Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Jeanne James of Spoolies
The inventor of today’s Spoolies, Jeanne James
The Trendsetter Awards at Cosmoprof Las Vegas are awarded to brands doing something innovative. Spoolies Hair Curlers has been recognized two years in a row, in 2015 and 2016. MODERN talked to the inventor of today’s Spoolies, Jeanne James, and how she took an old brand name and revived it, always with an eye to giving back.
MS: Describe a Spoolie:
JJ: Spoolies are a patented heatless curling system made in the USA for all ages and hair types. They are a one-piece silicone hair curler that compresses the hair to speed up the curling process. They look like a little disk that snaps open, and you can wrap a strand of hair around the stem portion then snap it closed. Put them in clean dry hair and leave in for 20 minutes or while you do your makeup, then remove them for loose beach waves or ringlets. You choose the type of curl you want – the longer the curlers are in the hair, the tighter the curl. They are non-slip so they will stay in the hair, even while sleeping. Spoolies are heat resistant, and if desired heat can be applied to curlers with a dryer to activate curls more quickly.
Spoolies curlers are made from medical-grade silicone. They are hypoallergenic, soft and flexible, non-toxic, odorless, heat resistant, will not crack or break, will not melt in the hair if heated with a hair dryer. Spoolies are also great for curling hair extensions and since they are chemical resistant, they can be used with permanent wave solution.
Spoolies curlers come in four colors and two sizes. The original smaller size is available in Playful Pink, Shadow Black, and Hello Glow, a glow-in-the-dark curler. The new jumbo size is available in Beachy Blue and perfect for beach wave styles.
MS: Please talk about the history of Spoolies, the brand, and what you went through to achieve the trademark and patent.
JJ: The process I went through is rather unique. In 2003, when I decided to bring back Spoolies, I checked the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website and Conair had just cancelled the use of the trademark the year before. They had used the trademark for an electric curler version of Spoolies in the 1990s and had discontinued the product, and use of the trademark in 2002. They were not the company who originally owned the Spoolies trademark in the 1950s and 1960s. It took three years to receive the trademark allowance that I had applied for myself online for $325.00 at the USPTO website. I had to fight for it by writing a response to a claim that Spoolies was a generic word, and I won, and was awarded the trademark in 2006.
After much time spent improving the design and material, securing two new US patents, working with five different factories (including one that burned down), the new updated Spoolies Hair Curlers were finally launched in December 2014. What we have now is a much improved function, design, and material compared to the original rubber latex curler. Spoolies curler’s premium material and re-engineered design will assure it can be handed down to the next generation and not crumble in pieces. Most importantly, for every box of Spoolies sold, a portion of profits will benefit girls education projects for poor and orphaned girls in Kenya, a long time dream now being fulfilled.
MS: What problem did you see Spoolies answering?
JJ: Ladies and girls are looking for a way to achieve healthy waves, ringlets and curls, and a heatless curler is a great option for at home use. Spoolies are lab tested as CPSC safe for all ages and safe against burns to the hair and skin.
MS: How have stylists responded to Spoolies?
JJ: Stylists suggest Spoolies curlers to their clients to freshen second day curls after a salon visit or to achieve professional looking curls at home. They are a great alternative to heated curling tools and portable for traveling with no concerns about electrical connectivity.
MS: Are you currently looking for distribution?
JJ: We welcome inquiries from distributors.
MS: What’s coming next?
JJ: We are working on a new Spoolies Curl Serum to give lasting power to curls, to be released in December 2016.