Over the last few years, women the world over have been trading in their relaxers for a more natural look. And with any change in taste, comes opportunity.
Carol’s Daughter, the natural hair and beauty product company, estimates that the market for relaxers has gone from bringing in $100 million a year in sales to just $35 million. Taking advantage of such a steep decline in market share, Carol’s Daughter and other companies have created products that cater to more diverse hair textures and styles.
But while beauty store shelves were being flooded with natural hair care products, no one seemed to be thinking about educating women on how to discover and use these products. No one besides Myleik Teele, that is.
Teele, 32 is the founder and chief experience officer of curlBOX, the monthly subscription service she launched that sends members up to seven natural hair care products that have been vetted for women with multi-textured hair.
Here, Teele talks about how she launched curlBOX (her second business!), beauty industry obstacles and provides advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs.
MN: Let’s get this out of the way first. Are you natural? If not, do you think you have to have natural hair to understand this sector of the beauty industry?
Teele: Yes, I’ve been “natural” or without a chemical relaxer for a little over a decade. I think it’s important , although not necessary, that one be natural to really understand what the subscribers are experiencing and having my finger on the pulse of what they want and need. I’m “pre-pooing,” and finger-detangling right along with my VIP members.
MN: In a recent interview with UPTOWN magazine you said that you noticed a void in the beauty industry. Can you talk more about your epiphany moment and how you knew it was the right time for this type of product?
Teele: After working with my beauty clients and going to the World Natural Hair Show and other shows and hair “meet ups” I had an epiphany moment. How would it be possible to package or “BOX” this experience (products & information) and send it to someone’s doorstep? The idea hit me and wouldn’t leave. I couldn’t even sleep at night with the thought on my mind. I took one step and the rest is history.
MN: curlBOX seems to have been modeled after other beauty related mail-order subscription services. What made you go this route instead of launching your own natural hair product?
Teele: My expertise lends itself to this business model. Mail-order subscription services have been around for years – remember Columbia House CD Clubs? I’m a “what’s the latest and greatest” kind of girl and I genuinely believe that I can better serve the hair community with a sampling service as opposed to another product … I’ll leave that to the experts!
MN: How did you decide which companies to partner with for curlBOX?
Teele: [Member feedback and research]. I am a product junkie at my core and beauty obsessed so I’m always on the blogs and watching YouTube videos. I also read the emails and take a look at the survey results and work from there. You won’t see any products in curlBOX that aren’t personally endorsed by me.
MN: When you first made your pitch, were product companies receptive? Or, did you experience resistance?
Teele: Some brands like Karen’s Body Beautiful, Frizoff Curly Hair Solutions and Hair Rules got it right away and there were some that wanted to watch the brand for awhile which is completely understandable.