This interview is featured in Total Retail’s fourth annual Game Changers report. (Total Retail is a sister brand of Women in Retail Leadership Circle.) The Game Changers report highlights the entrepreneurs and startup businesses that are disrupting the traditional retail industry, whether it be through digital innovation, unique product, enhancements to the supply chain, or a multitude of other ways. Madison Reed, the name of company founder Amy Errett’s daughter, offers women the opportunity to make luxurious, at-home hair color with healthy ingredients. In addition to selling its products via an e-commerce website, Madison Reed has recently expanded offline with the opening of in-store Color Bars. For the full interview with Amy, as well as the profiles of the other Game Changers, download the report today!

FYI: Amy Errett will be a keynote speaker at next year’s Women in Retail Leadership Summit (April 29-May 1, 2019). Check out the Summit’s website for more information, and register today!

Total Retail: What was the “aha moment” when you realized you might have a successful business?
Amy Errett: I’d say the aha moment was when we formulated our color and applied it on 14 women in a friend’s salon on a Friday night. Thirteen of them were over-the-top thrilled with it. So the aha moment was when I saw how good our product was and what it was like for real women to experience it.

But one woman — my college roommate and dear friend — wasn’t as happy, and it became strikingly clear that this is about emotion. Think about it: If you go online to buy a pair of shoes and you don’t like them, you might be annoyed, but you put them back in the box, return them, no one knows, and life goes on. But the prospect of someone altering your hair in a way that you’re unhappy with? We can’t get it wrong. Madison Reed, as a brand, has to stand for authenticity and integrity, which is why we offer a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.

So that Friday night, I had the aha moment of it’s awesome … and the aha moment of not so awesome. I came to the realization of what’s at stake for her.

TR: How are you planning to scale your business?
AE: Four ways: first, gaining more customers and subscribers to the online business. Second, product innovation through things like Light Works, our new ammonia-free balayage highlighting kit. Third, increasing our wholesale business in Ulta Beauty. Lastly, we’re going from two Madison Reed Color Bars that are open right now to 25 company-owned stores by the end of 2019.

TR: Tell us about your leadership style.
AE: I truly believe that if you invest in people — if you lead with love, not fear — the payback is amazing. My leadership style is to empower people to live out their genius, aspire to do so much more than they thought they could, and to love their job. Have professional growth, personal growth and, hopefully, we’ll give them financial growth.

TR: What’s your forecast for the retail industry? In 2019, what should retailers be preparing their businesses for?
AE: I don’t think you can run your business with a single channel anymore. Call it “omnichannel” if you will, but whatever the term is, you must be able to meet customers where they are. Our customers live online, primarily on their phone, but they’re not going to stop visiting physical stores. I don’t subscribe to the theory that retail is dead. I think a certain kind of retail has to reinvent itself.