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uncle funky's daughter

Ray and Tonya Reed


Sometimes misfortune can turn into the most naturally glorious type of good fortune.

Husband and wife entrepreneurs Ray and Tonya Reed were working in the Houston energy industry when giant Enron collapsed, taking a number of other companies with it.

The Reeds, along with thousands of others, lost their jobs. Lesser souls might have panicked, but not these two dreamers and doers.

In considering their options, the two knew one thing for sure: they never wanted to be at the mercy of another company; they wanted to control their own destiny. “We wanted to be in charge of our own business,” Tonya says.

And so Uncle Funky’s Daughter was born. The 8-year-old salon and boutique in Houston is a seriously fun and, yes, funky destination for women who want cuts, twist-outs, extensions and other natural styles.

“We don’t offer any chemical services. We don’t use curling or flat irons,” says Tonya. “Natural is everything.”

Such an approach eight years ago was trailblazing, Reed says. “There weren’t any professional, natural salons in Houston,” at that time, she says.

When searching for a new venture, turning to the hair business was an easy call for Tonya. She’d enjoyed working with hair her whole life, and had wanted to attend cosmetology school straight out of high school. But her mom convinced her to go to college and get a degree.

The need to control her own destiny was the right reason for Tonya to pursue her dream of doing hair, she says. The time was now right to go to cosmetology school, and she was able to find a program that specialized in natural hair care.

Her business degree and experience, combined with her cosmetology license, and Ray’s added business acumen and retail experience, set the pair up for instant success in the salon business.

“We’ve been busy from the minute we opened our doors,” she says.

In another unusual twist, the flagship store also sells women’s accessories and clothing. “You can get your hair done, pick out a new outfit, and be ready for a night on the town, all in one place!” says Tonya.

And where did they get that super-fun name? “My dad was a funky, fun guy. He had a great style,” she said. “My cousins called him ‘Uncle Funky’,” she says.

“My husband — he’s pretty creative—thought of ‘Uncle Funky’s Daughter’. We wanted the name to be synonymous with the spirit of our company,” she says.

The company recently introduced a line of hair care products that have proven to be very poplar. “They’re selling fantastically. We ship all over the world,” she says. “Word of mouth has done us phenomenally well.”

Houston TV personality Deborah Duncan—a rare TV-news “natural”—loved the salon and products so much, she crafted a segment on her show around Uncle Funky’s.

And Uncle Funky’s Daughter has recently expanded to a second store a couple doors down where they sell natural body and skin care and offer spa services.

We would all do well to learn from the lesson of Tonya and Ray Reed—two amazing entrepreneurs— from adversity can come great things.


