All Articles Tagged "natural hair"

GoodHair Provides Fast, Professional Service For Women With Natural Hair

July 27th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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Folake Oguntebi

Folake Oguntebi Photo: Alliah Livingstone

Not all salons are created equal. And if you rock natural hair, you know it takes a special set of hands to work with your curls. For women with natural hair, it’s not easy finding a salon that gets you in and out of the chair, or educates you on your hair type and products used.

Enter GoodHair.

A stylist at work. Photo credit: Alliah Livingstone

A stylist at work. Photo credit: Alliah Livingstone

Founded by Folake Oguntebi, GoodHair is similar to Drybar, but caters to women with textured hair. Oguntebi knows first-hand what it’s like to want to find a salon that meets your hair and lifestyle needs.

In 2014, she began moving on her idea, confirming she wasn’t alone. After tapping her friends and network, she received over 100 responses from women of color looking to enhance their salon experience. “I found out people were really dissatisfied because they didn’t have an option that they felt worked for them,” said the chief executive of GoodHair.

Oguntebi, a Harvard-trained marketing professional, had the idea, but needed the capital and team to execute on it. GoodHair launched a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year to run a proof of concept in New York City. It exceeded its initial goal of $15,000, raising $17,530 on women-focused platform Plum Alley. A great deal of the backing came from family and friends.

A business school friend suggested Oguntebi try a pop-up shop as the proof of concept. “I always wanted to do a pop-up hair salon,” says the mompreneur. “I was intrigued by the concept, but didn’t know exactly how you’d make that happen. The more I thought about it I was like that could be a really good way [to test the market]. Put a manifestation of what you’re thinking in the market and see how people respond, and if you can do it, before you pump tons of money into a brick-and-mortar location.”

Fast forward to July 25 and Oguntebi and her senior creative and educational advisor Angela C. Stevens, widely known as Angela Styles, opened the doors to the pop-up salon. The WeTV LA Hair cast member, who has worked with countless celebrities from Beyonce to Rihanna, and team will offer a selection of wash and naturally-curly styles, as well as straight, blow-out styles—all for $65. Clients can also select up ‘dos, deep conditioning treatments and trims.

Our writer interviewing Photo credit: Alliah Livingstone

Our writer interviewing Oguntebi . Photo credit: Alliah Livingstone

Open Monday through Saturday, from 7am to 9pm, at Sola Hair Studio in New York City, naturalistas can book an appointment at the GoodHair site. Shortly after booking, clients will receive a questionnaire that will help your stylist create your customized hair experience. This accompanies your consultation. Your customized experience doesn’t stop there: Once styled, you’re sent your GoodHair prescription. (Writer’s note: I found out I had 4a hair, which is naturally dry. It was suggested that my at-home maintenance regimen should include more steaming, as well as Karen’s Body Beautiful Hair Blossom Moisture Mist, among other KBB products.)

The educational component (not to mention the relaxed ambience and array of salon snacks) is what sets GoodHair apart from many on-the-go, salon experiences. The team is invested in breaking down what works best and making sure clients have healthy hair.

“It’s important to create a conversation that everybody can understand,” says Stevens.

GoodHair is open until August 8. The salon will open in 2016.

My Brillo-Pad Hair Will Never Look Like Tracee Ellis Ross’s, And I’m Finally OK With That

June 26th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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natural hair intimidating


In November of 2010, I received my last relaxer. I decided that I wanted to transition to natural, but I wanted to let my hair grow a bit before I did the big chop. After several months of transitioning, I started to see what I thought was my curl pattern at the roots. I wondered what my hair would look like fully natural, and from the looks of my curl pattern, I was thinking of something along the lines of Tracee Ellis Ross or Corinne Bailey Rae. In all my delusion, I saw myself riding a bike through a grassy plain, rocking my small curly afro listening to “Put Your Records On” in complete bliss (I know I can’t be the only one). I became a Carol’s Daughter addict. I fell in love with their Black Vanilla Line, and it helped me manage the natural roots and the relaxed ends without drying out my hair. I thought I had it all together.

Eager to see what I would look like with an afro, I went and did the big chop in the spring of 2011. I was disappointed to see hair that looked like a Brillo pad on top of my head. My go-to site for help on such hair matters was Curly Nikki and, at the time, Moptop Maven. However, they had a different type of natural hair, and so did I. I soon realized that what worked for them didn’t work for me. We had completely different hair textures.

