It was 11 years ago that CurlTalker Jessica McGuinty began selling her homemade flaxseed gel to fellow curlies on the message board.

Rockin' Ringlets Styling Potion became the first in Jessicurl's popular product portfolio, with many of the products becoming "Holy Grail" staples for curlies worldwide.

Based on demand from customers - including NaturallyCurly co-founder Michelle Breyer - Jessicurl now is launching a strong-hold gel. NaturallyCurly members have helped test the new gel, and Jessicurl would love your help in naming it.

Fun fact: Confident Coils Styling Potion, which launched nine years ago, was named by NaturallyCurly members!

As she celebrates her 11th anniversary, we interviewed Jessica:

  • NaturallyCurly: Tell me about how you developed your first product, Rockin' Ringlets, on CurlTalk?

Jessica:  It was totally an accident! I had been a CurlTalk member for a while, and like all the other members, was always trying different products trying to get my hair to do what I wanted. (Reduce frizz, have good curl definition but also not feel gross if someone touches it…)

Somewhere along the way I found a recipe for hair gel made out of flax seeds. I thought, “Well, that sure would rock – just make my OWN hair gel?! Not be dependent on the beauty industry?”

I played with that for a few days but it really didn’t wow me, so I put in some other ingredients that I knew were good for curly hair. One day I did my hair and it looked liked I’d always wanted! I was so stoked. I excitedly went back to my curlfriends on CurlTalk to share the recipe for my miracle concoction. They were like, “Uh… yeah. I don’t want to do that. Can’t I just buy some from you?” So, I agreed to start a business and sell what is now Rockin’ Ringlets, because the CurlTalk members forced me to.

  • NaturallyCurly: How have you gotten ideas for your other products?

Jessica:  Jessicurl's products have been the result of customer demand, but is also usually something I need personally as well, because I hold myself up as the hardest to please customer. We’re clearly a very customer-centric company (the customers forced me into business, after all) so when they say they want something, we do our best to provide it. Not long after Rockin’ Ringlets, Gelebration Spray and Awe Inspiraling Spray came out, I was getting emails asking for a moisturizing conditioner that’s not greasy or full of silicones. I was like, “I know! I need that too!” So I got to work mixing and came out with not one, but three conditioners: Aloeba, Too Shea and the ever-popular Deep Conditioning Treatment.

Then it was, “Hey Jess, we love your conditioners, but it sure would be nice to have a cleanser that’s sulfate-free and doesn’t make my hair all puffy for three days after I use it.” I was like, “I KNOW! I need that too!” So I got to work and came out with Hair Cleaning Cream. Needless to say, I take a LOT of showers when I’m developing a new product, testing each and every batch.

Gentle Lather Shampoo, Confident Coils and this new yet-to-be named product have all been the same. The customers tell me they want it, I agree, and I get at it.

  • NaturallyCurly: What and when was the last product you launched?

Jessica:  The last product we launched was Confident Coils Styling Solution in 2004, so it’s been a while!

  • NaturallyCurly: What led you to develop this new gel?
Jess wants your help naming her new gel!

Jessica:  Customer demand, and also our friends at NaturallyCurly.com telling us loud and clear that we should do it. The drum beat for a Jessicurl styling product with more hold got so loud, it was clear that now was the time to do it. The funny thing is that this time, I personally didn’t feel like *I* needed it, but now? I can’t live without it.

  • NaturallyCurly: What were you hoping to achieve with the new gel?

Jessica:  I really wanted to create something that would provide the additional hold customers are asking for, but that wouldn’t dry out the hair or make it feel crunchy all day. Most gels (this included) tend to dry crunchy, and that’s ok. That initial crunch is what contributes to the hold throughout the day. But if you can’t scrunch that crunch out, you have a problem. This scrunches out really easily and leaves your curls FEELING really nice and soft – but it holds. It’s amazing. And the frizz control on this stuff is awesome. Of course, there are no silicones, waxes, or petroleum, per our ingredients philosophy.

  • NaturallyCurly: How would you describe the new gel?

Jessica:  It’s much thicker than Confident Coils and quite jelly-like in consistency. It’s white-ish in color but it’s not a cream. It’s a stronger hold but it’s not so super sticky that you can’t easily apply it through your hair. It will come in the same bottles that our other products come in.

  • NaturallyCurly: NaturallyCurly members helped come up with the name for Confident Coils. We're thrilled that you are harnessing the community again to name thenew gel. What type of name are you looking for?

Jessica:  I’m SO stoked to get the NaturallyCurly community in on this again! It’s just a no-brainer to me, given our history together. So many of our names are so cute (Rockin’ Ringlets Styling Potion, Confident Coils Styling Solution, etc) that I’d love for it to be something that fits in with those. Let’s get cute and creative with this and see what we can come up with, eh? I can’t WAIT to see what the winning entry is!! I know Annette Gaynes, who named Confident Coils, is getting her thinking cap back on, so that’s exciting! To enter, go to: http://namejessicurlproduct.questionpro.com

  • NaturallyCurly: When and where will the new gel be available?

Jessica:  The launch date is Oct 1, when it will become available exclusively at CurlMart for the month of October. After that it will be available at Jessicurl.com and everywhere else Jessicurl products are available, including CurlMart, of course.