The Sai Zen Story
SAI ZEN is a hair care brand that Taka Hair Salon owner Naoko developed for her mother, who was suffering from thin hair. It is a home care series focusing on using plenty of natural ingredients, creating 3 types: a shampoo, conditioner, and a scalp therapy spray.
The SAI ZEN Origin Story
Developed for A Mother Suffering from Thinning Hair
Natural Hair Care Products
Mother Developed Thinning Hair from Cancer Treatments
Aggravated Hair with Extensions and Wigs
17 years ago, due to cancer treatment, my mother began suffering from thinning hair. While I was operating a hair salon, I tried various hair tonics and solutions for my mother. As a result, although her hair loss improved, none of the treatments used produced the results we wanted.
Even at the salon, I performed scalp massages and treatments, desperately wanted to increase my mother’s hair.
After various failed attempts, the amount of hair my mother was left with was relatively small. I turned to using special hair extensions, and when my mother looked at her reflection in the mirror, she seemed rejuvenated. This continued on for a while, with her extensions being replaced every month. This process became lengthy and expensive, and it was pulling on the hair that she still had, which fell out at an increased rate. We finally turned to getting her a custom wig.
I Want to See my Mother’s Smile!
Resolution to Develop Original Hair Care Products
One evening, my mother tried to go to the grocery store across the street from our house, because we forgot to buy milk. She had just taken a shower, had no makeup on, and was only in her pajamas. To my shock, she still made sure to put on her wig! When I saw this, I knew something had to be done. It was a sure sign as to how important her hair was, even without fancy clothes or a full face of makeup. When I thought of my mother as someone who couldn’t relax in public without a wig on, it was very painful to me, and yet at the same time my determined resolve grew.
“Somehow, I want to increase my mother’s hair!”
First, I started researching other hair restoration products, and I had my mother use various products again, but none of them were effective. My mother also suffers from sensitive skin and allergies, so harsh medicinal hair growth agents couldn’t be used. So, I started thinking about using herbs to make effective hair care products.
Of course, it was impossible for an amateur like myself to make hair products easily, and I spent a lot of sleepless nights researching and researching. After several years, I was able to develop my shampoo. While I was trying out this new shampoo, my mother’s hair increased, and we were finally able to stop using the wig. I couldn’t stop crying, and seeing my mother’s joyful smile only confirmed my joyful tears. Even other customers who have purchased wigs at my salon started using our shampoo, and eventually were able to stop using wigs.
I decided to name this shampoo “SAI ZEN”
Sai, meaning “the most wonderful”, or “the best”; and “Play, reviving, regaining youth and confidence”
And Zen, meaning “Improvement”, Focusing on the belief that you can revive your hair.
SAI ZEN Spread Through Word of Mouth
I want to Pursue my Philosophy for all those who Suffer
“SAI ZEN” was the most effective among the products that we tried, ever since my mother noticed her thinning hair. The shampoo was giving her hair volume and strength. Even though I created these products for ourselves, they began building a reputation and spread via word of mouth. We saw an improvement in sales to our customers in the salon, and as a result, we now take orders from other hair salons, retail stores, and overseas. It has truly been a pleasure.
As the reputation of “SAI ZEN” grew, we wanted to create more products and sell more extensively, since a lot of companies began contacting us. However, at the same time, the selling price of the products was relatively high, and many people wanted the products at a reduced rate. There certainly are many hair thickening products that are sold at around $10 in the US. I traveled around to a variety of manufacturers to see if we could manage to make it cheaper. While we could make it cheaper than it is now, the final product would not contain many of the essential herbal ingredients I want to use. If we matched the lower price, the product would not match the same level of efficiency, and results would only take longer. I also participated in a business seminar, which told me that in order to succeed in selling goods, it was important to know how much money is spent on marketing rather than the merit of the goods being sold.
I want there to be no misunderstandings. “SAI ZEN” is an herbal shampoo, and its focus has never been to be a “hair growth” shampoo. To sell “SAI ZEN” as a hair growth shampoo in the United States, it is necessary to include chemical ingredients. Originally, the purpose was to make a shampoo that could be used even by mothers with sensitive skin, so we could not put chemical ingredients in the shampoo just for the purpose of selling more.
Reducing the amount of herbs to lower the selling price also departs from my original purpose of finding a hair thickening solution for my mother.
I think there are a lot of people who have sensitive skin, and cannot use hair tonics or treatments containing chemical ingredients. Whatever happens in the future, I will continue to sell “SAI ZEN” in the manner that I believed: I will be so pleased to help someone who is suffering from thin hair.