It’s a beautiful time to be an entrepreneur. Now more than ever, Black women have been able to create a product, and use social media or word of mouth as a way to market their brand. Left and right, women of color are leaving the traditional work-life behind and exploring what it means to be their own boss. Because of this, it is extremely important to pour back into our community by supporting black-owned, women-owned businesses.
One of the most profitable markets for women of color is the hair care industry. Black hair upkeep is a cultural staple that our community is committed to. We take our weaves, braids, and natural hair very seriously. Beyond the self-expression that lies behind each style, is the pride we feel when we can flaunt our healthy, natural (or permed) hair. In honor of Women’s History Month, we interviewed 3 entrepreneurs who started their own business in the haircare industry. Each woman will be featured for the duration of March.
Los Angeles based entrepreneur and beautician Marshay Nicole has been cooking up her own beauty products for almost 6 years as the head of her line boasting her name. Over that time, she would use her products on her clients. Eventually, she decided to capitalize on the oils that contributed to the growth of each person’s hair that that was touched by her hands.
Marshay wanted to bring a needed change to the haircare industry. “I recognized that something was missing. Me! Why was I educating my clients EVERYDAY about other brands? Why wasn’t I capitalizing off of something that was literally on my lap?” Marshay said. “I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, or what the process was. But I knew I possessed the knowledge, the passion and the desire. That was all I needed. My God baby and her early years of alopecia also played a huge role in deciding to take my products to the streets. It was natural. It was working. it was PROFIT,” Marshay continued.
Marshay makes a variety of products, but her most notable one is her Scalp Growth Oil + Serum ($30.00, www.MarshayNicole.com). The serum was designed to nourish and maintain healthy hair. “In the last 6 years, I’ve decided to take more natural and holistic approaches to my self care. I’ve seen drastic improvements. It’s no secret that Mother Nature provides all that we need. For years, I’ve researched healing oils, remedies. roots. herbs, etc. This is all incorporated in my Hair Care and Hair Care Line. Every single ingredient was added with intention,” she said.
Because haircare is so important to our community, there is an oversaturated market full of products. This means nothing to Marshay. As a matter of fact, she welcomes other brands to the winning table. When it comes to competing brands she says, “that’s not my concern. Nor my business. I know and live by the fact that there’s more than enough for everyone to eat. Yasss Queen! Do you.”
Although Marshay’s products can be used in both natural and processed hair, she is passionate highlighting one’s natural beauty. “I think the Natural Hair Movement is amazing and says a lot more than most people realize. Representation is important. Our babies need to see themselves in us. An 8-year-old isn’t rocking a lace front or 30 inch ponytail. But she can relate to that fro’, Or those braids. She can see herself in your boss lady shoes. She can visualize. Visualization is key.”
Starting a business can be a scary road to travel. It involves a certain level of uncertainty that enables you to take a chance on yourself. Marshay offered some advice to anyone on the fence about getting started. “I know it all sounds so cliche, but you have to leap. You have to switch it up to get some different results. WRITE IT DOWN. Imagine yourself where you want to be. Worry and fear are crippling. Begin telling yourself you can, and you will.”
Supporting black-owned, women-owned businesses create a blueprint that empower the rest of our peers. It’s great to highlight entrepreneurs who are already in target, but what about the ones who are on their way there? You can follow Marshay on Instagram @Marshay.Nicole, and you can learn more about her business at www.MarshayNicole.com.