For many, a breast cancer diagnosis can serve as a loss. But for Conchita Pleasant, it fueled the beginnings of her prospering hair care collection, Nefertiti’s Secrets.

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Inspired by the beauty regimen of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti, Nefertiti’s Secrets incorporates moringa oil and other essential oils into its unique formula.

Since its official launch in 2013, the brand has made strides in the hair care community. Celebrities such as the tennis-champions Williams sisters and actress Gabrielle Union, have incorporated her products into their hair care routines, and Harper’s Bazaar magazine has featured the brand in one of its articles. With an upcoming addition of styling products to the maintenance-centered line, Nefertiti’s Secrets is also set to move from its southern Florida base, to Sally Beauty Supply stores nationwide in 2019.

But the woman behind Nefertiti’s Secrets is just as admirable as the hair care collection itself. While battling breast cancer, Pleasant worked against setbacks with an unethical chemist, and the difficulties of the retail industry, to still end up on top. Pleasant recently shared the powerful story behind her innovative product line and unmatched success with the NaturallyCurly community.

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What inspired you to create Nefertiti’s Secrets?

”I started out as an entry-level merchandiser with SoftSheen-Carson, Inc. I came to love the beauty industry and as I’m working in helping to build a brand, they decided to promote me. I became an executive and worked with them for 10 years. I learned a lot on the retail side of the business, but I always wanted to have my own business. I need to do this for myself. I kept trying to think of different ideas for a product line and one day it just came to me in a vision. It was just like a divine moment.

Why did you choose Queen Nefertiti for your line?

I was always intrigued by the Egyptian queen Nefertiti and her power, her beauty, and the mystery behind her tomb never being found. I wanted to know a little more about her and the secrets they used during her reign. I went back into ancient Egyptian medicine, I bought books and did research and development. I found out they use a lot of aloe, sage, and rosemary, but the main thing was moringa oil. It was discovered in Tut’s tomb.

How has your battle against breast cancer impacted your business journey?

I don’t regret what happened, because it made me a better person. I realized that it makes you look at life in a different way. Right now, I have to live life to the fullest, live out my passions and for the things that make me happy, and focus on those things that are going to help others in the same way. It’s helped me to overcome a lot of challenges in life. You find strength when you have to battle something that could possibly take your life. It made me want to pursue my goals even more.

Moringa oil is found in your whole product line. What are its benefits?

Moringa oil is actually a superfood. It’s known as the tree of life. This particular plant has been around for thousands of years — somebody just decided to market it.. One of the main benefits of that oil is that it’s highly absorbable. You don’t want oils that will sit on the skin, but that will penetrate the skin. Moringa oil penetrates the hair shaft, and it also has vitamins A and C.

How has launching Nefertiti’s Secrets impacted you personally?

Launching a product line, having a setback with failing the first time, being diagnosed with breast cancer, and also learning the ins and outs of the business have helped me grow as a person, because I learned to break fear. I found my strength in everything that was going on. Because I was able to persevere in my assignment, which is my passion, it has never been about money. It has always about my queens, and making them powerful, and beautiful. My fight has always been for them, and in fact, I forgot about myself a lot of times as a selfless person. I’ve learn to prioritize me, and then I’ve also learned to break fear and move past the challenges that come my way. I haven’t allowed the no’s that come my way to stop me. It’s helped me to build character and persevere.

What impact would you like to have on your consumers?

Definitely empowerment for women. Sometimes we tend to forget our self-worth. Nefertiti’s Secrets is really about reminding women to pamper themselves, take care of themselves, and also to love themselves. We want to remind women that we are queens. We’re all queens and we have to love ourselves and know that we are special.

Interested in trying this collection, or feeling inspired by Pleasant’s story? Share your thoughts with us below!