Feeling a tad disheartened, I started to get lazy with my natural hair. I did wash days, wash-and-go treatments, and stuck with pineapple puffs. It wasn’t until last year, after struggling for quite some time on my own, that I decided I was going to embrace the movement as a community. I didn’t really see the need for natural hair meet ups and mixers before, but I realized that when it comes to self-love and acceptance, that’s something a lot of women of color struggle with. I assumed these groups were a kind of support group where women shared hair stories, product reviews and celebrated their natural beauty, so I wanted to be a part of that. However, the more I attended these events, the more ostracized I felt.

One of the beauties of being women of color is that we come in all different shades and shapes. We have all different types of hair textures, styles, and features that set us apart. We are a melting pot of all things beauty. So why did I feel left out?

I started to notice that a lot of the faces in many of the small groups I attended fit the mold of light-skinned women with loose curls. That left us 4C, Brillo-pad hair women out. There was a noticeable difference between the women with the flowing, loose curls and the women with tough, shrunken, tight curls–like myself. I found it interesting how even with a movement that promoted self-love through natural acceptance for all women, there was still a divisive standard that marginalized a good portion of us. Scrolling through social media and YouTube channels in search of women whose hair looked like mine, I found women like Francheska of HeyFranHey, MahoganyCurls, and Taren Guy among others. But where were the sisters with strands like mine who could identify with the struggles of hair maintenance? Who hasn’t spent hours standing in front of the bathroom mirror trying to comb out and twist rough hair that leaves your comb with broken teeth? Where were the sisters whose hair always seemed to resemble a TWA until it was blown, stretched or straightened? Where were the women whose hair seemed to absorb water and moisture like the sponge that it resembled?

Aside from my closest friends, I found myself the odd person out at these natural hair events. There’s the loose curl girls, the loc’d sistahs who can’t use any of the products during the product giveaways, and the 4C girls (usually one or two) in the room talking among each other about how they wished they had more defined and loose curls because maybe being natural would be easier to manage.

But truly being natural is embracing our hair the way it is supposed to grow. Just because your hair doesn’t look like a certain someone’s, that doesn’t mean it is unkempt and untamed. It’s delightfully unique and complicated, just like you. And while I would have loved to have felt right at home during those meet ups, I’m learning to appreciate my complex hair as is. Our hair patterns and textures are vast and should be embraced. And for that to happen, we must examine self-love and acceptance without conditions and standards.


Vogue Calls North West A Natural Hair Inspiration For Girls, Black Twitter Reacts Accordingly

June 18th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Splash News

Splash News

In honor of North West’s second birthday, Vogue published a piece suggesting that the famous tot is “inspiring a generation of natural hair girls.” Immediately, I knew that the Black community would take issue with the essay. With the exception of caregivers who are crazy enough to relax or weave a toddler’s hair, it is safe to say that just about every Black baby girl in America is sporting her natural tresses.

A culture writer named Marjon Carlos penned the piece, which addresses her 2-year-old niece Isabel’s mixed heritage and how caring for her hair is sometimes difficult for the girl’s Russian mother. Carlos, who is Black, goes on to explain that she was inspired to try some of North West’s hairstyles on Isabel since both girls are of mixed heritage and share similar hair textures.

Carlos writes:

When Riccardo Tisci sent models with intricately gelled coils on their hairlines down his fall 2015 Givenchy runway, the awe these baby hairs inspired in the fashion world was rivaled by another very famous set of curls: the scraped-back and artfully sculpted tendrils of mini It girl North West, who turns two today.

I’ve been charmed by the sleek styles that Kim and Kanye’s offspring has sported as she sits front row at Fashion Week on her mother’s lap, arriving to ballet class in custom Balmain blazers, or globetrotting to far-flung locales on family trips. Whether a top bun or a comb-over, North’s pint-sized hairstyles complement her fashion-forward play clothes, while remaining refreshingly easy and age-appropriate. They’ve established little Nori as a kind of hair icon for a nascent and diverse generation of tots rocking their natural curls with unprecedented flair—among them, my two-year-old niece, Isabel.

Many felt that if any celebrity child should be referred to as an “inspiration” for natural hair girls, it should have been Blue Ivy, whose tresses have been mercilessly criticized.

I could see how Nori’s buns and pom poms may have assisted Carlos in coming up with a few styles to try on her adorable niece’s hair. At the same time, the outrage sparked by this piece is entirely understandable. North West is many things, but a natural hair trendsetter she is not.

