Mompreneur Rockstar Interview with Megan Gage the creator of Hot Tot, a toxin free children’s hair care line
Hello momprenistas, It has been a long crazy month for me with relocating to a new home and office, planning summer vacation, and getting prepared for the new school year. But there is no better way to get back on track other than with a mompreneur interview. Today’s guest was introduced to me by our previous guest Stacy Harfert creator of The Bobee. Thank you, Stacy!
Meet Megan Gage the creator of Hot Tot. Hot Tot is a hair care product line that was created for babies and children in mind. Her hair care line is not like any other. Read on to learn more about Megan, her products, and how her products are impacting children today.
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a wife and mom with two kiddos. My son (Christian) is 4 and my daughter (Jaiden) is 13. I always think of myself as a social worker, though I guess that isn’t really the case anymore since I haven’t had an official job in years. I live in Colorado and can’t imagine being anywhere else.
How did Hot Tot begin?
Hot Tot was born shortly after my son in 2009. As his hair grew in, I began mixing baby lotion with pomade to give him a small curl on top of his head. Much to my surprise, moms went crazy for the look. I instructed others on how they could duplicate his simple hairstyle while out and about with my family (grocery store, mall, restaurants, etc.). After 50+ random q & a sessions, I jokingly told my husband that someone would be brilliant to create a hair product just for infants (with NO intention of being that “someone”). Having seen the enthusiasm women had for my son’s style, my husband encouraged me to pursue product development. I wasn’t very motivated to start a new project, as I had recently quit my full time job (as a renal social worker) to be a stay-at-home mom. Shortly after, I stumbled upon an article that outlined the toxins commonly used in mainstream personal care products made for kids. I was horrified, though my disgust quickly turned to passion which ultimately fueled my drive to build a safe and chic haircare line for babies and children.
Are your products suitable for all children’s hair types?
Like skin, hair changes throughout the lifespan. Strands most often become heavier between the ages 8 and 10 and my products are most effective when used on immature hair. Hot Tot is a professional line and we’re frequently involved with kid’s fashion shows, editorial work, and ad campaigns. This involvement has enabled my team to use the products on hundreds of kiddos of various age, hair type and ethnicity. We have found that some products are best suited for certain structural characteristics though have something useful for everyone. For example, our shampoo and conditioner are absolute magic on fine hair. Our Structure Whip is popular on coarse hair and our Sweet Pea Serum is a favorite of moms with curly haired kiddos. The products don’t perform well on mature strands (adults), though we’ve also learned that a lot of people recovering from cancer are using Hot Tot. After chemotherapy and radiation, hair grows back in very soft and fine (similar to a child’s). These folks appreciate our toxin free formulas, and it feels really good to give them a safe option.
How can your products benefit children in need?
As I said before, my social work roots are near and dear to my heart. Hot Tot was created to improve the lives of kiddos by offering safe (toxin free) products that promote a healthy self-image. We also like to support organizations that benefit kids and often send donations for various events. Our ability to give will improve as we grow and succeed, though this is an important part of my brand’s identity.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced with developing your Hot Tot products?
In the beginning, I struggled to build a team of cosmetic industry experts since people didn’t think I was capable of building a successful company. Many didn’t want to work with me. Initially, I trusted the wrong people (likely because my options were limited). Those mistakes, however, helped me build what I believe is one of the best teams in the beauty industry. I realize the value of the people who have dedicated their time and talents to furthering my dream and am really honored to work with them. That which does not kill us…
What was your most rewarding experience you have had with Hot Tot?
I pursued a career in social work because I wanted to have a positive impact on the world. Oddly enough, Hot Tot has provided an opportunity to do just that (without having to sit in rush hour traffic)! Our success is orienting a whole new group of parents to the concept of healthy products while showing buyers that they can work well and still look pretty on a shelf. This concept bothers some because it is different from what’s worked before though there is a much larger group who has embraced the combination. I have developed wonderful friendships with customers who have reached out to share their story. It always touches my heart to connect with a mom who has embraced my brand. I hear stories of struggles to find a shampoo that a child with sensitive skin can tolerate and answer lots of questions about how I turned an idea into a company. These interactions are the most enjoyable part of my day. I feel honored to have people use my products on their precious kiddos. I know how protective good moms often are.
What advice can you offer moms who are wanting to develop their own product?
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by endless details. A big job feels a smaller when you focus on smaller aspects rather than the whole giant task. After appearing on Shark Tank, I considered a lot of opportunities that didn’t fit my original business plan. While it is important to how and when to pivot if things aren’t working, I think it’s equally valuable to trust your instinct. I declined opportunity with a big box retailer and felt some anxiety about my decision. However, my husband advised me to “pick your horse and ride it out”. I have held on to this, as it brought me peace. Right or wrong, I will sleep good as an old lady knowing that I followed my heart. There is peace and power when we give ourselves the freedom to make mistakes.
About Hot Tot
Hot Tot offers the only complete professional hair product collection that was formulated for the structural uniqueness of immature (kid’s) hair. We offer a full line of specialized products designed to cleanse, condition and style. Our formulas omit any ingredient proven to be harmful to humans (parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, etc.) and are hypoallergenic. Our signature scent was inspired by the Cabbage Patch Doll, a unique element that moms tend to love.
Hot Tot has been featured on various websites and magazines including ABC’s Shark Tank (a popular business themed reality TV show).
Connect with Megan
Interested in being featured in your very own Mompreneur Rockstars interview? Click here for more details and you too can have your own interview featured on Mompreneur Media just like Megan Cage creator of Hot Tot did!