our social channels already heavily active.
We drive our reach more through ads as opposed to influencer marketing, just because for us to pay someone to say they love the brand feels very uncomfortable. If an influencer uses Pro Blo and loves it then great we will work together but being transparent and real is key. Within our ad’s we will use customers’ content/ reviews and funnel SEO is key to ensure we capture our target audience too.
How are you working on your own personal development?
I am always split between a book and a podcast, I just love learning, it’s the inner geek in me! Although I don’t know where this inner geek was back when I was in school! I am also really passionate about working out, now when i say passionate i had never lifted a dumbbell in my life until eighteen months ago. Pro Blo had been a constant from the day I decided to go for it, 19 hour days every single day, yes, even Christmas. I was just obsessed with making it work and be the best it could be. With that came very sedentary days, junk food, sugary drinks, little sleep – all the elements for an unhealthy lifestyle and my weight rocketed. I read a quote on instagram one Sunday: sacrifice your health for wealth and your wealth won’t fix your health. That really resonated with me, almost like a switch being flicked. In that moment I made a commitment that I came first, to be the best entrepreneur, the best boss, the best daughter, partner, friend, dog momma, I have to be the best version of me. So i move everyday, walk or train but doing it is non negotiable. There is something so powerful about leaving it all on the gym floor in the morning to set your attitude for the day ahead. That one hour in the gym i am not the CEO, i am not on my phone, watching emails, checking social I am focused purely on being the best i can be and i think that then transitions into my day, my life, my business.
How have you navigated around COVID-19 and how has it impacted you professionally?
I think it’s safe to say COVID has had a significant impact across most, if not all businesses. Fortunately as an e-commerce based business we have been able to pivot the team to work from home really effectively, something I am super grateful for. Lockdowns are tough and everyone is handling it in their own way, the truth is there is no right way to muddle through a global pandemic, right? So it’s been really important to keep our team communicating, focused and feeling secure in their positions. For me, that has been a huge focus. Operationally we have faced significant delays with logistics moving freight around the globe from manufacturer to distributors, retailers and warehousing, the only way to handle this is to just continue to be transparent and really clear, and make plan F (Plan A, B, C, D & E were exhausted in lockdown 1!). I think there also comes a point where we have to accept that in this situation some things are out of our control, and learn to be ok with that, I am certainly still learning this one.
How are you looking to scale and grow Pro Blo throughout 2021?
The focus for 2021 is to continue to scale and drive the brand to our current global markets and additional regions. Our wet product line is coming back due to demand so that is really exciting and we have a much anticipated collaboration launching in Summer which i am literally counting down the days too. The number one goal; keep changing the game one blow-dry at a time!!