Words by Chris Karel
Photos courtesy of TELETIES
Local mom and inventor of TELETIES dishes on startups, inspiration and giving back.
There’s a lot to love about having long hair, but sometimes Rapunzel-like tresses can get in the way. “You want to bend down, go outside on a windy day or turn your head quickly? Get ready for a face full of hair,” says Central Florida mom and serial entrepreneur Lindsay Muscato. “It’s distracting and aggravating, and traditional hair ties — the way most people try to deal with it — just add insult to injury.”
After struggling to manage her mane with standard hair ties that are no more than glorified rubber bands, Lindsay put her background in fashion, design and entrepreneurship to work. In 2017, she created a light but resilient band of stretchy plastic to hold the hair without causing damage. Her design resembles old telephone cords, which inspired the “tele” in her company name: TELETIES.
Lindsay’s design immediately took off, and TELETIES has now sold millions of hair ties and evolved from Lindsay working out of her garage to a 22,000-square-foot warehouse with a full team of employees.
PLAYGROUND asked Lindsay what inspired her to launch TELETIES, what advice she has for other business-minded mothers, why she’s tied the fight against unruly hair to battle against cancer and more.
How did you get the idea for TELETIES and what makes them special?
I played soccer growing up, and I would find myself in the middle of the field with my head literally thrown over, putting my hair back up because my hair tie wouldn’t stay in. But I really came up with the concept of TELETIES after my two premature babies were born. I was constantly washing bottles, which left the hair ties on my wrist wet. I thought to myself, “There’s got to be a better way.”
I spent about three years experimenting in my garage with different materials and designs. We settled on the spiral design because it creates a strong grip that locks hair in place with less slipping than traditional ties. It’s counterintuitive, but this design makes TELETIES both grippier when you want them to stay in and easier to remove when you want to take them out. You’re not pulling out a clump of hair along with the hair tie. And, of course, the material is water-resistant.
Since the launch of your hair ties, you’ve expanded to offer other hair accessories, like clips and scrunchies. How do you come up with new products?
All of the ideas for our next products come from my personal everyday needs. Just like how I was tired of my hair tie getting wet, I was tired of my hair clips breaking, so I spent two years designing and developing a clip that has the perfect material to not break and that stays in your hair and looks super stylish!
You donate a portion of your profits to Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), a nonprofit organization that helps people and families affected by hereditary cancers. Why?
I understand firsthand how important nonprofit organizations like FORCE can be in providing resources and early detection. I was tested at a young age because my father carried the BRCA1 mutation and thankfully tested negative. Even though I never met my grandmother who passed away from breast cancer at the age of 36, I promised myself that I would do my part to educate other and bring awareness to the BRCA1 mutation.
What advice would you give other moms looking to start their own company?
My advice would be to stay true to yourself and trust your gut. Pick your own path and stay positive and focused. There will be naysayers and those who don’t share your vision, but don’t allow them to distract you or push you off course. Be intentional about staying in a forward motion every day. That’s especially important when you encounter a setback, which you will. Those obstacles will be easier to overcome if you stay in the mindset of stepping forward and thinking about what’s next. Finally, treat people the way you want to be treated. That’s how we’ve been able to build this business.
Kids Love TELETIES Too!
Lindsay shares her three fave picks for littles:
- “The tiny TELES were designed with kids in mind. They are perfect for kids’ thin hair, but they also fit on the end of braids and top knots for adults.”
- “All the bright colors are great. Eat Glitter for Breakfast is always a favorite.”
- “Children also like the TELETOTE keychains to clip onto their school or sports bags to carry all their TELETIES.”