Tag: hair

INTERVIEW: Treasure Tress – product box for Kinky Curly Hair


I was frustrated with the lack of quality products for natural hair and the poor customer service experienced when buying products. So I took things in to my own hands and started TreasureTress UK in November 2015, says Jamelia Donaldson, Founder.

I met Jamelia at an African Technology Business Network (ATBN) event focussed on up and coming online businesses. Jamelia was on the panel and I thought the concept of her business was perfect for my blog, so I asked for an interview to find out more! It wasn’t easy to match up our schedules so we settled for a telephone interview. On a cold January night in London this was the best (and warmest) option.  Despite her car being broken into (but not stolen), Jamelia still showed up for the call, so we jumped straight in…

Women are at the forefront of this latest natural movement; but children seem to be at the heart of TreasureTress?

Initially TreasureTress was supposed to be for young girls because I wanted my niece to grow up knowing how to take care of her natural hair. I only learnt how to take care of my natural hair at university and didn’t want her to wait that long before feeling comfortable with her hair texture.

“We focus on young girls as a starting point for everything we do. There is already lots of  natural hair information for women. Young girls are growing up in an era where they are susceptible to social media; which also represents an opportunity to engage them to celebrate natural hair.”

tt-mini-me
A TreasureTress Mini-Me

Who else does TreasureTress cater for?

There’s a monthly ‘Mini-Me’ subscription box for young girls, aged 2-9 years.  After so much positive response from older women we expanded the range, creating two additional boxes for ‘Tweens’ aged 10-18 years and for the ‘Qweens’ aged 19 years and older.

tt-collage
After high demand, Tweens and Qweens were added.

How does TreasureTress work?

You can subscribe throughout the year. If you order your box before the third of any month, you’ll receive it within that month, otherwise it will come the following month. It’s a rolling subscription, renewing every month but you’re notified about this via email. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time, so if you’re on holiday or don’t need products each month you can pause and continue later. We also educate, by sending weekly newsletters and information cards.

“The relationship with our subscribers is quite intimate; there’s a constant dialogue”.

What products are in the TreasureTress boxes?

I have regular conversations with our subscribers about what they think of the service and useful products. Based on the feedback, I decide which products go into the box each month which usually comprises, a shampoo, conditioner, two styling products such as a gel and oil/serum.

treasure-tress

Beyond the subscription boxes, how do you engage with your customers?

Last year we launched the Mini-Me VIP Tea Party, for ages 2-11 years. We invite mothers and their daughters to central London for Afternoon Tea. It’s so nice for young black / mixed-race girls to experience having Afternoon Tea with their mothers – something they may not do regularly. We also discuss hair and do product demonstrations.

Our Mini-Me VIP Tea Parties, sell out all the time. Mothers have said how positive it’s for their daughters to be in an environment with other little girls who look like them, celebrating their hair.

Why the name ‘TreasureTress’?

It’s a play on words [‘treasure chest’]. I want women and girls to treasure their tresses / hair. Getting to know your natural hair and discovering new products is an adventure. When you think of treasure: luxury, gems, gold and diamonds come to mind and I want our subscribers to value their hair in the same way.

What’s the TreasureTress ethos?

Our tag line is ‘the hunt is over’, we’re helping women find products that work for them, through a luxurious customer experience. A lot of thought goes into the box presentation.

“Growing up, I was always obsessed with hair but didn’t have access to the products and YouTube wasn’t around back then”.

Do you operate only in the UK?

That was the idea, but we now have subscribers in the Middle East, America and the rest of Europe, especially France.

Do you work with British haircare brands?

We work with British and American, established and new brands. I use brands that I’m familiar with and tried myself. I’m always on the hunt for new brands and ask for samples to try before recommending.

“I had a few years of being a product junkie, which set me up perfectly for this business!”

 

treasure-tress-logo

The main highlight of running TreasureTress?

There are so many, but is has to be the Mini-Me VIP Tea Parties.

The biggest lesson you’ve learnt?

Trusting my instincts. I worked in finance and tried to build TreasureTress at the same time, but I knew finance wasn’t my purpose. I was saving money and set a deadline of when I’d be working for myself and be in charge of my own time. I stuck to that deadline!

What’s in store for 2017?

Hopefully more collaborations and there will be more Mini-Me VIP Tea Parties.

We’ll be launching our first event for teenagers (Tweens) in April this year, it won’t be a tea party but we’re still working on the format. We’re not hosting hair events just for the sake of it, there’s always a deeper message behind what we do.

******

You can keep up with all the TreasureTress events and get 10% off your first months subscription box, using my special discount code ADIASPORA.

Ad+s Diaspora Blog:

Snippets of an African legacy

www.adsdiaspora.com

Twitter: @adsdiaspora

Instagram:@ads_diaspora

www.facebook.com/adsdiaspora

Hot Seat: The Good Hair Club


Good hair…hmm.. two simple words that have caused controversy on social media in recent times. But what is good hair?!