Good Hair Leave-in Conditioner video

Extra Butter Brilliant Shine Creme video

Curly Magic video

"Curly Magic" Product Review

0 Comments
Just glad to see black people creating products and services for black people.
I give my props to two people who were savy enough to tap into a market that was virtually untouched in Houston, Texas. I have visited the salon on a few occassions--the first time I had very high expectations; and they were met with professionalism and a hint of arrogance. Ok, I can take that--could be just my perception. I went back a few more times and then excitedly once I found out they had developed Curly Magic. I had already researched the product online befor purchasing it, so I was already privy to the fact that the ingredients were identical to Kinky Curly Curling Custard--I just wanted to compare the two. When I got there, two other ladis walked in and inquired about the carrying Knot Today. Ray told them that they no longer carried Kinky Curly products and began to suggest their newly realeased Curly Magic. He explained that his product was superior to KCCC because there was no need for two products and the CM had a built in moisturizer which allowed the hair to dry without the crunch. The two ladies asked if there was a reason why they stopped carrying KC products and they were told that the company just exhibited poor professionalism overall and that they decided to cut ties. He then went on to critique their labeling features, like the lack of a barcode (at that time), etc. and then picked up his own product to demonstrate their marketing superiority.
I really don't agree with people making comments like: "they are copying", "the curl magic is a bootleg version of KCCC". Like many said, it's about CHOICE. And having the same ingredients, doesn't mean the same concentration. I mean, we all had cookie dough ice cream, right? Ben and Jerry's tastes different than the Hagen Daaz, right? Are they copying each other? No! It's the same everywhere! I'm sorry, but I tried both the KCCC and Curl Magic and they don't do the same thing on my hair! I refuse to use the Miss Jessie's buttercream because I don't want animal protein in my hair products. I'm glad I found this article because I was looking for an alternative to the Buttercream and voila! Don't use it because you don't like it. Not because you believe they are ripping off some other company.
As for actually reviewing the UNCLE Funky's Product line, I have good reviews for the Extra Butter. But sadly the Curly Magic failed to meet expectations. The Curly Magic left a nasty build up in my 4a and my daughters 3b hair. In fact, the build up was so bad that I had several people comment on the "white Stuff" in our hair. The Butter Creme gave me similar results as Miss Jessie Buttercreme but with a nice lemon cake scent. I will be trying their other products soon. In defense of UFD, not one did they attempt to persuade me not to by a COMPETITORS product. The guy Ray is a delight but that wife upon my initial visit to the store had me blogging and sending negative reviews everywhere! However, upon given them a second try (since Houston's Natural Hair scene is so limited, The Root of You is a nice spot ) UFD is a great place. I suggest each individual cater to their own beliefs and values and not to that of others.
This was sooo sad to read. What happened to just supporting one another.
Sagehen, how do you know that they have not filed a lawsuit? You have some sort of inside scoop? And to CurlyandFab I see you were already put on blast as one of the owners trying to push the Uncle Funky's products on people so of course you love Tonya and Ray. CURLS also used to be sold at Uncle Funky's but now when you go to the CURLS website they are no longer listed. I guess she wasn't too happy with their knockoff, Thirsty Curls. Anyone that cant see something wrong with people selling knockoffs has never worked hard to create something. In the jewelry industry copying happens a lot and oftentimes lawsuits do not go down right away....designers are often advised to wait and observe and then strike at a certain time. I must say that it is pretty bold of these two to do this. Some of the products are word for word exact ingredients and some are very very close...They have gone beyond "active ingredients" Ouidad, Mop Top and DevaCurl market to the same market and hair type but none of them have done this. It is despicable.
How in the world can you say they are trying to be innovative? Innovate means to introduce something NEW and original. They have copied everything from the packaging to the ingredients. TRUE Competition is fair and good but copying is just unethical. It's also called crabs in a barrel and it is despicable that a black owned company would blatantly copy ingredients from 4 other small female black owned companies as they have done. They used to sell Mixed Chicks & Kinky Curly and now they do not. Wonder why?
+1 to luvmylocs' response. Besides, has anyone checked out the website lately? They have come out with several new products. I have to say that at least they are trying to innovate. Kinky -Curly has had the same products for a couple of years now (I still love them I am just making a comparison). Plus, Kinky-Curly has not filed a patent-infringement lawsuit so why are all of these people taking up their cause like a woman scorned? Competition is fair and good and beneficial to consumers. It's called capitalism - get with it.
i think it's good that there are more products for us to chose from these days. many products on the market have similar ingredients and marketing. it shows they are listening to us, reading the blogs, on youtube, you name it. i think that's positive. the kinky curly curling custard did not work for me but the curly magic does so even if the ingredients are similar i got results with one and not the other. i think there's more than enough room for everybody in the market as long as the products are good and fairly priced.
Nothing personal, but I don't ever plan to do business at their place of business again. Me and my friends were not really happy with the service! And yes they have copied the ingredients of Kinky Curly, but I guess all in love and war is fair.
