As robust and eclectic as the natural haircare space has become, finding styling solutions and products to help alleviate the maintenance process has been minimal, until now. Monique Little is the CEO and founder of You Go Natural (YGN) which is a Dallas,Tx based headwrap brand with a focus on introducing new innovations in the natural hair space. YGN was born out of Monique’s desire to create a functional and practical way for people to style their hair on the go and keep it protected. As a working mom that wears many hats on a day to day basis she wanted to create a solution for a relatable problem that could be beautiful, stylish, and versatile for the spectrum of natural hair customers looking for a product tailored for them.
YGN features luxurious satin lined headwraps and headbands crafted by local artisans in the Dallas area with a variety of patterns, design, textures, and wrap options that will have any naturalista clicking “Add to Cart" immediately. Her most recent collection gives customers a much needed travel accessory with the Swim Turban made for enhanced protection in the water. We had the opportunity to chat with Monique and discuss her natural hair experience, the inception of YGN, and wearing headwraps as a protective styling solution.
Tell us about what your experience was like growing up with natural hair
“I attribute my knowledge to my mother who was a hairdresser and she instilled in us at a very young age how to take care of our hair. I received my first relaxer around age 11 or 12 years old which at that time was a right of passage for Black women. When I was in high school I started studying Black hair and Eurocentric beauty standards and decided on my own that I wanted to go natural. When I made this choice, it was before the natural hair movement grew to the volume it is now, so there weren't a lot of products on the shelves for women like myself. As I got older, I found myself in a constant state of transition between embracing my natural hair pattern and wearing it straight.”
The natural hair care business has continued to expand and grow, what made you choose headwraps as your product?
“I’ve always felt that the natural hair care industry has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to support and it’s really beautiful to see how it’s grown organically in the past decade. For me personally when I had my daughter after having worn my hair naturally for years and knowing my regimen I realized that when I had less time and energy to care for my hair it began to suffer. I didn’t think it made sense that wearing my hair naturally should be difficult. YGN grew out of my desire to bring innovation to the natural hair landscape and to make it easier to care for natural hair. I really loved the look and style of traditional headwraps but I needed something that was not going to damage my already sensitive hair and I had no time to study tutorials to learn how to tie them. I decided to create headwraps that were pre-tied, satin lined and easy to style and use on the go.”
What was the formulation process like for your headwraps when you first got started?
“Our designs were meant to mimic what it would look and feel like if you were wearing a traditional headwrap on your head. When we started out, I used remnant fabric I had around the house to develop a prototype. I played around with different styles and eventually landed on the product line we have today. There was a lot of trial and error and extremely valuable feedback from our engaged customer base. Of course the satin-lining has been the differentiating factor that set us apart from the day we launched. It was never a question for me."
What inspired you to name your brand You Go Natural (YGN)?
“My vision for this brand was to make women feel comfortable and confident wearing their natural hair. 'You Go Natural' was a fun play on the popular phrase “You Go Girl!” and I just ran with it.”
It can be intimidating to invest in new natural hair resources if you don’t know how to use them. What would you say to women who are interested in headwraps but unsure of how to wear them?
“YGN offers so many options to get you started and you can work your way up to being comfortable. Our satin lined headbands are comfy and provide enough coverage to still protect your edges whether you are rocking an afro or a ponytail. We also have a knotted t-shirt bun which can be slipped on just like a hat. We’ve made our products easy to manage and style in addition to featuring videos that show how our customers interact with the products.”
What are your recommendations for people who still have lingering questions about incorporating headwraps vs. bonnets into their hair routine?
“I view the headwrap as a completely different styling solution to the bonnet. As I mentioned before the product was birthed with the intention to mimic the fashionable headwraps that have been worn by women of all cultures for generations. That being said, our wrap is flexible and comfortable to wear to bed and many of our customers prefer it to a traditional bonnet because it allows them to remain stylish even as they sleep.”
We’re headed into the summer months, what are your tips for maintaining healthy hair?
“I always say that protective styling is essential in the summertime which is key for preventing your ends from getting damaged and keeping moisture in the hair. I personally love to rock braids! I always recommend sleeping with a satin bonnet or satin lined headwrap to protect your hair from damage.”
Curlies have a love/hate relationship with swimming, tell us about your swim turban collection?
“As we know, naturalistas tend to avoid the water. We spend hundreds of dollars on our hair for vacations and it’s not an option to mess it up. Our swim turbans are made to change the way that women with natural hair interact with the water. The swim turbans are silicon lined and are better quality than your average swim cap because it has a double lining of swim material on the outside, silicone on the inside, and then a sturdy elastic band around the edge to help keep the water out. It gives us more freedom in the water without feeling like our hair is holding us back.”
How would you describe your journey as an entrepreneur navigating the natural hair space?
“When I was first starting out I didn’t have a lot of money to start a business, so my initial struggles dealt with finding solutions to the obstacles I was up against while on a very tight budget. For example, when you start a business that is apparel or one that requires a manufacturer, typically you need upfront costs in order to get samples and that can be capital intensive. My mother taught me how to sew when I was younger so I relied on those skills to create my products by hand. I began selling them made to order instead of buying a bunch of inventory upfront which gave me the ability to adapt the products/design/colors according to customer feedback instead of being left with a bunch of orders that weren’t selling. Although it was a struggle that I didn’t have the financial support to build the business the traditional way, it forced me to think outside of the box and find our “secret sauce” at YGN."
One of the signature slogans of YGN is “protective styling made easy,” can you tell us more about how your products embody this?
“It’s been a beautiful journey to see how the natural movement has evolved and we see that in the dozens of tutorial videos, products, and regimens that have been built on the foundation of loving our hair. I wanted to go in the opposite direction because as much as we love to learn how to care for our hair, there are days when we do not have the time to spend learning how to style it flawlessly. My brand is about reiterating that caring for your natural hair does not have to be hard all the time.”
What is your vision for YGN?
"We are looking to expand the brand to be the go-to source for innovation in natural care. Our plan is to create solutions that have not been introduced before!"