Braids, twists, curls, and “Daddy ’Dos” feed a blogging family of hair aficionados.
Taking care of six children can be hair-raising under any circumstance, but if five of them are girls, it’s a good idea to know something about styling their hair. Just ask Mindy Scott McKnight (BA ’01), who showcases hairstyles on a blog so successful that her husband, M. Shaun McKnight (BA ’99), quit his full-time job to join her efforts.
On the blog, CuteGirlsHairstyles.com, Mindy posts step-by-step instructions with photos for hundreds of styles, rating their complexity from easy to difficult. The McKnights also post video tutorials that have more than 800,000 subscribers and 155 million views on YouTube.
A stay-at-home mom, Mindy says she stumbled into the hair business while spending time working on her girls’ hair. “We have great times talking as I help prepare them for the day,” she says. “When they started asking for repeat hairdos, I took pictures and placed them in a photo album they could reference.”
Many people noticed the McKnight girls’ hair and asked Mindy about the styles. She decided to create a blog with photos describing how she created the hairstyles. People flocked to the site, and Mindy later added videos.
The McKnights’ belief that a blog could be profitable received a huge boost after YouTube contacted them about advertising on their videos. The McKnights also won a YouTube contest in 2012 and were featured on the front page for a day. Their views soared, and YouTube featured them again in January 2013.
Before joining the family hair business full-time in September 2012, Shaun was the director of market development at a company he really liked. He had helped his wife market the blog and ran the search engine optimization but was often away on international business trips when key opportunities came—and went.
“We were losing branding deals greater than my annual salary,” he explains. “I took a long look and decided to pursue the opportunity. If anyone had told me a few years ago I would be in the hair business, I would have made fun of myself.”
Among the perks is the abundance of family time. Shaun takes the children to school while Mindy answers e-mails, researches hair, and works on the blog. Shaun manages the business and has also become the blog’s videographer and the star of their popular tutorials called Daddy ’Do hairstyles.
Shaun got the idea when his wife was out of town and he had to take on hair duty. “With four sisters, I had learned how to braid,” he says. “When I did my third daughter’s hair, she looked at it at various angles and then said, ‘You do hair good for a boy.’ I was pleased. And what some of our male subscribers tell us really reaches my heart. I’m especially touched by single fathers who let us know how valuable it is for them to have a place to learn to help their daughters with their hair and make them feel like princesses.”
Along the way have come unexpected bonuses. Disney hired the McKnights to provide content for Disney princess hair tutorials, the family appeared on the television shows 20/20 and Anderson Live, and one of their hairstyles is being considered for use in the next Hunger Games movie.
Another bonus has been sharing the gospel. “We have a Mormon button [on the blog],” Mindy says, “and we get a lot of inquiries. People want to know about our faith, our family, and how we live our lives. A lot of people tell us they want to be a family like ours because they see a dad participating hands-on.”