Before natural hair influencers, before YouTube, before Facebook, there was NaturallyCurly.

When we started NaturallyCurly in September 1998, we did it because we wanted to make the world a better place for curlies like us. We were just three curly journalists frustrated by a lifetime of living in a straight-haired world that all but ignored us, whether it be the lack of products available for textured hair, the absence of curly models or celebrities, or the dearth of stylists trained in how to work with curls and coils. With NaturallyCurly, we wanted to create a curly haven to empower, inspire, and educate the underserved majority with curls, coils, and waves.

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In the beginning, NaturallyCurly was a hobby. We thought we might sell a few NaturallyCurly t-shirts. But we had the right message at the right time, and curlies found us. Our message resonated, and our community grew quickly, representing all ages, ethnicities, and textures. From the beginning, we have been a truly inclusive community where people can share their stories and get information about how to work with their curls, coils, and waves. We bonded over our shared desire to embrace our texture, even if our journeys were different.

Because consumers were flocking to us, brands and retailers soon followed. Within a year, we were contacted by a major consumer product company launching a line for curly hair. NaturallyCurly, they said, had the largest concentration of curlies of any media platform – both online and in print.

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Twenty years ago, we had no idea NaturallyCurly would grow into TextureMedia, a global media powerhouse, reaching more than 16 million people per month, and finding its place at the center of a grassroots movement that changed the way society views texture and facilitating the growth of an industry that serves the curly consumer.

TextureMedia has become one of the top resources for brands and retailers looking to effectively reach this valuable consumer, providing key insights and consulting for product development and positioning, marketing campaigns and merchandising decisions. The company has worked with companies such as L’Oreal, Unilever, Target, Estee Lauder, and Sally Beauty as well as the many homegrown brands that populate this dynamic category.

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“Because of the service NaturallyCurly provided us — virtually from day 1 — it gave us an opportunity to co-develop and co-brand the multicultural beauty space,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and chief experience officer, Sundial Group, the parent company of SheaMoisture. “We, hand-in-hand, transformed this marketplace.”

At its core, NaturallyCurly is our community. We are celebrating 20 years because of you. You have shared your advice, your stories, and your product and stylist recommendations. You have visited regularly and told your friends about us. You have started your own products for curly and coily hair. You have launched your own blogs and YouTube channels to celebrate texture.

The world for textured-haired women is a much different place today because of all of you.