In 2010 I was a struggling university graduate with no job, no money and more time on my hands than I could handle. In the midst of stressing out because I was jobless and clueless about which direction I wanted my career to go in, my hair began to break incessantly. At that point in time it seemed as if life had handed me two plates of stress and I struggled to figure out which one I’d deal with first. I decided (perhaps naively) to focus on my hair. After all, job hunting wasn’t exactly the most riveting of exercises. As the days went by, more and more strands of hair began to shed and I became increasingly more determined to find out what was causing the damage. Was it the cold weather, the stress of being jobless or my diet? Determined to find a solution, I began doing some research that led me to scouring the web and reading all sorts of trichology journals. I soon discovered that some of the products that I had been pouring onto my hair day in and day out were actually harmful. Many included ingredients that were linked to various illnesses and ailments including cancer. There was even research that suggested the products that claimed to heal my hair could actually destroy it. I couldn’t believe that a multi-billion dollar industry was benefiting from selling women products that claimed to help and heal their hair when in actuality these very products could destroy not just one’s hair but their health as well. I was mortified.
Armed with my new found knowledge I began telling everyone I knew about the dangers of many of the harsh chemicals that are found in mainstream hair products and I began to look for ways to get gorgeous hair without using such products. Soon enough, I discovered that women in ancient India used wholesome ingredients like coconut oil to beautify their hair while in West Africa shea butter had for centuries been used as a natural moisturizer for nurturing one’s hair and skin. These wonderful, beautiful, natural ingredients were staples among women in the developing world and yet, Western women were, for the most part, unaware of them. I didn’t quite expect to start a business but I knew deep down that these sorts of ingredients could help me to potentially solve my hair woes.
Kitchen Beautician: How I Started My Hair Care Brand From Mum and Dad’s Kitchen
I can honestly say that I have spent almost my whole life struggling to tame my hair and after a stressful final year at university, it was in dire condition. After graduating from Durham University, I spent several months unemployed and struggling to find work. Any moment where I was not applying for jobs was often spent obsessing over my hair. I browsed hair shops stocked with hundreds of products claiming to provide a cure for dry, damaged hair but none of these products seemed to work for me. Fed up with searching for the perfect cure, I began researching hair care products wanting to figure out if any product could provide a solution to my hair woes. I purchased a concoction of organic and natural ingredients online and began mixing them together to see what I could come up with. After much experimentation (and a lot of mess), I created three products. The first was a moisturizing shampoo called The Cleansing Cream, which was silicone and sulphate free. Then came the Coco Curly Conditioner – a name inspired by one of the product’s primary ingredients – coconut oil. I wanted the conditioner to be incredibly nourishing but not heavy or greasy. After creating these two products I realized that something was missing. I needed a product that would moisturize and soften one’s hair without weighing it down. I began by combining some of my favorite ingredients, which included honey, coconut oil and rose water and came up with the formula for my biggest-selling product – The Curl Smoothie. A business idea was born and I decided to call it My Curls.
Along with creating products that were filled with healthy ingredients and were effective, I wanted to also ensure that my business was heart-centered and ethically aware. I therefore decided to test my products on humans only and not on animals or vulnerable creatures of any sort. Furthermore, one of the key beliefs behind my business was the idea that women should embrace and love their hair no matter what texture. I chose to inspire my social media fans and customers by posting inspirational messages and positive quotes on my social media handles and in my monthly newsletter. I wanted to ensure that wherever possible, my business would inspire women rather than making them feel as if their hair or looks aren’t good enough.
My business journey hasn’t been the typical one. I didn’t start with investors or a fancy office; instead I started in my mum and dad’s kitchen with an idea which turned into a vision. While most business books encourage us to add up or measure risks, I did the opposite. I ignored them and made decisions based on my gut instincts. Put simply, if it doesn’t feel right or isn’t heart-centered then it’s not for me. It was this way of thinking that led me to applying for the Marie Forleo International B-School scholarship in 2013. My gut instinct was to apply. I did and was blessed with a $2,000 scholarship.
During my time as an entrepreneur I’ve learned three key lessons, which I’d like to share with you today.
Be kind to yourself. During my time as an entrepreneur I’ve discovered that most of us are our own worst critics. We find it easy to compliment and uplift others but we struggle to love ourselves and treat ourselves with the highest degree of respect. I realized a few months back that women have a habit of bullying ourselves, which causes self-sabotage, low self-esteem and unhappiness. Rather than dwelling on your flaws or weaknesses, focus on your assets and strengths. What makes you great? What do you love about you?
Be kind to strangers. Don’t write people off because they look a certain way or because they don’t fit into your idea of a friend, business partner, client or colleague. Some of the people who seemed most unlike me turned out to be fantastic friends, clients and associates. When meeting new people go with the goal of giving to them first, educate, inspire or empower them and focus less on just talking to them because you want to get something. As Billy Blanks wisely said, “You have to give something to get something.” Give first and so many wonderful blessings will fall into place.
Be kind in business – always. The life of an entrepreneur isn’t easy. There are pitfalls at almost every corner and it’s therefore easy to feel jealous, distressed or far away from your goals. Be kind to your business by accepting that it will take time to get to where you want to be. You and your business are exactly where you’re meant to be at this point in time. Take time to think about where you are, where you’d like to be and the action steps that you’ll need to take to move your business and life forward.
Most importantly, believe that kindness overrules negative emotions and always come from a place of love and abundance rather than scarcity or fear.
|Victoria Olubi is the founder of MyCurls.co.uk; a hair care company for women with natural hair.
Starting in her parents’ kitchen, Victoria began hand-making hair products using high-quality and high-performing natural ingredients. Victoria’s newsletter, articles and blog have inspired women in over 94 countries to love and nurture their hair.
For more information and to get Victoria’s free newsletter, visit www.mycurls.co.uk