Mushiya Tshikuka Of WETV’s “Cutting It In The ATL” Talks Branding & Business Controversy

June 2nd, 2015 - By Andrea Williams
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MushiyaTshikukaIt didn’t take long into the premiere episode of WETV’s Cutting It in the ATL for viewers to get a glimpse of the raw fierceness that is Mushiya Tshikuka, the new reality show’s natural hair maven. After seeing the leather booty shorts she donned for an afternoon brunch during the premiere episode, some might call her controversial. Tshikuka, however, says she’s just being real. She’s so real, in fact, that she named her uber-popular Atlanta spot “The Damn Salon”—as in, “Everything we do, everything we touch—once we’re done with it, all that’s left to say is damn.”

Ultimately, Tshikuka couldn’t care less about haters and naysayers. Her focus is on fabulous hair and continuing to innovate within the natural hair space. She may ruffle some feathers along the way, but while she positions herself as Cutting It’s breakout star, Tshikuka is a businesswoman first. Here, she discusses how women can follow her lead in turning a marketable skill into a profitable business, and how to develop the right brand for your business, even if it stirs up a little trouble in the process.

MadameNoire: Why did you decide to be on the show? Were you concerned about how you would be portrayed?
Mushiya Tshikuka: Indeed, when they approached me about it, I definitely had some reservations because I personally cannot stand the way women are portrayed on reality TV. I decided to do it for two reasons: I decided that, yes, editing has a lot to do with how these women are portrayed, but what they do has a lot to do with how they are portrayed. They can only edit what you do. I understand that sometimes people do certain things in certain situations that they may not have done in other situations. But at the end of the day, you have to be in control of what you do and how you look. So I decided that I would put a lot of focus in staying true to who I was and not giving up too much power in terms of changing who I am.

And, two, it’s such an amazing and great platform, national TV, to do whatever you’re doing. I love natural hair, and I love to empower and build women and just expose to the world how great [natural hair] is. And, so, I wanted to utilize this opportunity to do it on a greater scale.

MN: Regarding natural hair, it’s obviously very popular now, but were you ever concerned when you started that that area was too niche?
MT: Absolutely not. I was not concerned about that at all. I believe that, in business, you can either fulfill a need or create the need. And I’m a creator of needs. So although many people were not natural, and a lot of people were not going natural or doing natural hair, I believed that I could create the desire and the need for it by creating things that they didn’t know existed before.

MN: What advice do you have for other women who want to take a skill that they have and turn it into a successful business?
MT: The way to do that is by believing that you have a business from the moment that you have that skill. So you’re not transitioning yourself into a business. You have to regard yourself as a business from the beginning. Everything is important, in terms of how you brand yourself, how you work, your customer service. So with me, I was a business from the moment that I decided I was going to get clients. My marketing material, my customer service—I did whatever it is that I wanted to receive when I go into a business, even when I was just one person in the beginning.

MN: Speaking of branding, you’ve taken an edgy approach to your brand with The Damn Salon. Were you ever concerned that you would turn people away?
MT: I never felt that, though I was told that by many people. People told me, “Mushiya, you can’t name your salon ‘The Damn Salon.’ That’s crazy.” And I said, “Yes, I can.” I never, for one second, said, “Oh this is too edgy,” or “This is too harsh.” All I’ve been the whole time is myself. That’s why it’s very easy. I didn’t actually choose the brand; I am just being Mushiya. If you have to decide what the branding [for your company] is, it’s a lot of work. You constantly have to work to stay in line with that. [My brand] is only edgy because I say and do what most people are thinking in their heads but don’t have the balls to do or say.

MN: So in understanding your brand and who you are, how difficult has it been to hire staffers who are, ultimately, other representatives of your brand?
MT: Staffing is probably one of the most challenging things because your staff has to understand your vision, and Damn is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle. So they have to live that vision as well. And so my approach to hiring staff or stylists is that they can be good at hair, but I can train that. I cannot train personality; I cannot train character; I cannot train passion. So those are the qualities that I look for when I am staffing The Damn Salon, and I will train whatever else. But it’s definitely one of the greater challenges, and it’s so important that you get the right people because, as you said, they represent your brand.