To each their own. I find it interesting that people are talking about their products and how similar they are to others...well, to get similar results similar ingredients are required. Have you not noticed that most of the products on the drug store shelves have the same or similar active ingredients? It's called CHOICE!However, the active ingredients are where the similarities end. Mixed Chicks products are full of parabens and silicone, and their shampoo has SLS so these products don't work for me. I will not pay Miss Jessies asking price for the ingredients they provide, so here with Uncle Funky's Daughter there is a preferrable price point, superior ingredients and superior customer service. Is that not what people want for their hard-earned money? It is for me. I don't care about how much my hair shines, as I know that any product I add to shine my hair is sitting on top of it and not benefitting my hair in the least as a 4a curl type. I am aware, as their company seems to be, that "natural" is not about the appearance of one's hair but a choice of lifestyle and autheniticty and choosing what to put in and on one's body. As poster number 3 says I am happy to have a choice and not be held hostage to the slow shipping times, poor customer service and high prices of just a few lines (you all know what I mean if you have been here awhile).
I'm kinda wondering about that comment but me personally after watching the review from one of naturallycurly's bloggers and watching their own tutorial vids I don't see ANYTHING beautiful or different about the clients head even the duncan lady from tv the hair doesn't look moisturized we all can get her look with a simple cowash or shampoo and condition let it naturally dry and boom. I'm all for natural and products but GENUINELY look & observe the lady in any but ESPECIALLY the butter video it promises shine or for some of us naturals a sheen look at the before and after there's NO SHINE or SHEEN in that girls head. We could get that twist out without any product or 100% with oyin's shine and define and if u like good smells a dab of burnt sugar pomade or qhemets cocoatree and burdock root or heck make your own mixes. I really wanted to like this company especially since it's in my city but I have to be real.
I think this is great and the commercials are too cute! Who gives a poop if the products are similar?? If I can buy a product of comparable or equal quality at a lower price... why would I flinch?? Anywho, I have been helped by Ray a few times. He is very nice. I have never visited the salon. I have bought clothing from them - beautiful clothes at low prices!!! I also buy my Quemet products from there. I had no idea they had their own line. That butter sounds niiice. I have yet to find a butter than does justice to my twist-outs.
Jay-Z's latest album about speaks about haters and it is so appropriate for the previous post. I love Uncle Funky's Daughter's products, and Tonya and Ray too, so ditto comment #1. You can't possibly know these wonderful, spirited people to write such mean statements. I have been shopping at UFD for years and have gone in there a number of times to purchase just about all of the curly brands they sell (I'm a product junkie:) On a few recent occasions I have purchased the Mixed Chicks leave-in from Ray and he never tried to sell me on UFDs leave-in product. I have been in there and people have come in to buy Miss Jessie's too and he sold it without trying to push their product on the customer. I just learned, from your post (thank you)that they have a leave-in that you think is comparable, so I will be picking that up asap. Also, if their product is cheaper, better, more natural and paraben free--what would you expect them to say? It is what it is...Great! I started out using their RF shampoo, RR conditioner and Extra Butter, all of which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!! As they develop new products, I will definitely buy them. So many other types of products are made for the same purpose and many times with some of the same ingredients share space on store shelves without incident. In Sephora, there is Jonathan, next to Frederic Fekkai, next to Sephora brand, next to Ojon. Some boast some of the same ingredients. If shea butter works on kinky hair and its in Ojon's product, should all other product makers steer clear of it, even if the ingredient is good for the hair? Give me a break. Can't we all just get along? He,he. I am glad as a fabulous curly girl that I have a multitude of curly brands to try these days, especially when a few years back there was not such a vast option. When you visit the grocery store, there are many brands of corn flakes, many brands of milk and many brands of peanut butter, but after its all said and done, its about quality and brand choice. My choice is clear -- Uncle Funky's Daughter Forever. I love the fun, fresh style of the brand, I absolutely love the customer service and the products are in a class by themselves: The Bomb!
As a jewelry designer and artist I can no longer support this company. They copied all the curly product lines and made knockoffs. I don't like supporting a company that takes rather than makes their own products. The packaging looks just like Miss Jessie's. The ingredients to their Good Hair are almost identical to my beloved Mixed Chicks leave in. The Curly Magic and Extra Butter are copycats of Buttercreme and the Kinky Custard. And when you go to the store to buy they TELL you that their products are the same as Mixed Chicks / Miss Jessie's but cheaper/better/more natural/paraben free. I couldn't believe it. Some folks have no shame. They even have a knockoff of Curls Quenched Moisturizer called Thirsty Curls with a whole lotta the same ingredients. I am waiting for the Uncle Funky's version of "Curl Keeper" and "No Poo" to launch. I guess we are in a recession and folks gotta do what they gotta do to make that paper. *Kanye shrug*
Nice people lovely products, good customer service. I recently placed an order for several items and one of the items I requested became unavailable. I received a personal phone call from Ray (who had come in on his day off to expedite my order - love the work ethic) apologizing for my delayed shipment, and threw in a full-sized product sample for my trouble. I really appreciated him keeping me informed of my order status since many small comanies do not. I am seriously pondering a trip to Houston just to visit their salon (and stock up on products). Here's hoping for their great success and I hope they do not go the way of so many other companies and leave their natural calling. I love that they perform no straightening services and sell no products intended to do so.

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