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How Covet and Mane Is Rethinking Hair Extensions

The company, which sold more than $2 million of inventory in two months, is focused on fostering professional hairstylists.

A new company aims to bring conversation of hair extensions back to the craft.

Covet and Mane is a beauty newcomer specializing in professionally applied hand-tied hair extensions. Founded by Dafina Smith, a former real estate agent and buyer at Bloomingdale’s, the company came to market in August and has already won over a fanbase of beauty insiders.

Within two months of launch, Covet and Mane had sold more than $2 million of inventory. It currently has 800 active accounts, the majority of which are salons, and plans to double that number in 2020.

The immediate success of the company, said Smith, is a result of relationships fostered with professional hairstylists, who make up its Covet Collective. An emphasis on education — e.g., the proper installment of hair extensions — is another differentiator, as many brands choose to sell extensions designed to be self-applied, though not long-lasting.

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Dafina Smith, founder of Covet and Mane. Derrick Davis

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“Hair extensions are one of the fastest-growing parts of the hair world, but they’re not taught in beauty school,” said Smith. “We wanted to align and partner with providers who are focusing on hands-on certification and training and vetting the Covet Collective. It’s by application only. We look at how trained are you, who trained you, your client photos. We want to see that you know what you’re doing. Our hair is only as good as the stylists who install them for you.

“Most hair extensions, no matter how much you spend, look great the day you put them in,” she added. “The value in extensions comes in the longevity, how long you’re able to keep it in.”

Covet and Mane’s extensions are hand-tied, which makes them lighter and more flexible than other kinds of extensions. Made from 100 percent Remy human hair, the extensions are double-drawn, silicone-free, uncoated, blue-based and designed to be cut and tailored to the client’s head without unraveling.

Smith felt it important to align Covet and Mane with education partners that go beyond a simple one-day training program. These measures, she said, empower the stylist, who is then apt to better satisfy the end-user.

“We have found people who do pre-training, so before you come, they’ve said, ‘These are the things I want you to practice,'” said Smith. “They have you do in-person, hands-on, two- to three-day training, [followed by] having you come back after three months to the salon to shadow. We have another partner that uses technology, so she’ll watch you installing on your client — you have to upload all of your work. Those stylists who invest in education are so much more confident and they tend to do really well.”

For 2020, Smith is focused on expanding Covet and Mane’s accounts and customization options for both color and texture.

“The next place we’re looking, and I’m personally very excited about, is expanding through texture,” she said. “Hand-tied hair is even better for people with texture. That’s the future to me: a much more inclusive and encompassing brand.”

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