When Amy Broline used to get her hair cut, the stylist sometimes blew her hair straight.

“People would say ‘You look so good that way. You should never wear it curly again,” Broline recalls. “It hurt my feelings. I wanted to tell them ‘This is how I’m made so you just have to deal with it.'”

Broline has channeled those feelings into her new Austin company, Just Be You Designs. Launched in September, her first product is a sassy t-shirt that proclaims “To Hell With Straight Hair.”

“I want to tell people to love how you’re made,” Broline says. “Every detail of how you’re made is there by design. Don’t fight it. There’s so much freedom in accepting yourself as you are.”

Like many curlies, Broline’s journey to curl acceptance wasn’t necessarily an easy one. She hated her hair when she was a kid.

“I had a mom who didn’t know what to do with my hair,” Broline says. “She had wavy hair she straightened, and my sister had hair that was straight as a board. I didn’t know I shouldn’t brush it, so I had the worst, frizzy, out-of-control hair.”

She came to dread her trips to the hair salon, once walking out in tears when her hair was cut two inches long.

But over the years, with resources like NaturallyCurly.com and the help of a good stylist versed in the ways of curls, Broline has found a style and products that work well with her brown ringlets.

“I’m finally to the point where I trust a stylist,” Broline says. “I’ve really started to like my hair. Curls have become a part of who I am. Whenever I wear it straight now, people say ‘What are you doing? Go back to curly!'”

She didn’t originally plan to turn her idea into a business. But when Broline came out with her first t-shirt shirt and wore it to New York, she had people come up to her on the street asking to buy it off her back.

“I thought ‘Wow. People like them.'” Broline says. “It encouraged me to start the company.”

The t-shirts sell for $28 and are available in brown, green and light blue.

Broline plans to introduce new products with the same general theme. She is working on a t-shirt for kids that says “Curls are Cute.”

“I feel the sky’s the limit in terms of where this company can go,” Broline says. “Everyone has at least one friend who has had an issue with their curly hair.”

Michelle Breyer

Michelle Breyer

As co-founder of NaturallyCurly.com, a website for curly hair she began with her business partner and friend, Gretchen Heber, Michelle Breyer helped create the leading community and resource for people with curly hair. Frustrated by the lack of information on curly hair and the limited products available in the marketplace, the duo launched the site in 1998 with the help of a 14-year-old web designer. When Procter & Gamble called three years later to advertise to the NaturallyCurly.com® audience, Breyer knew they had indeed created a force in the industry, providing helpful information and unparalleled expertise for what was then considered a niche market.

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