Did you ever watch WE tv’s reality show Love Thy Sister with Ione Rucker, Ellen Rucker Carter, and Ruby Rucker? Three years ago, the show gained the siblings a fan base that Ione and Ellen now hope to build on with their own haircare line.
The sisters created Rucker Roots soon after the show wrapped. But after some fine tuning, the sisters have decided to relaunch the haircare line which allows women to keep their natural hair healthy while still wearing sleek and glam styles, even after applying heat to their tresses. Beginning in February, the products will not only be available online but at beauty supply stores nationwide.
Both sisters were formerly married to NBA stars (Ione to Antwan Jamison and Ellen to Vince Carter) which afforded them some valuable contacts when it came time to build their own brand. “Our connection to the NBA world has definitely helped in this venture,” Ione said. “We met so many influential people through the NBA wives’ organization. We have lifelong friendships with many of the ladies.”
The reality show was also a plus. “Love Thy Sister came about because of good friends Datari Turner, who is a Hollywood director, and Lesley Compton who saw something in our family that they thought needed to be shared on TV. We are very close-knit families who all have advanced degrees with big personalities. Datari felt the need for America to know our family,” explained Ione. “Reality TV was never something we really wanted to do, but doing a family reality show with a producer we knew and trusted seemed like a fun idea. We both had been approached to do other reality TV prior to getting our own show, but felt it wasn’t for us. Ultimately, having a family show was the selling point for us.”
She added, “Love Thy Sister was an amazing experience. We gained some really loyal fans that still to this day talk about the show.”
Even while doing the show, the sisters were thinking of developing their brand. “We were working on formulations for Rucker Roots while taping Love Thy Sister so many of our fans have seen Rucker Roots grow from the very beginning, which we think is pretty neat,” noted Ione. “Love Thy Sister was a laughing pad for Rucker Roots. We gained a fan base that are still loyal consumers. With the hectic scheduling of the show, however, we feel like we did not give enough focus on our brand at the time.”
According to Ione, the sisters have always been interested in the hair business. “We started Rucker Roots because we have always had a passion for healthy hair. Our paternal grandmother, Ruth (who is deceased), was a hair model back in the 1930s for a pioneer in the African-American hair industry. Our mother, Ruby, was a strong advocate for natural haircare. When we became mothers to our daughters who are now 12 years old, we found ourselves doing some of the same ‘kitchen concoctions’ our mother used on our hair. Then one day we decided to pursue our passion and bottle the products that were working so well on our girl’s hair.”
What makes the brand unique, said the sisters, is that it works on all types of hair. “Rucker Roots is a natural hair care system that will work on all hair types. It has no chemicals so it will not affect your natural curl pattern; no artificial color so it will not interfere with color treated hair; and no parabens or sulfates so no drying the hair out. Our niche is our root oils that help with moisturizing hair, stimulating growth, and promoting a healthy scalp,” said Ione.
She added, “Our products are wonderful on different textures of hair so we have a wide range of people who have had success with the use of our products. Rucker Roots products are 100% vegan; sulfate free, paraben free, no artificial colors. Our products have carrot, turnip, and ginger root oils as the most prominent ingredient, which makes us special and different from other products. We just really want to promote healthy, strong, and growing hair.”
While the pair was happy with their initial line of products they thought they needed to revamp this year. “We wanted to reintroduce the brand with a fresh and more catching look,” explained Ione. “We know that we have winning formulas but we wanted to enhance our image and look to draw attention to the products.” And with the show behind them, the sisters have more time to concentrate on the company. “We have dedicated ourselves to our brand. We work every day on promoting and improving our products. When we first launched, the show was so hectic and we truly did not focus on promoting our products. Now, we are laser focused on the brand,” shared Ione.
The bestsellers in the line are the Anti-Frizz Silkening Growth Serum and the Detangling Conditioner. And the sisters each have their own favorites. “I love the Conditioner; I use it as a co-wash when wearing my hair curly. As well as a deep conditioner if I need a treatment,” offered Ellen. For Ione, “The Anti-Frizz Growth Serum is my favorite. It is lightweight and I love how it stimulates growth.”
Although relaunching the brand has been a major undertaking, working with family has made the task easier, Ione said. “The benefits of working with family are we have complete trust in each other. We talk, at a minimum, of 20 times a day and feed off of each other very well. We know each other strengths and weaknesses. This, however, can also become a challenge because we know what and how to ‘strike a nerve’ because we do know each other so well.”
Added Ione, “We also live close together and know each other’s schedules and help with each other’s kids, all of which are benefits of working together to create our brand.”