As NaturallyCurly celebrates our 15th Anniversary we're reflecting on all of the special curly women that we've met along the way. Take for example Marsha! Did you know that Curl Junkie founder Marsha Coulton traded in a job on Wall Street to become a beautician? She is an invaluable part of the curly industry, so we were thrilled that she agreed to share her insights into our unique community. And we have to say it's refreshing to hear a business owner admit that people buy from different brands, and negative feedback keeps you honest!

Marsha Coulton: NaturallyCurly has helped me grow my business astronomically. Without NaturallyCurly as a resource, I couldn't have developed my products as effectively. CurlMart was our first retailer, which was incredibly important. And NaturallyCurly suggested I send products to Essence, and an article in Essence helped take the brand to the next level. I might still exist without NaturallyCurly, but I wouldn't be at this level.
  1. There's no right way

    Some people like silicones. Some people don't. Some people like proteins. Others don't. Don't pass judgment.

  2. People like to buy products from multiple brands

    If people can find two or three products in my line they like, I'm good. There is no one who will stick with one line. I buy products from other brands.

  3. Product rotation is key

    When products are formulated, they're only looking at how it works on hair a week at a time. But there are a lot of variables. If you use a product with protein every day, your hair might get dry and hard. If you use too much moisture every day, your hair may get weighed down. The weather and humidity changes from day to day and season to season.

  4. Keep an open mind

    Customers have taught me that they may use a product for a completely different purpose than I developed it for. My good friend uses our Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Deep Fix for her twist out. When you're developing a product, it may be used as a leave-in, rinse-out, deep conditioner and styling product. I've changed labels based on customer feedback on how they're using it.

  5. Listen to the drum beat of your customers

    I'm always on discussion boards and reading emails to see if there is a lot of noise for certain types of products. That's why I developed Repair Me! Reconstructive Hair Treatment. People were saying they needed a deep conditioning protein product that didn't make the hair rock hard and didn't contain silicones but strengthened the hair.

  6. Smell is completely subjective

    I always try to stay with neutral or lightly fragranced products. I never find people clamoring for strong smells.

  7. If something isn't working, don't bang your head against the wall

    Try something else. But before you throw it away, try using it in a different way.

  8. Negative feedback is as important as positive feedback

    It keeps you honest. If they don't like it, you need to figure out how to develop a better product. I'm tweaking Curl Junkie Pattern Pusha to make sure it works more consistently over a range of textures. Right now, people either love it or they hate it.

  9. Conditioners are what set you apart

    Across the board, conditioners are our anchor.

  10. There are no rules when it comes to what products work for what textures

    I used to develop products for wavy, curly and kinky hair - heavier products for coilier hair and lighter products for wavier hair. But I found it wasn't necessarily how my customers were buying products. I developed Curl Assurance Aloe Fix was for coily hair, but I have a lot of wavy customers. I try my products on every texture now.

  11. There is no shame in mixing expensive products with drugstore brands

    I find some people like to mix my Curls in a Bottle with a drugstore gel to enhance the performance. You can mix and match.