Perhaps you've heard of celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin. Maybe you follow her super addictive Instagram account. Or you've seen her on friend/client Kim Kardashian's feed. I'm sure, you're definitely familiar with her work styling her A-list clients, including Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba, the unapologetic Chrissy Teigen, and yes, K-Dash (or the entire Kardashian family, actually). And one more reason to know her name: Atkin recently launched her own all-things-hair online destination, Mane Addicts.
Way more than just a hair blog, Mane Addicts offers readers how-tos from Atkin's extensive list of clients and fellow celebrity hair stylists, shoppable content, ultra-handy city guides and stunning visuals, plus a daily newsletter. "I had clients who would tell me that they were looking on my Instagram for inspiration and I felt like [the popularity] was outgrowing my actual Instagram," Atkin told me over the phone about why she launched Mane Addicts. She also wanted to give her fellow stylists a platform to shine, too. "I wanted [the site] to showcase different hair artists who I think are amazing — and there are so many people I was inspired by — and my peers that I work with who aren’t so great with social media," she added. "I think that it’s a great way to get them the exposure that they need." You might recognize her friends/peers featured so far: Chris McMillan, Rita Hazan and Joey Malouf. The site is also mobile-enabled (for easy iPad views at the hair salon) and an app is in the works.
There really isn't another prettily packaged and professionally-backed hair site like Mane Addicts out there. Lauren Conrad's hair and make-up destination, The Beauty Department, might be the only site in a similar vein. "I just saw a white space in the marketplace," Atkin said. She considers her closest competitors to be hair vloggers on YouTube. "I call them the Towel Bar Stylists," she laughed. "Videos with the girls in the bathroom doing their hair, which I think is amazing, but I also felt like we need to showcase some people that are actual professional artists."
Of course, it also helps that Mane Addicts is under the umbrella of Clique Media, home to celebrity fashion site Who What Wear and beauty online destination Byrdie. "My good friends Hillary [Kerr] and Katherine [Power] at Who What Wear have been so amazing," she said. "They have been pushing me for years to finally do a hair website." (Byrdie and Mane Addicts join forces for collaborative posts, too.) The Clique Media backing gives Mane Addicts access to its established social media reach and reader following, plus expertise in the business side of things, including affiliate marketing. "They’ve been really amazing because they’ve helped us to skip six months of torture," Atkin laughed. "Because we’re writers and hair stylists. We don’t know too much about the tech world, so they’ve had amazing people who have helped us to build the actual website."
Right now, Mane Addicts counts three writers in addition to founder Atkin (and will soon look for interns, so keep an eye out, kids) — and is self-funded. "There’s not much overhead," she said. "The writers and everybody, I’ve been paying myself." Once the affiliate marketing revenues start paying off and her staff grows, Atkin said she'll consider moving everyone into an actual office.
Atkin's business plan involves income streams outside of affiliate marketing and ad sales. Mane Addicts will host professional workshops featuring fellow celebrity and editorial stylists in three major markets: New York, Los Angeles and Dubai (where Atkin visits a few times a year to work out of the Belle Femme salon). "We actually have a really great platform to start training workshops with celebrity stylists: Harry Josh who does Miranda Kerr’s hair, and Adir Abergel and Mark Townsend, and all these people that are so talented," Atkin explained. Also in the works: a headpiece collaboration with hair accessory brand Lelet NY. "We might be possibly doing a book in 2016 with categories of hair for different occasions and we’re talking to an extension company about some hair extensions," she added.
But don't think Atkin is all about making Mane Addicts a platform to grow her own brand. "I just want to make sure that it doesn’t come off as my site," she said. "It’s not about me. I’m trying to actually get into the shadows so it can be its own entity." The site has its own Instagram account, @ManeAddicts, boasting nearly 62,000 followers and counting.
That said, in the early stages of launching Mane Addicts, Atkin did call in a few favors from her pretty famous and very supportive clients. Hence, top hair product picks from model Jessica Stam, an intimate chat with Chrissy Teigen and lots of click bait-y Kardashian coverage, including an exclusive interview with momager Kris Jenner. But not all her clients were happy about their inclusion on Mane Addicts — or lack thereof, rather.
"Khloe Kardashian was throwing a fit because she came to our Mane Addicts party and we hadn't yet featured her," Atkin laughed. "She was like, 'I can’t believe I came and realized that you featured Kendall and my mom and you haven’t featured me!' So we did a really big feature on her right before Thanksgiving."