MN: And with your product line, we’ve come so far in the world of natural hair and natural hair care, in that there are tons of easily accessible products on the market.
MT: First of all, the reason Runway Curls came about is because a lot of people are going natural, but when they want to do protective styles, they don’t have very many options in terms of what hair to use. So they’re using straight hair, Malaysian hair, or whatever because that’s the only option that they have. And I wanted to create an option for us that continues to celebrate our curly hair texture. So if you’re going to do a protective style, use a hair that seamlessly matches your curl pattern and looks like the hair that grew from your mother’s and your child’s head.

So that’s why Runway Curls came about, and it’s different because Runway Curls is not just a hair line. It’s also a movement. It’s a lifestyle. Through Runway Curls, our mission is to encourage women to work together by offering an opportunity for women all around the world, and stylists all around the world, to become a part of the Runway Curls network and to financially profit in doing so.

MN: Give me a snapshot of the Atlanta hair scene, and tell me where The Damn Salon fits in.
MT: Mushiya and The Damn Salon are definitely innovators. I set the tone and I set the path of this industry I’m in and our niche. So I don’t even really look too much to see what other salons are doing because I know that they’re also looking at what we’re doing and trying to emulate what we’re doing. So as an innovator, you just continue to create.

Also, a lot of people think that the hair industry in Atlanta is so saturated and there’s so much competition. But really, there’s a market for everyone. There are billions and billions of people who do their hair, and we cannot Damn the world by ourselves. So anybody who’s in this industry needs to understand that there’s room for them. You don’t have to worry about the competition; just go ahead and do your hair and handle your business.

New Angelica Doll Allows Girls to Experiment With Twist Outs, Bantu Knots & More!

May 27th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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If you ever tried to do a twist out on Barbie’s hair — hmph — you’d be quite disappointed with the final results. But thanks to the new Angelica Doll, trying out popular natural hair styles will be a breeze.

The Angelica Doll is an 18-inch tall toy with a glorious afro that allows young girls to style kinky-textured hair into bantu knots, twist outs, curls, blow outs — you name it. Angelica also has features that are often a rarity among popular dolls on the market today.

“She has the wide nose and plump pout many young Black girls see in the mirror every day,” PopSugar said.

The mastermind behind the Angelica Doll is Angelica Sweeting, founder of Naturally Perfect Dolls. The lightbulb for this business idea switched on when Sweeting realized the dearth of kinky-textured dolls was affecting her little girl’s self-esteem. She wanted to instill self-love in her daughter and she was falling into the trap of yearning for Eurocentric beauty.

“My daughter Sophia was not happy with her kinks and curls because of the doll I was putting in her hands every day. Sophia wanted long straight hair, and she even started expressing a strong dislike for her facial features and skin tone,” Sweeting said on  her Kickstarter.

To get the Angelica Doll on toy shelves, Sweeting’s Kickstarter campaign set out to raise $25,000. So far, she’s racked up more than $46,000, with 21 days to go.

Each doll, according to PopSugar, will come with with three natural hair essentials: a miniature Denman brush, styling cream, and a spray bottle.

“I’m creating Angelica to let girls know that they are beautiful. Our girls need to see a reflection of their own unique beauty. It’s time for our young girls to have a new standard.” Sweeting said.

h/t PopSugar

13 Famous Women You Didn’t Know Rock Natural Hair

May 26th, 2015 - By Iva Anthony
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More and more women are joining team natural because they are starting to see the kinds of lasting damage chemicals can do to their hair. Plus, chemical-free locks gives women the versatility to wear their hair curly one week and straight the next. You may not have been aware, but these famous women are also down with #teamnatural.



Michelle Obama

Did you know that First Lady Michelle Obama is team natural? Celebrity stylist Johnny Wright made the revelation during an interview with The Root recently. FLOTUS has steered clear of chemicals in her hair for years now and Wright gets that famous bob bone straight with a flat iron. Would we ever see the First Lady rocking a curly ‘fro in public? “I don’t know. Maybe on vacation she will,” said Wright. “She is 100 percent natural now. It is a possibility.”

Did You Know The FLOTUS Is #TeamNatural?

May 21st, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks onstage at the Grammy Museum's Jane Ortner Education Award luncheon at The Grammy Museum Featuring: Michelle Obama Where: Los Angeles, California, United States When: 16 Jul 2014 Credit: SIPA/ **Only available for publication in Germany**


Naturalistas rejoice!

Although we don’t really need another reason to love our First Lady, here’s another: she’s a naturalista!

