Natural Coils Curling Jelly

Darcy's Botanicals is a hobby turned passion. It was born out of entrepreneur Lysandra Taylor's desire to live a more natural lifestyle, the inspiration of her sister's natural coils, and the hope that her daughter would grow up feel better about her hair's natural texture than she had.

Now celebrating its first anniversary, the Georgia-based company sells 25 hair products, including her best selling Madagascar Vanilla Styling Creme—the first product she created. Other standouts include Natural Coils Curling Jelly, Organic Coconut & Aloe Moisture Pudding and new Curl Detangling Milk.

"I absolutely love, love, love what I do," Taylor says. "I hope that by providing natural and organic products for naturals, curlies, loc wearers and multi-ethnic curls that work, it will make it much easier for us to choose to love and embrace our natural hair."

Taylor straightened her hair for 20 years. But as she got older, she noticed her hair began to thin and break. Then, when her daughter. Her sister, Olenda Taylor, had gone natural.

"My perception was that it was easier to straighten it," Taylor says. "But I began to realize that if others could wear their natural, I could find a way to wear my hair natural."

Lysandra Taylor

Becoming pregnant with her daughter, Darcy, was the final kick she needed to begin the transition because she didn't want to use chemicals.

The challenge, she says, was figuring out how to work with her natural texture. She began visiting natural hair sites, including NaturallyCurly.com, mixing up butters and creams in her kitchen and researching ingredients that would work with her newly natural coils. Taylor gave her creations to her sister and friends to try, and soon people were requesting Taylor's formulas. They encouraged her to sell her products.

She realized her hobby had become a viable business, and she incorporated in 2004. She spent the next few years learning how to run her business, and last December, she officially launched Darcy's Botanicals.

Taylor says her business grew quickly, thanks to Etsy.com, a web site dedicated to handmade goods.

"It kind of happened by accident," Taylor says. "My web designer was late in getting my site up, and I was in a tizzy. I wanted to be open before December, and I heard about Etsy, which got my name out there to a large market of people who want handmade products. It was a blessing in disguise."

Taylor has developed new products based on customer feedback. Her newest additions, launched Black Friday, are Cleansing Cream and Herbal Scalp Butter. Based on customer requests, she plans to come out with more products for finer, wavier hair types as well as larger sizes of existing products.

"My customers are always emailing me and asking me to create things for them," Taylor says. "They tell me exactly what they want. And I listen to them. If this is what they want, I want to give it to them. I'm taking a lot of notes, and learning as I go."

Darcy's Botanicals sends out samples with every order so customers can try something new.

She continues to research new oils and butters, and "can't wait for my ximenia oil"— a natural alternative to silicone—to come in.

"I've got to have it!" she says. "I feel like a kid in a candy store."