Keepin’ It Natural: The Mastermind Behind The Curly Nikki Brand
For the natural haired divas, Curly Nikki is most likely a household name. But for those of you who aren’t as versed in the black natural hair blogging sites, Curly Nikki is one of the largest and most comprehensive sites for everything natural hair. Founded by St. Louis native Nikki Walton three years ago, the site shares Walton’s personal hair journey as well as hair tips and products, and has helped countless fans in their journey to maintain the health of their natural tresses. The site is so popular it has even been featured on the Tyra Banks Show, the New York Times, USA Today and the Huffington Post. Black Enterprise took a moment to sit down with the entrepreneur to learn a bit more about her story.
“We live in a world where straight hair is Queen. It’s the standard. It’s all we saw growing up, on TV, in magazines [was] straight, long, flowing, silky, shiny, “desirable” hair,” Walton said. “Meanwhile, many of us have hair that is naturally the opposite—coily and curly; shrinks up to mask length; and is more cottony than silky. Even a blind man could see what a lifetime of these images could do to a person.”
For Walton, natural hair became her passion; she even gave it more time than studying for grad school. After observing the reaction from friends and family as she began her hair transition, she looked to the Internet for help and support.
“I realized that for most newly natural women, the only safe haven and source of support was online,” she told Black Enterprise. “I loved the friendly atmosphere and thorough info. The women there quickly embraced me, taught me lots, and soon came to anticipate and respect my advice and reviews.”
Walton received so much encouragement that she decided to start her own blog. Three years later, she says, “what started off as a $10 investment in a hobby, has blossomed into a profitable career.”
She owes her success to her work ethnic. While her input online may leave viewers to believe there are several working under her, Walton discloses that she’s on the computer 24/7 talking to other bloggers, responding to emails and social networking.
“The brand is not some anonymous drone,” she said. “It’s me—my face, my experiences, my voice.”
Most importantly, Walton doesn’t let advertising get in the way of helping out her avid viewers. She puts her brand first and only endorses products she truly believes in and always keeps in mind why she started the brand and what her readers expect.
But while creating and running an innovative brand that inspires black woman everywhere and receives national attention, the profession and success is not without its drawbacks.
“Most people don’t understand that a lifestyle blog is a personal sacrifice,” she told Black Enterprise. “For I don’t take off, in fact, last year I blogged more during that time. I hope people appreciate that. Every day you spend thinking about the next article, the next picture, the next story. It’s difficult to live in the moment.”
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