Yes, you read correctly. Michelle Obama stopped chemically treating her hair years ago. Celebrity stylist Johnny Wright, who takes care of the FLOTUS’ tresses, recently discussed Lady O’s hair with The Root.

Instead of relying on chemicals, Wright says that he straightens Lady O’s hair with a flat iron. While he wouldn’t say for sure whether or not we’ll ever see Mrs. Obama stepping out rocking her natural ‘fro, Wright says that it’s definitely a possibility.

“I don’t know. Maybe on vacation she will,” he shared. “She is 100 percent natural now. It is a possibility.”

While Wright says that he doesn’t subscribe to the notion of good and bad hair, he thoroughly supports the natural hair movement, which the First Lady has embraced.

“I think a lot of women are starting to see what type of damage chemicals has caused their hair over the years, and they’re really starting to embrace their curls and really embrace the fact that they can be versatile,” Wright said.

“They can wear it curly. They can wear it straight. They don’t have to really conform to any particular look. They can do it all, and that’s one thing that is going to stick. That’s the revolution part of it. … The revolution part will stick. All about curl power.”

Love it.

Check out more famous women you didn’t know are natural here.

Follow Jazmine on Twitter @JazmineDenise

Confession: My Hair Makes Me Hate Working Out

May 20th, 2015 - By Niki McGloster
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Every time I prepare to go running, my routine is the same: Throw on some workout gear, grab my headphones, find a random place to stick my keys, and pull my hair back in a struggle ponytail to stuff it under a cap. Nothing about this 10-minute prep is inconvenient, but each time I cringe at the thought of how much maintenance it’s going to take to return my hair to a presentable form after a decent sweat session.

I’ve been natural for two years now. Long enough that my hair schedule and styles are pretty set, and even if wash day does skip around, my hair doesn’t fret. It gets me. Well, it gets me most of the time.

But because my fitness routine hasn’t been this consistent since those high school track and field days, my new natch pattern has no loyalty to this change of pace. Not to mention, every switch in seasons requires me to rework my hair product concoctions in order to keep my hair moisturized, frizz-free, and my blowouts protected from impending summer humidity. That means double the not-so-fun task of trial and error with hair products and styles all over again. Yay.

When I first started working out regularly, I was letting my post-cardio hair air dry. But the tangled ‘fro that followed, especially under my resident Bad Hair Day hat, was a frightening hot mess. In the hopes of improving the look and feel of my strands, I started co-washing every other workout day to ensure my hair was clean, which helps promote hair growth and retention, right? Well, that was overdrying my hair a bit, making it a tad too brittle. Despite my best efforts, my hair isn’t really cooperating with me and my new lifestyle.

So I’m starting to wonder, is this my punishment for wanting to be my healthiest self? Are my hair goals at a standstill because my body goals are flourishing? Hardly. Though I do believe it’s a dilemma every natural girl faces at some point during her fitness journey. So how do I keep my hair cute and clean, my edges laid, maintain my style from the gym to a possible post-gym outing, and not go crazy wrestling with my hair every day?

If you thought I had the answer, I don’t (I would not have written this if I did). I have yet to find that sweet spot of looking somewhat decent after exercising. And while I struggle to salvage my hair post-workout, I don’t think it’s impossible to do so.

As the saying goes (and remains true), everyone’s hair is different.  So while throwing in quick Celie braids before hitting the gym works for some, I’m stuck with a head full of crusty tendrils after the sweat dries. (Sorry, I can’t get jiggy with chasing my summer body goals through St. Nicholas Park in a head scarf either.) It’s a process to nurture your hair to the point that everything you do with it just, well, works. And that’s just the nature of being natural. Add in the fact that you’re pounding the pavement and introducing a whole new set of elements to your ‘do every day, and it’s safe to say that managing natural hair can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when you’re trying to get your body right. It’s a whole new hair obstacle that’s not for the faint of heart.

For now, the answer for me is a protective style (thankfully a hair appointment is set for the end of the month). I can’t focus on the extra TLC my hair needs right now. And although you can’t totally abandon your tresses, even with a weave or wig, my hair and my hands needs a break because mama is tired. I do love my hair and I’m dedicated to figuring out what it needs. But until I can figure out how to successfully marry my hair goals with my new workout schedule, it will be a painful process and a long summer…for the both of us.

