While you might use a hair elastic almost every day, the only thought that goes into restocking your stash is buying the biggest, cheapest pack you can find at the nearest drugstore. Because when you lose or break elastics more often than you wash your hair in a week, splurging on fancy ones you’ve seen on your favorite celebrity or beauty expert on Instagram never seems worth it.
That’s exactly why Cassandra Thurswell created Kitsch, a line of elevated, affordable, and essential hair accessories, including hair ties and on-trend rhinestone snap clips, and satin scrunchies.
Thurswell was inspired by her experiences growing up in a small, rural town in Wisconsin. She loved all of the fashion trends she used to see in the magazines she read, but none of the items were ever available at the few stores she could drive to, nor were they affordable.
While Kitsch may have started with $30,000 Thurswell saved up, and the fabric hair ties she made on her couch in her LA apartment, the brand is now a full-fledged line of accessories including shower caps, microfiber towel scrunchies, and satin pillowcases, which all help you take better care of your hair.
On top of the essentials, Kitsch is also known for its wildly successful collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan. The first collection of rhinestone word hair pins went viral on social media and played a huge role in kickstarting the hair clip revival.
Here, Thurswell shares why aspiring business owners should never give up, how elevating your haircare accessories can help improve your hair, and so much more.
Tell me a bit about your journey starting Kitsch?
Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, I would read so many magazines and my reality was so different from what I saw in them. I loved fashion and admired all of the ideas I would read about in these magazines, but everything was unaffordable. At the same time, I used to find ways to create my own little businesses to make money. So, I’ve always felt like an entrepreneur and I knew I wanted to be a business owner. When I started Kitsch, I thought about how the fashion I saw in magazines felt so unattainable because my options were so limited in the stores I could drive to. So, with Kitsch, I strive to make everyday products women use like hair ties, spa headbands, and shower caps feel like a fun, exciting purchase.
You started so many businesses that didn’t take off before Kitsch. What drove you to never give up?
I had around seven businesses in total, including spray tanning, cleaning houses, doing prom makeup, and a jewelry company. My strategy was do anything that would make me money, and I’m grateful for all of the failed attempts because they all taught me something about running a business. I would get defeated, but I knew I had the grit to keep going, along with a level of unwavering resilience that completely blinded me from the reality of my situation. After the jewelry company, I knew I wanted to start another business so I saved $30,000 to fund it, which felt like a lot of money at the time. Just months after starting Kitsch and making the hair ties, a product that felt authentic to me, the sales came in quickly — and the money ran out too. My secret to running a business is to constantly change, try new things, and know that things will always get better. The difference with Kitsch is that I finally found my authentic voice, and it was a combination of going back to my roots as a small town girl and creating a quality, stylish product that she can afford.
Your hair clip collaboration with Justine Marjan helped kick-start the hair accessory trend that took over the beauty industry and social media. What made them so popular?
Justine is just as much of a business woman as she is a hairstylist. She has access to the biggest celebrities and is the one providing them with amazing looks. Kitsch’s aesthetic is super wearable, uncomplicated, and accessible. The collaboration was especially successful because we blended these two approaches to hair. We were able to design hair accessories that make you feel like you got your hair done by Justine when you put them on. You look like you have a glam squad, but really you just put a snap clip in your hair. Not to mention, with all of the waist-up imagery on social media, there’s more of a focus on hair and our accessories just stand out so well.
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Why did expanding into lifestyle accessories feel like a natural progression for Kitsch?
When I started Kitsch, I didn’t want to strictly be a hair accessories brand: I wanted to elevate everyday essentials. When we first launched the hair ties, we saw how excited women got about an elevated version of a simple product they always use. So, we stared thinking about what else our customers were asking for. They love haircare and trust us with their elastics, so how could we update all those little things these women use in their routines? What pillowcase do they sleep on? What towel do they use when they get out of the shower? The response to all of the different categories we’ve leaned into has been incredible.
What are some of the benefits of using these elevated versions of haircare accessories like satin pillowcases and microfiber scrunchies for anyone who’s staying away from salons during the pandemic?
For me personally, I haven’t blow-dried my hair in four months and using some of these accessories have helped me get back in touch with my natural hair texture and color. I love beauty products to the extreme, but there is something to be said about getting back to your roots — no pun intended — and figuring out who you are and returning to products that support that. I love our towel scrunchie because it’s perfect for pulling your hair back when you’re air-drying it so you don’t get any drips on your shirt. I find myself not washing my hair as often or using as much heat on it, so I’ve been using the shower cap to extend my last shampoo and the satin pillowcase to protect from bedhead. I’ve seen my hair texture completely change. My curls are back and I love it.
BonBon Hair Ties
While Kitsch’s first-ever product does instantly dress up any ponytail, the design is also practical. Since the fabric doesn’t create as much tension on hair as traditional elastics, you’re less prone to breakage when tying your hair up with one. Choose from classic black or eye-catching patterns like the polka dots, stripes and sparkles in this five-piece set.
To buy: $8/5; mykitsch.com.
Kitsch X Justine Marjan Rhinestone DAMN Bobby Pin
Instead of keeping mood to yourself, this rhinestone word hair clip from Kitsch’s collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Justine Marjan lets your hair do the talking. Take the “Damn” bobby pin, which perfectly sums up our feelings about this year.
To buy: $20; sephora.com.
Leopard Microfiber Towel Scrunchies
Sure, air-drying your hair is less damaging than using hot tools, but it can be a lengthy process for anyone with thick or long hair. That’s where these microfiber towel scrunchies come in. Pulling your hair up will prevent it from getting the back of your shirt wet, while the fabric helps to speed up drying and prevent frizz.
To buy: $14; ulta.com.
Kitsch X Justine Marjan Rhinestone Stacker 8PC Set
Maybe you’ve realized that being forced to spend all of this time at home is the perfect opportunity to grow out your bangs. This set of bobby pins will keep your grown-out bangs out of your eyes — and look good doing it. Or, you can stick them wherever else for an instantly blingy style.
To buy: $29; mykitsch.com.
Satin Sleep Set in Blush
The recipe for a good night’s sleep is a coordinating satin pillowcase, scrunchie, and sleep mask set. The soft fabric is said to absorb less moisture and be more gentle on your hair and skin, minimizing split ends and sleep lines.
To buy: $36; ulta.com.
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