One Stylist's Big Break on "Shark Tank"
Alanna York of Controlled Chaos teaching her cutting technique.
Earlier this year, veteran stylist, salon owner and curly girl, Alanna York made her TV debut on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank. After pouring her heart, soul and life savings into her line of professional hair care, she finally got her big break.
When York auditioned in July 2015, she didn’t expect to hear back. “It was our third try so I tried not to get too excited,” she admitted. “I had decided to close up shop last winter, and I didn’t have much energy left for something that could be so disappointing.” As an entrepreneur, York is no stranger to business challenges and pressures. She believes resilience is the key to success—and it’s proving true.
Since airing on Shark Tank, York’s rebranded product line, Controlled Chaos, has gained a massive curly customer base. “I always knew the Curl Crème was the fan favorite, but I never imagined it changing so many lives in such a positive way. I read at least once a day, ‘thank you for giving me my hair back’ or, ‘I finally love my curls,’” said York. “It’s truly amazing to hear feedback like this and it’s exactly why I created the line in the first place—curls should not be a curse!”
It all started back in 2007, when York became frustrated with the lack of quality products on the market. “I’m a strong proponent of the brand’s ‘look good, feel good, do good’ philosophy. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice product performance, gentle ingredients or the environment to have great hair—it’s possible to have all of the above.” So she began developing, testing and perfecting a handful of products. The line was continuously revised with feedback from hundreds of curly-haired clients from all over New England.
York also designed a precision cutting technique that’s named the Controlled Chaos Haircut.“Curls have always been synonymous with ‘cute.’ I hate that. I want sexy spirals, not cute curls,” she said. “I set out to change the stigma with a precision hair cut for all types of curly hair. It’s the first (and only) precision curly cut that’s actually wearable!” The Controlled Chaos Haircut allows curly clients to wear their hair curly or straight without a “choppy” appearance, and complements the Controlled Chaos Curl Crème to completely transform clients’ hair. “I knew I was onto something when my clients were driving to little old Portland, Maine from New York City to get a haircut and stock up on the Curl Crème.”
What began as a product intended for professional use, has now garnered an impressive consumer fan base. Curly customers are reaching out to York almost daily about the Controlled Chaos Haircut, and where they can purchase in-salon. “Everyone is so eager and truly want to share the Curl Crème with their stylist, their curly friends and well—the world! Once you figure out how to style it, curly hair is empowering and fosters amazing connections with other ‘curlies’. We all just want to share our experiences.”
Ultimately, York wants to stay true to her roots. “The product was designed for hairstylists, and to be used in conjunction with the precision technique,” she said. “Plus, we will always sell direct to consumer on our website, but I will not succumb to diversion. That’s really important to me!”
Controlled Chaos Curl Crème is available online at www.controlledchaoshair.com and in a growing number of salons across the United States.