How Thank God I’m Natural Founder Chris-Tia Donaldson Took Her Haircare Company To Target Stores

April 29th, 2015 - By Rana Campbell
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christia donaldson thank god I'm natural.jpg

Over the past few years, the market for natural hair and body care products and services targeted specifically to women of color has increased. Many Black female entrepreneurs have found their space in the industry, becoming household names and providing inspiration to women (and men) around the world.

Meet Chris-Tia Donaldson, Harvard graduate, full-time lawyer and CEO/founder of natural hair and body care company, Thank God I’m Natural (TGIN), whose product line launched in 2013. In March 2015, TGIN started selling its products in Target stores nationwide, a process which the team documented heavily on social media.

We spoke with Chris-Tia about her business journey, what it’s really like to launch in Target, the difficulties of being a Black female CEO, and her advice for other small businesses that want to take it to the next level.

MadameNoire (MN): What inspired you to launch TGIN?
Chris-Tia Donaldson (CD): My story is one that is very common to most Black women. I was in law school, and in my final year, I decided to stop relaxing my hair. There weren’t really products on the market that were for women with curly hair.

There was a small movement on the website, Nappturality. I used that as a resource to learn as much as I could about natural hair. I wanted to take the experience and compile it into easy tips for those thinking about going natural or wanting to learn how to care for your hair. It turned into a 300-page book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring For Natural Hair. The book came out three months before the movie Good Hair. We got alot of press and publicity. I went on a book tour, talked to different women, and did events everywhere.

There were a lot of products with great packaging and marketing that didn’t deliver on promises. I thought there was an opportunity to come up with something with high quality ingredients. We wanted something that would give women versatility, but also soft, manageable, and moisturized. That’s what we stand for.

MN: What were some of the challenges you faced while transitioning from author to product developer?
CD:  Procrastination was one of my biggest challenges. Fear of starting was my biggest handicap. I didn’t have a background in chemistry, ethnic hair, packaging, bottles, sourcing ingredients, or shipping containers. There was alot of things that I didn’t know that I had to quickly come up to speed along the way. There’s still a lot of things I don’t know.


MN: How did you know TGIN was ready to be in Target stores?
CD: I don’t think you can ever be ready for this experience.  People aren’t telling you everything you need to know throughout the process. I think we knew we were ready because we knew we could produce, had a quality product, and had the building blocks that could be scalable. Our [items] came in a shipper. Our labels were good. Our production was running well. We had a system for ordering and making sure that we weren’t out of stock. For Target, we had to take what we were doing now and multiple it by “x,” but the process stays the same.

MN: What are some business lessons you learned from this Target experience?
CD: It’s all about connections. You go out looking for one thing and the next thing it’s like, “What? You are the Target people? Okay, let’s connect.” You might meet a person [and tell them your story] and they put you in touch with someone.

You have to be what the brand is looking for. Your image, packaging, who you are as a founder, your story, your business acumen, etc. Any retail outlet wants you there because you are bringing them new customers. It’s a partnership. I can’t speak for all, but most retail outlets want to work with people who understand that. You have to come to the table ready to say, “How is this relationship beneficial to both of us?”


MN: How did going through the process of selling in a large retail store affect you?
CD: You have to let the hell go. People always asked me if I was excited. Honestly, I was more stressed than anything. On one hand, I was working on my Target paperwork which was: Identify the product and ingredient. What percentage of your sales does this account for?  On the other hand, I was working with my financial institution to help me figure out a way to finance the initial inventory. With that, they needed a new life insurance policy, a lien on my car and various assets, articles of organization, documentation of who was making my stuff,  and what my Target  projections were. There was no real process. You learn a lot along the way.

MN: Are you going to try to get into other major retail stores?
CD: I want to master this one first. I tell people, “You don’t come to the Olympics to come in 10th place.” My philosophy has been to keep things tightly focused. That’s why we are not a company where we have a shampoo in 20 fragrances. I like to do things on a small scale and do them well.

MN: How did you get your customers excited about your Target Launch?
CD: The Target people originally told me they were expecting me to be in stores between March 1 and March 15. I met with people before March 1 and they asked me what I was going to do if I wasn’t in stores before March 1. I told them I didn’t know.

We turned it into a contest with our followers. We said, “If you don’t see us, ask for us.” It caused our customers to go out and pull stuff off the shelf. We made finding the product a fun experience versus me knowing the exact date of  when we would be in stores. On May 29, it will be in every store. We capitalized on the uncertainty. We turned not knowing into something that people could become excited about.

