The clothes you wear to work define the way you go about your day. In a corporate environment, a suit might make you feel powerful enough to speak up. When it comes to the hair salon, however, there’s something of a drought when it comes to inspiring wardrobe choices. That’s where New Jersey sisters Cassandra DeRosa, 28, and Lacey DeRosa, 23, come in. The pair are the joint owners of Jae Lace, a modern apparel brand designed to cater to the snippers, highlighters, and shampooers of the beauty world.
According to Cassandra, Jae Lace started out as nothing more than a pipe dream between siblings three years ago. Today, however, the sisters sell their bobby pin-printed hats and Instagram-worthy sweatshirts at hair shows and online, acquiring a customer so loyal they’re likely to buy one of everything in the shop.
It makes sense, too. The DeRosas have mixed the perfect cocktail of pop art millennial wit and bright colors into clothing almost anyone can appreciate, from a t-shirt that reads, “Bleach, please,” to a phone case emblazoned with the phrase, “Umm, let me fix your hair.” It’s witty and cute—not to mention Instagrammable.
“I had an Instagram following at the time [of Jae Lace’s launch] and most of my followers were hairstylists, so it was kind of like a no-brainer,” DeRosa explains. “My sister is an artist, so she designs most of the shirts and she does most of the artwork for it.”
Today, both of the sisters work two careers at once—Cassandra in a salon and Lacey as a makeup artist—balancing entrepreneurship with their regular jobs. It’s the Cassandra, the oldest, who focuses on building Jae Lace’s Instagram presence. Lacey manages the shipping while creating the brand’s latest designs.
Interestingly, Jae Lace represents a turning point in the lives of both sisters. While being entrepreneurs before 30 may seem over-ambitious to some, the pair reached a critical point with the untimely death of a cousin. That moment became the catalyst in their careers.
“Our cousin had passed away. His name was Jordan, so we took the ‘Jae’ from that,” DeRosa says. “It was kind of like a big turning point in both of our lives and my family’s lives because it was a freak accident. It was not supposed to be. We are super spiritual, so we kind of believe he sent us the idea.”
DeRosa credits their “what do we have to lose” attitude with making Jae Lace the success it is today. Running a company hasn’t been simple, but both sisters are dedicated to growing the business. In the meantime, they’re clocking countless hours behind the computer screen or in the mailroom.
“I’m always working,” DeRosa says. “I’m not in the salon, but I’m still behind the computer for four hours, I’m still on my phone. I wish I wasn’t, but you gotta do what you gotta do. I’m definitely never really off, but that’s what comes with owning a business.”
All that work is paying off, too. When a customer orders online, Lacey is responsible for quickly packing the box and sending it off. Because she mostly works weekends, the speedy shipping is one of the things Jae Lace customers most frequently remark on.
“They’re like, ‘Oh my god, our package came so fast, I can’t believe how quick it came,” she says, adding that Jae Lace customers almost always Instagram their package the second it arrives.
While the brand often restocks the same bestsellers—DeRosa name-drops the “you can’t cut with us” t-shirt in particular—the sisters continually update their store with new, fresh, and seasonal merchandise. Surprisingly, one of their best-selling items has turned out to be kid’s clothing.
“One of my clients actually sells baby moccasins and she does very well doing that, so she has a big business. I think she brought it up, she was like, ‘You definitely have to do a kids shirt. People will buy anything for their kids,’” DeRosa explains. “Those fly off the shelf.”
It’s not just stylists buying Jae Lace, either. Thanks to the DeRosas creative branding, they’re even seeing civilians placing orders strictly because the clothing is so cute.
“When we put out a limited edition item, people go crazy over that. Around the holidays, it’s nuts,” Cassandra DeRosa says. “I think it’s outside people too buying for their hairdressers and stuff like that. We get a lot of salons buying for their whole staff.”
As the business grows, it’s likely you’ll see way more of Jae Lace in both salons and on social media. The DeRosas have faith that Jae Lace has a long way still to grow. It’s the same attitude they’ve maintained since the brand’s very first day.
“It was definitely what have you got to lose, you know? Let’s just do it. We have faith it’ll work and what do we got to lose. Let’s just go for it,” DeRosa says.
That’s an attitude we can all get behind.