, a Hair Extension company based out of Belgrade, now has a client going to Miss USA
. Dani Walker, 27, is a Billings resident and earned the prestigious title of Miss Montana USA on her seventh attempt. Dani will be representing Montana at Miss USA, which is televised nationally sometime late spring or early summer 2018.
London Scott: What went through your mind when you learned Dani won?
Miss Montana's Pageant Coach: When I found out that Dani won, I cried and jumped up and down in the middle of a hotel lobby. I felt like my "favorite team" had won. I was so proud to have her represent my home state of Montana. Dani is one of the most humble titleholders I have ever met, not to mention also smart and incredibly funny!
London: What do you want people to know about your client and the newly crowned Miss Montana, USA?
: It took her seven tries to win the crown, and because of her age, this was the last year for her she was eligible to win. She represents the true Montana woman: We don't give up and we don't accept failure. Please send her love and support as she represents our beautiful state at Miss USA.
Q: Aside from pageant contestants, who else wears hair extensions?
London: You have seen my clients wearing Extensions by London on the cover of Vogue magazine, in the film Dawn of Justice or on the hit show Real Housewives of Orange County. Worn on more than 300 beauty pageant titleholders around the world including Miss USA 2015, Mrs. USA 2017, and Miss Wyoming Teen 2017.
In fact, I am often called in for those hard to do underwater scenes that require undetectable hair extensions. Owning my factory allows me to create products when I see a need.
Most often though, you'll see my hair extensions on someone who needs it the most. One of my clients has Cerebral Palsy. I created the Pre-curled Clip in Extension Line for her so she could do her hair the way pageant girls like them. She was able to have hair on stage like the other girls. That product has expanded into six countries around the world. I created it out of compassion and love with no idea how popular it would become.
Hair extensions are more common than ever before with all women. It allows us to have that hair we always dreamed of having. Women who have experienced thinning hair with age can have the hair they used to have in the 20s.
Q: What was your inspiration to start the company?
London: According to a study by Dove, only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. Huffington Post did an article that states "only 7% of women like their hair." I wanted to change that statistic to double digits after my experience professionally and personally with extensions.
Professional: Twenty-six years ago while working as a modeling agent, I hand sewed hair pieces for my models. I discovered that adding extensions allowed them to stand out against very stiff competition.
Personal: Years into my career, my long beautiful hair broke off in my hands because of a traumatic event in my life. With sparse hair, I lost my confidence. It was my hair extensions that made me feel beautiful and complete. It was then I knew if my hair extensions could restore my confidence this way. I can only imagine how it would bless those who were in my similar situation. I became obsessed learning over 20 methods of creating hair extensions and then committing seven years to finding the best hair in the world while perfecting my craft. The rest is history.
Q: What makes Belgrade a great place to be a business owner?
London: People in Belgrade take time to get to know you. Many of the businesses are family owned and have been in Belgrade for generations. There is a commitment to us from the locals that is unprecedented. Yesterday I had the teenager in front of me randomly pay for my coffee. That is the best way to describe why Belgrade is a perfect place to live and own a company. A community of people who genuinely care.
Q: Tell us the process of choosing perfect hair extensions.
London: For Permanent Extensions: Make sure you go to someone who knows more than one or two ways to put them in. If they only know one or two, that may not be the best one for your hair type.
For Clip in Extensions: Pick ones that are "double drawn." That means that they are as thick on the ends as they are on the top. Double drawn hair will help you to get the best value with the least amount of pieces. Make sure you know the origin of the hair. Many beauty supply stores have a certain amount of Yack and Bore hair in them even though they say human hair. They are not 100% human hair.
Q: You have spoken at Harvard Business School about your success in business. What is your advice for other business owners?
London: Use mentors and business coaches! They will help you get to where you want to go faster and with fewer battle wounds. I would not be where I am now without my coaches and mentors. You would never expect to be a professional ballplayer without a coach teaching you strategic moves and training you for success. Find someone whose life or career you would like to have and ask to meet with them. If they tell you no, keep asking. One person took three years to tell me yes they would teach me. I LOVE her and would not be who I am without her! It was one of my business coaches that pushed, or should I say dragged me into being a Beauty Expert on TV.
Q: What's next for you?
I am passionate about helping other stylists. In January, I will start teaching the Custom Blending methods that lead me to all of my success and took 20 years to perfect. I am in the process of starting a Women In Business group in Belgrade as well.
The London Extensions warehouse is located at 90 North Kennedy in Belgrade, MT, it is currently being remodeled to make it more visitor friendly. Contact London at 406 451-6263.
More information on Miss Montana USA:
Miss Montana USA is part of the Miss Universe Organization, which is owned by WME | IMG. To follow Dani’s reign as Miss Montana USA, go to Miss Montana USA Facebook page, @missmtusa on Instagram, and @realmissmtusa for Twitter. Visit MissMontanaUSA.com
to learn more about the organization.