MN: What other business benefits have you seen from launching in Target and expanding your retail reach?
CD: Before we were a major retail outlet, people bought from us online or in beauty supply stores.  I’ve learned how Black women shopped. Now that we are in Target, there are people who see us in Target and will come to our website and buy it. A lot of women will see it and hear the hype, but they want to do their research. People take you a little more seriously. We were the same company before March 1, but it’s like you move to a new level. There’s a new perception of your ability as a business woman.

A lot of people said to me, “You have a Harvard degree and you are selling cream out the trunk of your car?” You damn right I am. Guess what? I’m in Target now, 250 stores. There were a lot of people along the way that thought I was another girl in the park selling soaps and shea butter. Maybe I was, but I knew how to do this thing in a way that you get a certain result.

You can take a “natural,” “earthy,” or “personal relationship-driven” business, and with the right business structure to it, take it to the next level. You can have a passion and still be grassroots and do business on a large-scale.

MN: What is it like being a Black CEO in the beauty industry today?
CD: Being a female CEO and a Black female CEO, sometimes it’s hard to say you want to be number one. People look at you like you are crazy. People think that you should be happy to be here at this level. Like I said, you don’t go to the Olympics to come in 10th place. As women, we have a hard time embracing each other in the quest to be the best. Women are not taught to be competitive. If a little girl in ballet says she wants to be the soloist [and is chosen], we are taught to think, “Oh my gosh…they chose me! I’m so lucky!”

As a Black female CEO, some people are taken aback by you wanting to be the best. You have to give yourself permission to say you want to be at the top. A lot of women struggle with articulating that or thinking it’s acceptable.

MN: What’s next for TGIN?
CD: When you first get into Target, you are on a probationary period as part of an evaluation. Once we get over that, I’d  like to take a vacation. In terms of the company, I want to see it do well. I want to get into more stores, beauty supplies, Whole Foods… I want to knock all of that out.

Rana Campbell is a freelance writer and marketing/branding strategist. Connect with her on TwitterFacebook, Instagram, Linkedin or visit

Trichologist Dr. Kari Williams Speaks On Preserving Your New Color And Restoring Damaged Hair For Spring

April 15th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Last week we introduced you to Dr. Kari Williams, a very talented and intelligent board certified trichologist and stylist to the stars. As she prepares to share her knowledge with hundreds of thousands of women at the Kinky Hair Unlocked hair expo in Atlanta on April 24, Dr. Williams divulged some of the hair dos and don’ts for us that she will share with followers, fans, and naturalistas next week.

She previously shared her advice on the right way to wear braids without losing your edges, and why she doesn’t think women should run for their lives when they find silicones and sulfates in their hair products. This time around, she’s speaking to us about preserving our bright and bold hair colors for spring, and what we should do to strengthen and restore hair damaged during winter. Let’s get to it.

Tips To Maintaining A New Color And The Right Products To Use

When you get a color that’s completely different from your natural color, you want to find products that are formulated for color-treated hair. Color is a chemical. The way that it stains and penetrates the hair shaft, you want to make sure that not only are you keeping the hair well-conditioned, but that you’re keeping the color vibrant. There are certain ingredients in chemicals that help maintain that vibrancy.

Look for products only for color-treated hair. There are serums you can put on the hair that maintain shine for color-treated hair because there are some color products that will cause the hair to become very coarse and dry. That always leads to breakage. So I always tell my clients, when you’re natural, you have to give your hair as much attention, care, and conditioning as if you were to use any other chemical on your hair. At the end of the day, the results won’t be the same if it’s not maintained.

Why Naturalistas Shouldn’t Scoff At Color-Treated Hair Products That Aren’t Specifically Made For Black Hair

People think, “Well, I’m natural, so that’s not going to work for my hair type.” I think that’s another misconception within the natural hair care industry. Because of the popularity of the hair typing system, we don’t have the knowledge of products that are actually going to benefit our hair. And when it comes to color-treated hair, it doesn’t matter if it’s curly or straight–it’s now color treated. Now it’s the color-treated type. You want to invest in shampoos and conditioners that are going to treat your hair now that is colored. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still use your other styling products to help enhance the curl and set your hair, but you want to switch your shampoo and conditioner.

Ultimately, if you’re not retouching the color, the color will naturally fade. The ends of your hair are the oldest and they’ll become more weathered, so the color will fade naturally.