As a hairstylist, Carolyn Aronson knew her clients’ frustration with not finding a multipurpose product with simple ingredients. So in 2006, she hung up her stylist apron and founded It’s a 10 Haircare and its signature Miracle Leave-In product, and built a multinational brand that has gone all the way to the Super Bowl.
Aronson’s love for hair started early. At age 8, she began changing her own hairstyle for fun. “This change was instantly empowering,” she said, “and I felt how hair could make someone feel better about themselves.” She started working at age 13 in a doctor’s office, graduated high school early and enrolled in beauty school. To build up her clientele, she “mailed out thousands of free service coupons” and booked extra appointments on nights and weekends.
Aronson spent over 20 years as a stylist and ran her own salon before launching It’s a 10. She and her previous husband both invested $40,000 in her mission to create an affordable product that offered 10 benefits in one bottle, versus having multiple products cluttering up the bathroom counter.
Just a little over a decade after its founding, It’s a 10 became the first independently owned hair care brand to run a national Super Bowl spot in 2017—which was also the year Aronson became sole owner of her company. In November 2020, she added Be a 10 Cosmetics to her empire, and this July, It’s a 10 launched a new line called Coily Miracle for textured hair with its first-ever celebrity brand ambassador, singer Justine Skye.
“I believe that prioritizing and perseverance are big secrets to success,” said Aronson, who also found time to have her second child at age 54 earlier this year. “It’s crucial for you to learn how to prioritize and manage your time along with having the perseverance to always find a way to make your goals a reality.”
For salon owners, a cancellation can mean no money. “I learned to double book clients in order to make the most of my time at the salon,” she explained. “Time is money; manage it well.”
“I found the best salon I could and the best hairdressers to learn from, apprenticing until I was given a chair. My mentors were key as their creativity inspired me to be better.”
How she got the gig
Working as a hairdresser, Aronson had the insider knowledge of what her clients wanted. Once she had the product—which took “years of trial and error”—her focus turned to “good quality and building awareness through creative marketing techniques like sampling.”
“Prepare for the opportunities that may come your way by being there already and when people expect it least,” Aronson advised. “Be a well-deserving option for the people making the choices.”