My Curls is a brand new line of natural hair care products for people with curly and afro hair.
Founded by Victoria Olubi in October this year, My Curls embraces natural hair providing customers with the right tools and information to care for their natural hair properly.
The London based company currently features three products – My Curls Coco Curly Conditioner; Curl Smoothie and Cleansing Cream.
Why did you decide to start your business?
I decided to start my business after struggling to find natural products for my hair. So many of the hair products targeted at women of colour are laden with unnatural and even harmful ingredients. I knew that natural products were more effective for my hair, and others, so I wanted to create a line that provided natural hair with great moisture and nourishment.
My decision to create My Curls was really based on a need for the products and my ambition to create a brand that promoted healthy hair care.
What was your career path prior to starting your first business? Did you always know you would be an entrepreneur?
I graduated from university in a completely non-business related subject but I had always wanted to run my own business.
I knew deep down that I wanted to do something different and perhaps unconventional in comparison to my peers. I knew from a young age that I wanted to run my own business but throughout my time at university I didn’t necessarily know what path that would be.
I also doubted whether I could really run a business and went through stages of thinking that I would probably get a city job and follow a traditional career path.
Shortly after graduating I remember hearing Oprah Winfrey say something along the lines of “if you follow what you truly love, the money will follow.” That was a wake-up call and I realised that I needed to simply follow my passion.
I wanted to build a business that educated women on healthy hair practices and provided exceptionally effective products. Now that I am running a business, I can’t really see myself working for someone else, at least not for long.
Tell me more about the My Curls brand, what makes your products unique?
I would say that my products are unique because I carefully select the ingredients I use based on extensive research. My products beautify and strengthen natural hair without build-up or residue.
I also think the focus on healthy hair makes my brand unique because a lot of companies fail to educate their customers about healthy hair practices. I want my customers to be well informed and feel empowered when purchasing My Curls products.
Where can I buy your products?
My products are available for sale 24/7 on the company website. You can purchase products individually or buy a set of products and receive a discount.
What are you working on at the moment? Can you describe your typical working day?
At the moment I am working on building brand awareness. I am also considering adding a product to the line that caters more to tightly coiled hair.
My typical working day starts off with checking and responding to emails, updating social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, adding content to my website, shipping products and then researching PR opportunities. I also take time to read natural hair websites and blogs so that I am up to date on the latest topics within the natural hair scene.
What have been the highlights of running your own business?
For me there is no better feeling than receiving a positive review or feedback from customers. It gives me the motivation to keep going and to make sure that I provide exceptional products and customer service.
Another highlight is the freedom to steer your business, and life, in any direction; essentially being the captain of your own ship.
What is the hardest part of running your own business?
The hardest part at the moment is not having a team, staff or a business partner. It can be very difficult to manage everything on your own and make decisions without always having someone else to provide an alternative viewpoint.
On the other hand, it is a blessing as well because it has taught me to be independent and more decisive.
What strategy did you use to launch your business?
I decided to sell my products via an online store as it would enable me to reach customers from around the globe and was also the most cost-effective option.
I’ve used a mixture of word of mouth and online marketing to promote my business but I’m now focusing a lot more on off-line marketing strategies.
What, or who, inspires and motivates you?
There are a lot of people who motivate me, including my family. As for role models, I have been inspired by Madame C.J. Walker since reading her autobiography when I was 15. She overcame hurdles that most of us cannot fathom and still went on to become the first self-made black female millionaire.
I am also inspired by entrepreneurs like Duncan Bannatyne, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Gardner.
What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve received?
“Follow your passion and the money will follow.” That’s a message that Oprah constantly reiterates and I believe to be true.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a hair product company?
I would advise do lots of research, especially with regards to manufacturing products, marketing and catering to a specific market. I would also say get to know your target demographic well and think of how to best market to that demographic.
Fast forward five years, where do you think your business will be in 2015?
In 2015, I would like for My Curls to be a well-established, internationally recognised brand with customers from across the globe.
I would like to have expanded the range of products and to also have a loyal stream of customers who support the brand.
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For more information on My Curls visit www.mycurls.co.uk. The website hosts a section that discusses hair issues and provides advice. If you have a specific issue or query Victoria encourages you to fill in the contact form and she will do her best to help.
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Victoria Olubi was interviewed by Octavia Goredema, founder of the Twenty Ten Club.