“Sometimes We Have A Hard Time Asking For Help:” Mahisha Dellinger On Launching CURLS Girls Rule the World
“I didn’t really have mentors in my life and if I did I feel I could have done things earlier, I could have avoided some pitfalls, and I could have had someone to help guide my way as an entrepreneur,” said Mahisha Dellinger, founder and CEO of natural hair care products company CURLS. Dellinger also created CURLS Girls Rule the World: Empowering Entrepreneurs Luncheon. The event, which is co-sponsored by MadameNoire, takes place April 1 in Harlem, New York, and will host 100 girls of color, ages 12-24, from Westchester and New York City, helping them tap into their entrepreneurial spirit.
“I started this program because I wanted to give young girls of color the opportunities to be mentored that I didn’t have,” said Dellinger. “For the event we will bring in 25 mentors to partner with these young girls to share their experiences and life lessons. These women will really be invested in the lives of the girls participating.”
The luncheon will include “Mentor Match Up,” where girls will be paired with the program’s “Celebrity Expert Mentors” who will have lunch with the girls and share their personal lessons in business and life. Confirmed mentors include award-winning novelist Zane; acclaimed R&B singer Vivian Green; Ohio State Representative and President of the Ohio Black Caucus, The Honorable Alicia Reece; as well as Emmy Award-winning Reality/TV Talk Show Producer of the “T.D. Jakes Show” Adriane Hopper Williams. Brande Victorian, Managing Editor of Madamenoire.com is also participating.
Founded in 2002, CURLS counts celebrities Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Nia Long, Tia Mowry, Chili of the Grammy award-winning R&B group, TLC, Blair Underwood, Ashanti, Yvette Nicole Brown, and Echo Kellum among its customers. Curls products are sold nationwide in Target, Sally’s Beauty Supply, Rite Aid, CVS and Duane Reed. Given the success she’s experienced as an entrepreneur, Dellinger wants to be sure she’s paying it forward.
“I think in our community sometimes we have hard time asking for help, especially Black women. We think we need to be strong Black women and do it all ourselves, but this can make the process longer, and full of pitfalls you could have avoided. It’s important to help one another,” she said.
That help won’t just come out of the one-day event April 1, the mentors will continue to work with the girls long after the luncheon. “They will call, Facetime, have local visits. The follow-up is very important,” said Dellinger. And next year the program will expand into a two-day conference.