Brad Mondo literally grew up in a hair salon. His Dad owned a salon and a young Brad was sweeping up hair and prepping stations as long as he can remember. He was even cutting people’s hair long before he had a license. But don’t tell anybody. That’s our little secret.
Even as a kid, he had an interest in marketing and advertising and when he looked at the shelves of the salon, he noticed that something was missing.
Mondo said, “I was always fascinated by ads, ad campaigns, packaging, anything visual. I never saw anyone who was gay or male. It was always blonde females, from the ages of 20-35, on the packages. It was so boring to me. So, back then, there was no one that I could relate to.”
Even at that young age, he knew that he would create his own hair care line someday. And it would be different than the boring products that he saw on the shelves of his Dad’s salon.
But in addition to being a young, aspiring entrepreneur, and hair stylist, he had a huge interest in pop culture: Whether it was Brittany Spears or Jersey Shore, he devoured content, including YouTube.
With the encouragement of his Mom, he got a small camera and started filming. First, he tried filming skits, because they were popular at the time, then he tried travel vlogs and a million other types of videos.
He had no success on YouTube, despite years of trying.
And there’s a great lesson in there for any young, aspiring YouTuber: It doesn’t happen overnight.
While trying to become the next YouTube star, Mondo went to school to become a hairstylist. And later became a successful celebrity hairstylist.
Then, after almost ten years after he started on YouTube, it finally happened.
Mondo said, “I sat down, in my little shoe box apartment, and set up a little camera on my bed and I just started reacting to this video: This girl who was just wrecking her hair. I gave my professional advice on it, so it was: Educational, it was comedy and it was relatable. I uploaded the video and the next day, it had 600,000 views and I had 2,000 subscribers.”
When you get a viral video on YouTube, you can’t just wait around to post your next one. You need to ride that wave and immediately start posting more videos.
And that’s exactly what he did. He quickly grew his channel and became well known for his funny “reaction” videos. He’d make funny comments about girls who did a terrible job at cutting or bleaching their hair on YouTube. In addition to his comedy videos, he also gave real tips on how to cut your own hair, how to color it or style it.
After years of fame and success on YouTube, he decided to finally pursue his dream of owning his own hair care brand.
At first he was the only one who thought it was a good idea.
“I never got any offers from companies to start my own line, so I was like, ‘I’m going to create my own line.’ I nearly bit off more than I could chew. It was just so scary. I invested so much of my own money and I was the only one working on the product at that time. I didn’t know about how to get samples or how to manufacture the bottles. I didn’t know anything. So, I was learning from the ground up. So, I did everything myself, while still doing YouTube.”
The brand was called XMONDO but it didn’t look like the massively successful brand that it is today.
Mondo didn’t have a clear idea of what he was trying to create. In the beginning, he just tried to just make products that were already in the market.
It’s tough to create a unique brand identity, though, if you’re just doing what everyone else is.
But he kept at it and figured it out as he went along.
Mondo said, “I didn’t know what I was trying to create. And it’s OK to step into something without knowing that. So many people have it ingrained in my head that you need to have it all figured out. Know your mission. Know exactly the steps you’re taking. Know your goals. Know this and know that. I say, ‘Just do it. Like, shut up and just do it.’ I feel that it’s better to do something than to just plan, plan, plan and never do anything at all.”
After two years of trying to just trying to keep the lights on, and make a small profit, he had his first major success: It was a product called Wavetech. It blew up during COVID.
The product line quickly expanded and the XMONDO product line now includes: Shampoos and conditioners, styling products, wave systems, repair and treatment products and even merch.
Mondo said, “In the beginning, I was just going to do whatever has already made it in the market. And let’s just use my name to sell these products. But now, I look at it like, ‘What is the future of haircare? What’s the future of hair color?’ That’s what gets me excited.”
And he’s still curious and excited about industries beyond hair care.
He said, “I would like to be more into fashion. I don’t think that I’m there yet. But I’ve always loved fashion. I have a passion for it and who knows, maybe one day I’ll make clothes, or sneakers or accessories. But eventually, I do want to get more involved into the fashion world. I don’t just want to be a hairstylist forever. I have a great career, and I love it, but I feel that I just have so much creativity in me that can go into so many different avenues.”
Who knows what that will look like?
But if it’s anything like XMONDO, it will definitely be innovative, tech related and fun.