You can define it however you want; I think it starts with healthy hair, says Oyin, Founder of The Good Hair Club (TGHC). In the black hair community, unfortunately it’s still defined as having a specific (looser) curl pattern, but perceptions are changing with this latest natural hair movement.

natural hair, British brands
Oyin – Founder of TGHC @Goodhairclubuk

 

What is TGHC?

An online platform with (at the moment) independent British hair care brands, that compliment natural hair. TGHC is about being good to yourself, your hair and the world – while defining beauty on your own terms.

Why was TGHC started?

From March 2015 I lived in Nigeria for a while and decided to shave my hair off. It was just too hot! I came back to London, and chose not to relax my hair again.  When my hair was relaxed I didn’t think about the damage these chemicals could cause or even considered how to look after my hair properly.

tghc-2

What was it like for you looking for natural hair products?

I found so many amazing (independent) brands catering for natural hair. However, they weren’t always easy to find, as they don’t always have the distribution channels to reach customers.

We don’t have to settle for products which damage our hair and scalp!

 

When was TGHC launched?

June 2016, with a photography exhibition showcasing the diversity of black women. Prior to launch I did a lot of research, speaking to friends and family about where TGHC could add value in the market place.

Do you think the UK natural hair market is growing?

Yes! Social media has provided black beauty bloggers/vloggers the opportunity to create a fun space for tools/advice; and visual evidence of what can be achieved with natural afro/curly hair.

There is proof that natural hair isn’t IMPOSSIBLE to maintain. Women are wearing their natural hair with pride.

How do you decide which brands to feature on TGHC?

Along with looking at brand reviews, I talk to the brand owners to understand if their values are in line with the TGHC ethos. I’m not limited to British brands, but this is where I’m starting.

tghc

A large proportion of black haircare businesses in the UK are owned by Asian or Middle Eastern men, why do you think this is?

I don’t know. It’s the same in America. Black people need to empower and support each other and build our own establishments. When I went natural and visited these shops, I realised that we settle for an experience that isn’t about us (even though we are the main consumers). I’m a black woman and believe I have a better idea of black beauty needs, compared to an Asian man.

I want to create an experience that is fun, exciting, fashionable and beauty-led.

Most popular products on TGHC?

Moisture is key for healthy hair, so conditioners are popular, especially with the rise of co-washing. Soap bars and oils are also near the top of the list.

Autumn is upon us, any product recommendations?

I recommend them all! It’s about finding what works for your hair type. The natural hair journey is an individual one. Products used in colder months may be different from what you use in the summer.

Exciting developments we can look out for?

I’ve got an international project coming in 2017; I won’t say much at the moment, but watch this space. I’m also planning on bringing more amazing brands to TGHC.

Any natural hair inspirations?

Of course! Solange is the embodiment of the care free black girl. Lupita Nyong’o has challenged western beauty ideas. Most importantly, both have fun with their hair.

Solange scored her first #1 Album (A Seat at the Table) a few weeks ago.

 

Good hair, don’t care! You can check out TGHC to find out more.

Ad+s Diaspora:

Snippets of an African legacy

Twitter: @adsdiaspora

Instagram:@ads_diaspora

www.facebook.com/adsdiaspora

 

How much do we know about afro/curly hair?


Knowledge is power!

I have what is classed as “4C” afro hair and been natural for over 10 years. Before then I experimented with weaves, braids and relaxers. I decided to go natural after realising my hair was “allergic” to chemical relaxers (self-diagnosis!).

When my hair was relaxed it was ‘easier to manage’ but I noticed a lot of breakage. Yes, I said it – ‘easier to manage’. I’ve used that phase in reference to my chemically relaxed hair and I regret it.

I was ignorant.

I was ignorant about my own natural hair, because I didn’t take time to understand it! Even when I went natural, I still didn’t really understand how my hair works. Only in the last 4 years, I’ve taken time to understand my hair and I’m still learning (due to its versatility). Now my natural hair is ‘easier to manage’, because I understand what it likes.

I remember hating water touching my hair became I was scared of shrinkage. Now I know water is my hairs best friend and shrinkage is to embraced.

The great thing about the ‘natural hair movement’ –  there is so much information out there (which can be overwhelming at times), so the journey is always an individual one, involving trial and error. I’ve learnt that even if someone has the same hair texture as me, products they use may not always work for me.

We all have differences in opinion on what works for natural hair, and some information may seem contradictory. It’s up to you to test and decide what’s right for your hair. 

If you have any advice or tips, please share in the comments section as we all learn from each other. Finally, some last tips on maintaining moisture – a must for afro/curly textured hair.

Ad+s Diaspora:

Snippets of an African legacy

Twitter: @adsdiaspora

Instagram:@ads_diaspora

www.facebook.com/adsdiaspora

google.com/+AdsDiaspora

 

 

 

No ‘Fro Zone! – Natural hair at work


IS NATURAL HAIR PREJUDICE SHRINKING IN THE WORKPLACE?

