Shaun Pulfrey is the Chairman, founder and inventor of Tangle Teezer.
Grimsby born Shaun is a professional hair colourist who used his thirty years of experience to create a new category in haircare: detangling, with the now world-famous Tangle Teezer hair care brand.
Starting his career in 1978, Shaun trained at Vidal Sassoon and has worked for salons including Pierre Alexandre, Tony & Guy, Nicky Clarke and Richard Ward. Shaun was the ‘go to’ guy in the salon for getting tangles out of hair, which gave him the inspiration to create the world’s first hair detangling tool in 2004. Tangle Teezer uses special bristles to flick and separate the hair, detangling with minimum effort, pain and hair damage.
After three years in research and development, Shaun began manufacturing Tangle Teezer in the UK and launched the product on BBC business show Dragons’ Den in 2007. The product was described as ‘hair-brained’ by Peter Jones and Shaun exited the Den after just fifteen minutes after Tangle Teezer was roundly dismissed by all five Dragons.
Undeterred by his Dragons’ Den experience, Shaun continued to grow the business using professional hair salons and social media as two key routes to market. When the show aired in late 2007 the Tangle Teezer website crashed due to huge demand. Shaun was soon approached by Boots who were to become Shaun’s first big partner, and he began supplying 200 stores from his two bedroom flat in Brixton.
By 2009 the business was making a profit and started to expand internationally, growing from 6% overseas sales to over 80% in just over four years. A global success, Tangle Teezer now sells over 20 hairbrushes every minute of the day in over 60 countries worldwide and the brushes are used by celebrities including X-Factor judge Nicole Sherzinger, Cara Delevigne and Victoria Beckham.
Shaun has become one of the UK’s most sought after entrepreneurs and is frequently called upon to talk about the unique way he thinks and conducts his business. Many of Shaun’s decisions have been based on adapting his salon experience and bringing it into the heart of his global business. His innovative and optimistic approach – ‘where others turn left, I turn right,’ he says, has seen him become a regional finalist in EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 and be invited to Downing Street as part of the Entrepreneurs Exchange to inspire and support the next generation of entrepreneurs.
An unconventional business leader who chooses a Brompton bike over a Bentley to travel to work, Shaun’s lively and engaging personality has made him a natural and popular choice as a business spokesperson and to front Government initiatives. He was chosen as one of the ‘faces’ for the UKTI’s Britain is Great Campaign for exporting overseas, has worked with 02 Business to share his entrepreneurial tips and has shared his knowledge with a captive audience at Cambridge University.
Shaun is extremely proud that his product is exclusively designed and manufactured in the UK, and he has accepted two Queen’s Awards for Innovation and International Trade.