It is important for the natural hair community to support other black owned small businesses because we are specifically passionate and dedicated to the growth of the community due to lack of representation in the beauty aisle.
Charlene Walton, founder of TEXTURES Natural Hair Care

Hi my name is Charlene Walton. I’m from Dallas, TX and I’m the owner of TEXTURES Natural Hair Care and Editor & Founder of natural hair blog TexturedTalk.comIf you count the natural hair blog, I started in 2008 [but I] quit because I was afraid no one cared about what I had to say. It's been a total of 8 years! I reintroduced myself to the blogging community in 2014 and just decided to go for it and share my experiences.

There really isn't a "secret to success"

My secret is actually not a secret at all. The secret are the same things you constantly hear people saying. I just made these things my top priority. 1) Be yourself.  Be passionate about your work, and do the things you want to do - not what’s considered “popular”. I had a big back and forth with myself about whether I wanted to produce YouTube videos because everyone kept saying video is the future. And while, I do believe that is true, I knew deep down that’s not where I wanted to go, so I stayed focused on my goals. 2) Be consistent & 3) Don’t compare yourself to others. The last one is so important to me.

It's necessary to wear different hats

Running a small business is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because I have no choice but to wear so many different hats. I’m the fulfillment center, social media manager, customer service rep, owner, etc. but, that is still no reason to slack on remembering your customers are the #1 priority. There have been a few mistakes on my part and I just had to own up to them and quickly respond to a customer email.

If you are not careful you can get a bad name very quickly. At the end of the day people are human and just appreciate a timely response. I’m really big on honesty as well and not trying to push a product on a woman just to make a sale. I have no problem telling a customer a product she wants is not for her, even though she may have heard so many great things about it on social media or youtube. As a follow up, I explain which products I believe will work best for her texture instead. That build customer loyalty.

Facing unexpected roadblocks

I think for a lot of entrepreneurs, we get so excited about our vision and dreams that we can also quickly lose sight that everyone might not jump on board as quickly as we think. The unexpected roadblock for me was being turned down by a lot of brands we wanted to carry. I just thought, hey I have a great idea to bring all of these amazing products together so why wouldn’t people want to be involved? It was very naive on my part, but that [sic] part of being flexible in business. You learn from these moments and keep pushing.

My advice to other entrepreneurs: Just start.

Don’t try to have everything perfect because your business is always going to be a work in progress. Be strategic, but don’t let it handicap you in the process. You can’t plan every single detail because you don’t know what you will need until you actually start to do the work. Learn to be flexible when problems arise, pivot, and keep it moving. Also, I talk to a lot of women who say they are passionate about so many things and they can’t decide what to focus on for their business. Start with ONE thing. Master that. Then expand.

Without black-owned small businesses, there would be no natural hair community.

Period. Founders of some of the most popular natural hair care brands are black and they decided to take matters into their own hands when larger brands were not making products to cater to our needs. These small businesses were in their kitchens concocting recipes, interacting on YouTube with future customers and having grassroots market research that no other big brand company at the time could do or was doing.
It is important for the natural hair community to support other black owned small businesses because we are specifically passionate and dedicated to the growth of the community due to lack of representation in the beauty aisle. To me, black-owned small businesses have a more genuine interest than other businesses wanting to jump on the natural hair care train to cash in due to the buying power of the community at large.

Keep up with all of my business endeavors on www.texturesnaturalhaircare.com and follow us at @Texturesnaturalhaircare on Instagram. On Facebook, we are TEXTURESNaturalHair.