Covet & Mane Dafina Smith Hair Extensions
If you know nothing about hair extensions you’ve probably heard lust and mane.
Founded in 2019, this beauty brand has rocked the industry since its inception. Naturally. The world’s first line of customizable hand-tied hair extensions, Covet & Mane products give stylists unparalleled control over color and texture. With a patent-pending weft design, Covet & Mane extensions create the ultimate experience by blending seamlessly into your natural hair. They are the real deal.
This week we talked about everything lust and mane with founder Dafina Smith. From cutting-edge products to educational initiatives, learn how an industry innovator revolutionized the hair extension space.
Roots in the beauty industry
For Dafina, the beauty industry is fundamentally in her blood. “My hair journey started as a kid when my parents opened their first beauty supply store in Minneapolis,” she explains. “[S]he treated the store as the ultimate beauty classroom, teaching every employee (including me and my sisters) how to treat customers with respect and dignity while sharing his in-depth knowledge of the hair industry,” says Dafina. Growing up in such an exciting space sparked her passion for education and excellence in hair care.
The Importance of Practical Peer Education
Before launching in 2019, Dafina noticed a gap in the extension industry. “I have seen the transformational power of hand tied hair extensions when placed in the hands of a well trained craftsman, but there were many flaws in the multi-million dollar hair extension industry. dollars,” she said. “It was filled with difficult-to-use products, had distribution issues, and a lack of standardization in cosmetology school created a very hit-or-miss experience for clients and stylists alike.”
Dafina set out to revise these inconsistencies and drawbacks, focusing on “the belief that the quality of the hairdresser is just as important as the quality of the hair”. Because hair extensions aren’t taught in beauty schools, most stylists learn how to apply them in a one-day private class. Dafina sought to change this process with Covet & Mane’s “Covet Collective” and a slate of unique educational programs.
“I’ve always said I want Covet & Mane to be the ‘Chanel of Hair Extensions’ and that means focusing on comprehensive, hands-on, peer-led education and mentorship through the Covet Collective,” says Dafina. With an exclusive group of professional stylists, Dafina was able to “focus on the brand’s signature method while allowing stylists to invest in their own success.”
A flexible and customizable extension design
Covet & Mane’s patent-pending, hand-tied, cut-stitch weft design truly sets it apart from other hair extension manufacturers. With this seamless, customizable product, Dafina has taken a staple and elevated it.
“Hand-tied extensions offer a unique natural, invisible look,” says Dafina, “they are lighter, more flexible, cause less damage, and are easier to style than glue-on or tape-in extensions.” According to Dafina, this signature structure also allows clients and stylists to freely use hot hair products and tools without worrying about breaking ties. “Hand-tied extensions make it easy to customize extensions to fit each person’s head, but until we introduced Covet & Mane’s patent-pending cutstitch wefts, stylists had to use glue and other methods to secure hair and prevent shedding or fraying,” she continues. Really innovate here.
Vision, creativity and passion are the key to success
So what exactly goes into making it big in the beauty industry? “You don’t need investors, you don’t need a ton of seed money, you don’t need an MBA,” Dafina points out, “[y]ou need vision, creativity and passion. The first step to building a successful brand is to absolutely love your product…and then create action plans with timelines and benchmarks. And, as always, quality is paramount. “It’s so much easier to bring a product to market when you don’t skimp on quality because ultimately it will save you money when you generate sales through referrals and word of mouth” , explains Dafina.
A more inclusive future
In just two years, Cover & Mane has spurred serious change in the hair extension industry. But the beauty industry as a whole still has work to do. Especially when it comes to inclusive creative spaces for people of all hair types and textures.
“I would love to see our industry be able to serve the whole human experience, regardless of hair texture,” Dafina says. “It breaks my heart to hear women with curly, frizzy hair share their experience of feeling marginalized when they go to salons and are told stylists don’t know how to do their hair.” The industry should recognize that texture and diversity are the future, especially when it comes to curriculum. “I think to be fired, you should be able to do everyone’s hair,” Dafina says, “[o]ur profession is so magical that we shouldn’t let that hold us back. Covet & Mane certainly takes this message to heart.