As women, we learn a lot in the kitchen from our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters and friends: cooking, cleaning, how to listen, how to love and how to take care of ourselves. Taking care of our hair also sneaks itself in the kitchen as well.
Some women have taken it a step further and used the kitchen as the laboratory for some very special creations having more to do with nourishing the hair rather than the stomach. These innovative women are now successful hair care line developers and owners. Their business' have flourished because of the great products they have created and their commitment to caring for curly hair.
Curl Junkie's Marsha Coulton, armed with an MBA in international business in 1997, dove head first into the business world. Over the next few years, her many jobs included a trader on Wall Street, an analyst for one of the nation’s largest retailers, a computer consultant at a global tech company and a career counselor with an Ivy League graduate school. “I was jumping around to different jobs because I wasn’t particularly happy,” says the creator of Curl Junkie, a line of products for curls and kinks. ”I was doing what I thought I should be doing. But since I was 12, I’d known I wanted to do hair.” One day she was complaining about her own hair to her mother, who asked “Why don’t you go to beauty school?”
Coulton says she always felt like she was expected to pursue a high-powered career. So her mom’s suggestion to go after her dream was a breath of fresh air. The timing was perfect because Coulton was just embarking on her own natural hair journey after decades of relaxing her hair. After graduating from beauty school at the Carsten Institute in New York, she began creating her own products. She began studying different ingredients, and developing her own hair concoctions. She spent hours each day on research, and her kitchen resembled a chemistry lab. “I set out to make products for me and my fellow Curlies,” Coulton says. “It helped that I hadn’t found my ‘Holy Grail’ product, and I wasn’t satisfied with the products that I had to use on my curly-headed clients.” Marsha launched Curl Junkie in 2006 and now has a huge loyal customer base. She and her products are dedicated to healthy beautiful curls.
Kelly Foreman founder of Mop Top is another woman who has created a curly hair care line. Kelly started the MopTop line of products five years ago, when she wanted help her daughter embrace her curls in a way she hadn’t as a young girl. Growing up with tight, corkscrew hair in humid South Carolina, Kelly Foreman was called “Fuzzy” by her classmates. She dreaded rainy weather and swimming pools, and subjected her curls to the ravages of blow-dryers, hot rollers and chemicals. Combs broke in her hair. Nothing she tried could tame her mane. Even her own mother struggled with how to manage Foreman’s frizzy curls, cutting it so short she looked like a boy. Now a mother with three daughters of her own, Foreman launched the Mop Top line of products—a sulfate-free, alcohol-free, silicone-free line specifically designed for curly, frizzy hair. Fuzzy Duck, a children’s line of products for curly, frizzy hair, followed. She has since added a pomade and a deep conditioner to the line.
Any Curly Mom or Mom with Curly kids will find this line of products a life saver.
Lisa Price is another creative woman who has a knack for creating unique and effective curly hair care products. Her company, Carol's Daughter, is a complete line of hair and body care products made with love and natural ingredients. For as long as she can remember, Brooklyn native Lisa Price has had an inherent love of fragrance. Lisa's mother, Carol, always encouraged her to use her knack for mixing essential oils and her innate feel for fragrance to create gifts for her family and friends. Inspired by her mother's words, Lisa began whipping up products right in her kitchen that were an instant hit with loved ones. In the early 1990s, she branched out and sold her homespun hair and body care products at local flea markets and craft fairs, turning her longtime hobby into the start of a career. Lisa's business— with a little luck and a lot of love— turned her at-home enterprise into a highly successful business within a matter of years. From the brand name and its products to the delicate care and attention mixed into each recipe your Curl will thank you after using any of her products.
Tit and Miko Branch
Titi & Miko Branch
Miss Jessie's is a curly hair care line that most curlies have heard of and are very thankful for. Titi and Miko Branch are the sisters behind this line. They named it after their grandmother, the one that understood their hair when they were growing up. Miss Jessie would mix together ingredients to condition and style their hair right at the kitchen table. "Good food and good grooming" were their grandmother's strong beliefs. In 1987, the two sisters opened a salon in Brooklyn, NY. They then developed the Miss Jessie's hair care line and changed the name of their salon to Miss Jessie's Salon (formerly named Curve Salon). Their passion and love of all textures of hair lead them to create the Salon and the "go to" hair care line for so many Curlies.
Jessica McGuinty is another Curly who was busy in kitchen and created some magic.
"I remember thinking, 'Wow, how cool would it be if I could just make my OWN hair gel? I sure would save a lot of money!'" recalls McGuinty, who was working as a personal trainer at the time.
So she tried a basic recipe, with less-than-stellar results. That experiment inspired her to tweak the recipe, adding other natural ingredients she had learned about, such as jojoba oil and glycerin.
"The results were nothing short of miraculous," she says. "I was shocked that FINALLY my hair looked like I wanted, and I had made the product on my stove!" She couldn’t wait to share her recipe with all her CurlTalk friends. But after posting the recipe, she was flooded with emails from curly-headed members asking if they could just buy some of the magic potion rather than making it themselves.
In September 2002, Rockin' Ringlets Styling Potion — and a business — was born. The company grew slowly, with McGuinty working out of her 600-square-foot apartment, making labels on her computer. Soon requests came from customers looking for gentle shampoos and moisturizing conditioners. When customers requested a stronger-holding styling process, she turned to members of NaturallyCurly to help name the product
Annette Gaynes (CurlTalk’s NetG) came up with the name Confident Coils, and the product was officially launched in Austin. The company now sells 11 hair-care products and a body-care line. Since the company’s birth, Jessicurl has moved its operations from the San Francisco Bay area to a 2,000-square-foot factory in Arcata, Calif., where products are tested on actual curls (not animals!). Her products are shipped to curlies around the world.
About International Women’s Day:
Each year around the world, International Women's Day (IWD) is observed on March 8. Hundreds of events occur not just on this day but also throughout March to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women. The first IWD was held 1911 in the USA. For more information, click here.