Afro hair in the workplace

Historically afro/curly/textured hair hasn’t, had an easy ride. In attempts to align with a European beauty ideal, women (and men) have forced their hair to conform. However, in 2016, in arguably the most significant era of the natural-hair movement since its prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, women have embraced their freedom and started revelling in their natural hair beauty. But will unspoken ‘rules’ of the workplace undercut this natural hair revival? In the world of celebrity, natural hair is increasingly in the spotlight – thanks largely to individuals such as Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o, British singer Jameila and Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo.

Their decision to wear their hair natural hasn’t hindered their careers, but for the not-so famous, the psychological battle of deciding whether to wear natural hair to work continues.

“One weekend I took out my weave and went to work on Monday with my natural hair,” says Annie from Manchester, who works in finance. “I was so apprehensive when I first went in. Being the only black woman in the department, everyone was staring and talking about it … There were some negative but also some positive comments. Colleagues were quite shocked, [some] even touched my hair!”

Annie is not the only one to experience the ‘hands-on’ approach. “When I started wearing my natural hair to work, there was lots of fascination – colleagues asked to touch it”, says Belinda from London, who works in market research. “I do get positive comments, but I don’t see why I should give full-blown explanations about my hair at work – it’s hair, it’s just a different texture to yours. Views about natural hair are so entrenched, we don’t even realise. If I worked somewhere and they told me to cover my natural hair, I wouldn’t work there anymore.”

Increasingly, anecdotes of black women experiencing problems after wearing their natural hair at work have been surfacing in the media. Earlier this year, ‘Leila’ from London reported that she was told by her employer to wear a weave to work. “I am West African and I work at a consultancy firm in London,” she told the BBC.  “I am always being made to feel that my natural hair gives the impression that I am unprofessional”. Leila subsequently changed her hairstyle, fearing her natural hair would become an obstacle to career progression.

Another Londoner, Simone Powderly, claimed she was told by a recruitment agency to remove her braids before being put forward for interviews with luxury designer brands. She declined. Meanwhile Canadian waitress Akua Agyemfra was reprimanded at work after her manager allegedly told her to wear her hair down, to which she replied, my hair doesn’t really “go down”.

Unfortunately, many people of all races have inherited the fallacy that afro hair is ‘unprofessional’.

“I think it’s an issue that women of colour can’t feel confident and feel they have to navigate the workspace, hiding their natural hair”, says Oyin Akiniyi (pictured), founder of The Good Hair Club online beauty store.

African fashion
This article as featured in Dual Magazine, in association with Africa Utopia festival 2016.

“The idea that only straight hair is professional is ludicrous”. Nevertheless, it remains a common concern – even for Neecie Gold, co-founder of The Natural Hair Daily, which ran an afro-hair meetup and workshop at Africa Utopia, sharing natural-hair style tips and celebrating the versatility of natural hair. “I was a bit nervous about going natural to work,” says Gold. “At the time I was working for a car dealership, but I just confidently rocked it. “As I’m natural now and trying to branch away from the industry I’m in, I’ve found it quite difficult to secure interviews, which does make me question whether my LinkedIn profile picture is a reason for this. It’s a shame there is some ignorance among some employers regarding natural hair. Employers should judge people based on whether they can do the actual job.”

To wash away lingering, archaic prejudices, natural hair needs to be more visible in the workplace. Unless natural hair becomes a ubiquitous feature in our culture it may always face resistance. If people with naturally straight hair are not forced to wear their hair in an un-natural state, the same latitude should be extended to those with afro/curly textured hair.”

This post was also featured in Dual Magazine in association with Africa Utopia festival 2016.

 

Ad+s Diaspora:

Snippets of an African legacy

Twitter: @adsdiaspora

Instagram:@ads_diaspora

www.facebook.com/adsdiaspora

google.com/+AdsDiaspora

Inspiration for short natural haircuts


Many naturals are concerned with hair length, when it should be about hair health! For thousands of years African women have creatively styled their hair in various ways. Historically, African hairstyles have always been a sign of identity, including social status and indication of the geographical region they are from. For some tribes like the Massai, short/shaved hair is gender neutral and seen as a rite of passage through various stages of life.

If you’re thinking about doing the big chop, whether you want to keep it short and simple or get a bit more creative, see below for some hairspiration and tips!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Styling

 

The full process

Tips

Ad+s Diaspora:

Snippets of an African legacy

Twitter: @adsdiaspora

Instagram:@ads_diaspora

www.facebook.com/adsdiaspora

google.com/+AdsDiaspora

Picture credits
Authenticallyb.com – Pintrest
Taylor Hill Getty Images – Lupita
Strawberricurls -Pintrest
Featured image: Danai Gurira (from Tracey Parson Pintrest)