Leah Kay Krabbenhoft
Founder and CEO
Location: Arvada, CO
Slippery, shoddy headbands. That was the inspiration for Leah Kay Krabbenhoft’s hair accessories business, Soulvation, which was launched by a $300 investment and bad headbands and is now on track to do $10 million in revenue this year.
As Krabbenhoft tells it, she made headbands part of her personal uniform while pursuing her master’s degree to keep her hair up and prevent her from looking like “a total disaster.” She cycled through generic and boring headbands, some with poor fabric or tacky prints or that slid off her head too often or created headaches. “It was almost like the universe was telling me to take them off. Finally, putting the matter into my own hands, I pulled out my mom’s sewing machine and started making headbands for myself,” she said. “I decided to build a headband brand. But not just any headband brand. The best headband brand.”
Seven years and millions of dollars of revenue later, she’s well on her way.
Soulvation aims to be the leader in hair accessories, with plans to expand its line of hair ties and carve out a niche in the sports accessory arena. Other goals include breaking into the big box space with hair accessories and eventually, clothing. Soulvation also intends to donate $500,000 in headbands within five years, to achieve its philanthropic goals.
As her business grew, Krabbenhoft said she struggled to learn how to hand off tasks. “It can be hard to let go,” she admitted. “Once you find your key players who do these tasks better than you can and you can start to focus on growing, that’s where the magic happens. I held onto all the hats for longer than I needed to, and it hindered our growth. I’m happy to say we now have a solid, hard-working team that crushes it better than I could have imagined.”
Krabbenhoft took no investor money and built Soulvation into a $5 million operation in less than five years, and the business continues to grow. What sets it apart, the company said, is its focus on quality and fashion. Most headbands and hair ties, the company points out, are sold at big-box stores and produced in mass to maintain margin. And the quality, or lack of it, shows. Soulvation produces a luxury-level product that loyal customers continue to demand.
Next on Krabbenhoft’s agenda is to give other women the boost they need to launch or fuel their small businesses.
“Soulvation was created with $300 and a sewing machine,” Krabbenhoft said. “My next mission is to empower, educate, and help fund women running small businesses that don’t have access to venture capital or bank loans for their brand just yet. Through Funding Females NFT project, in collaboration with Soulvation, we are making this happen in 2022.”
"Once you find your key players who do these tasks better than you can and you can start to focus on growing, that's where the magic happens."