Though beauty pioneer and expert Rochelle Graham-Campbell is widely recognized for her role as the owner of Alikay Naturals, she has decided to switch lanes and develop an extension of her brand into the feminine wash space. A few weeks ago, the leading natural hair brand announced the launch of its cruelty-free and natural feminine care line, “HER by Alikay,” a collection of gently formulating pH-balanced products for normal and sensitive skin types. With key ingredients including water, witch hazel, aloe vera, and rosa damascena flower water, the HER by Alikay collection has created the perfect regimen for your feminine needs with the help of the HER Foaming Feminine Wash and HER Feminine Refreshing Spray.
HelloBeautiful caught up with Rochelle about the HER by Alikay launch, the importance of women empowerment and embracing femininity through feminine products and her personal experience with feminine hygiene. Take a look at the conversation below!
What was the inspiration behind a feminine wash collection?
My inspiration behind creating HER by Alikay was about positioning Alikay Naturals to be a full-service beauty and wellness brand for our customers. For the past eleven and a half, we’ve provided quality products and solutions for our customers’ hair, skin, bodies, babies and for their homes, but we were not servicing and providing solutions for one of the most sensitive parts of a woman’s body: her vagina!
I feel women of color can be neglected in the feminine care industry so I wanted to bring a unique voice and narrative to the industry and space – a voice that spoke to the concerns women of color have about their feminine area but were too afraid or uncomfortable to talk about. Through HER by Alikay, we encourage women to feel empowered to normalize conversations around their vaginas. There are still so many chemicals that are used in feminine care products and that can have harmful effects on women. HER by Alikay is a natural alternative to feminine care products, it keeps your pH balanced, and it feels refreshing.
What’s your experience like with other feminine products?
I grew up using the same brands I think a lot of us grew up using because there weren’t many options. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the importance of natural ingredients in self-care products. I wasn’t knowledgeable about the effects of negative chemicals in products. I would use feminine washes that were packed with chemicals and it would irritate me. The products I was using were very harsh on my feminine area.
Education about proper feminine care was missing when I was an adolescent. Information that should’ve been passed down from generation to generation hadn’t and I believe it’s because the women before us also weren’t properly educated about feminine care products. It’s important that women use different products for their feminine area and not the same products that they use on their bodies. The same way we use a face wash for facial cleansing, women should use a proper wash for their feminine areas. They should use HER!
How difficult was it to shift your attention from beauty and haircare to feminine products?
Making the shift from haircare to feminine care was not difficult for me because I kept the same mindset and strategy. My focus was to create a product-based natural solution for customers – just like we have been with Alikay Naturals. Now we’ve created a natural solution for a new region of the body.
What makes your products different from others?
We are different from our competitors because we are focused on using naturally derived ingredients to create healthy solutions for women. HER by Alikay was made by a woman and we want to empower women to speak confidently – and without shame – about feminine care. Women should demand the best in their beauty products and in their feminine care products.
What are the major challenges of running a Black-owned business?
Some of the major challenges with running a Black owned business is the lack of access to capital, certain networks, and resources. Black owned businesses also receive limited access to mentorships. We’re usually first generation business owners and may not have prior business connections or guidance.
What advice do you have for other beauty entrepreneurs?
Beauty entrepreneurs: Make sure you bring something unique and creative to the space. Don’t focus on what everyone else is doing. Focus on what your unique spin is in the beauty industry and create what you wish existed.
All entrepreneurs: Always trust your gut. A lot of new entrepreneurs enter spaces and second guess their own judgment. I have found that trusting your gut will take you far. Also, I challenge you to always continue to expand your mind and learn something new. In my book, “90 Days to CEO” I talk about the importance of leadership growth. An organization can only continue to grow if its leader continues to grow as an individual and as a CEO.