Madison Reed founder Amy Errett doesn’t care if it sounds hippie-dippy, her business philosophy is based on love. “I’m a little bit California and we are pretty spiritual out here,” she says, before explaining that encouragement and trust rather than fear guide her leadership style. That style has served her well. As she’s helped others, so have others helped her. Among the investors who have poured $16 million into the online hair-color company is Maveron, the venture firm cofounded by Howard Schultz. (Errett ran its Bay Area office for nearly five years.) As an openly gay woman entrenched in venture circles, just about every female- and gay-related startup has come across Errett’s desk, not that she minds. “People need to be who they are, be comfortable in their own skin and pay it forward. That is the sweet spot,” she says. Well, that and a good dye job. Errett believes the model she has created for Madison Reed will make buying hair color on the Web as common a practice as online stock trading became thanks to eTrade, where she served as chief asset-gathering officer. “The days of thinking people don’t do these things online are over,” she says.
This story first appeared in the March 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.