A Flair for Hair
By Melissa Vogrin ’10 / Photography by Kate DeGroot '12
For CHRISTINE BARE ’11, time management is crucial. She is a full-time student, a single mother of three, an insurance agent, and she works at a local restaurant. She also recently began her own small business, LaDiDa Hairware.
Bare, 33, initially decided to return to school because of her kids, ages 8, 9, and 15. “I lead by example,” she said. “I want my kids to go to college, but how can I expect them to if I haven’t myself?” After attending Illinois Central College for a year and a half, she transferred to Bradley to pursue her bachelor’s in advertising. “I absolutely feel that what I am learning will make my business soar,” she said.
After Bare cut off 10 inches of her hair in September 2009, she searched to find a way to “add some flair back into it.” When she couldn’t find any headbands that appealed to her, she created her own. December 1, 2009, marked LaDiDa Hairware’s first official day of sales. Since then, Bare has sold about 50 headbands a month.
Bare handcrafts her one-of-a-kind, vintage-inspired headbands from antique earrings, bracelets, pins, pendants, and belt buckles that she picks up at estate sales or buys in bulk. “I started by just making them for me, but with the increasing interest about where I bought them, I went with the idea of selling them,” she explained. “First I just sold them to friends and family, and then I thought, ‘Hey, why not in hair salons?’ The rest is simple. It grew.”
Raised in Peoria, Bare knows the market, suppliers, and customers in the area. Her ability to connect with potential customers on a personal level has been integral to her success. “Networking has been key in getting my headbands into shops,” she said.
Passersby often stop Bare to comment on her hair flair, and she has seen women on campus wearing her headbands. Her goal is to supply headbands that are “attractive and affordable — the sort of price range that Bradley students can afford, and the styles they want to wear.”
Her products are sold in select salons and boutiques in Peoria, East Peoria, and Morton, and at trade shows in the area. Prices vary, but most are about $20. Bare also sells elastic hair bands and barrettes, and she designs wedding veils.
Though Bare doesn’t plan to open a LaDiDa Hairware store, she is currently looking at expanding the business nationally after graduation.