Urban Curls Salon, founded just 2 years ago, has quickly become a game-changer in the curly hair community by being the first salon dedicated to curly hair in Mexico City. In just a short amount to time, Rebeca and her co-founder Sharon introduced curly hair acceptance to a formerly straight-hair-only market, created their own line of products after an American company turned them down, and flipped curly hair acceptance on its head by training stylists all over the city in new techniques to cut their curly clients. With this being their first international feature, they were extremely excited to sit down with NC Social Media Manager Leslie and I and tell us their story as a young emerging salon disrupting the curl industry in the best possible way.
Lauren Murray: When we first heard about Urban Curls salon, we knew we had to come visit as curl acceptance and education is something we strive for every day. Can you tell us a little about what having curly hair means to you? How did the idea for Urban Curls come about? Can you also speak to the evolution of your brand? Not only did you train your stylists in curly hair, but you created your own product line!
Rebeca Serur: Well I have had my salon for 9 years now, but I never felt that I had a great haircut. Even with my stylists going to the best schools, I didn't feel comfortable, so where do I go? So, 2 years ago, Sharon told me that she had an idea about bringing a curly hair salon to Mexico because she is also curly and cuts her hair with the Devachan method from the United States. So, when I heard the idea, I said yes! That's what we need.
Serur: From there, we spent a year researching how many people in Mexico had curly hair and we found that all of the people in Mexico blow-dry, straighten their hair, or use keratin treatments. There is a census in Mexico City that has all of the demographic information, so Sharon took data from all of the states in Mexico and made an average of all the people and it's about 58%. There is a market here and we found that all of the curly girls that we met told us that they were unhappy with their styles. All of them.
At first, we wanted to bring a brand from the states and we called them and asked them about working with Mexico, but their response was that they were not interested in a Mexican market. With this response, we knew the only way to create change was to design our own products.
Serur: I'm a chemical engineer so I had a little bit of knowledge about making beauty products, but we also hired a chemist to assist. In the beginning, we made all of our products very natural and very organic, but we failed the first time. The mixtures didn't last at all, maybe only 4 weeks. After a few months though, we contacted a producer and told them which products we needed and which ingredients and we made a really great product that has a combination of the best things that are in the market along with a few Mexican ingredients.
We also wanted to train our stylists. We had 2 salons at the time [now they have 3] and we wanted to train our stylists in the United States, but we couldn't because they didn't have American work papers.
One lady we reached out to during our research phase told us about Scott Musgrave & Ron Suriano from Curly Hair Artistry, so we contacted them. They are very passionate about curls, and came to Mexico in May 2017 to produce a formal training. They trained all of our stylists in cuts and color for curly hair and I think our stylists, with all of the knowledge they acquired along with their previous experiences, have become excellent at curly hair.
Murray: What was the initial response? Were people scared to get a true curly hair cut?
Serur: Yes, all the people were like "You are crazy". It has been hard because we need to gain trust and I think 99% are really happy and will come back and recommend us. It has been also very liberating for our clients because being natural is the best thing you can do for your hair. Our slogan is "Free your style,love your curls! ". You don't need to wear your hair straight to be beautiful.
Murray: In the United States having curly hair can sometimes be looked at as a really negative thing. In Hispanic culture is it looked at negatively to have curly hair also?
Serur: It is not that it is a bad thing, because the Latina has a lot of curly hair and it's sexy, but it's not formal. We want to change that, because curly can be formal. And now curly hair is the thing to have. It is everywhere in the media.
Murray: Did you receive any criticism when you were thinking of how you could execute having a curly hair salon?
Serur: We never received it directly, but we have heard that other salons have critiqued us because we do things differently and we are telling their clients that the way they have been cutting their hair for many years is not the right way. I think it is normal to have criticism.
Murray: What does it mean to you to have the first curly hair salon in Mexico City?
Serur: We are so excited! We can think of hundreds of ideas, but we don't have enough time to produce them all. Lol We want to sell our products in other salons and we want to teach other stylists the technique!! It makes people feel comfortable with themselves, and it is great to go to a salon and have them tell you don't need to change who you are.
Murray: Have stylists from other salons come to your salon wanting to be taught your techniques?
Serur: Yes, we have a few! lol We are going to partner with Curly Hair Artistry to build a program to teach more stylists here.
Murray: Have you always loved your curls? Is this a new mindset for you?
Serur: The truth is that I have always loved my curls. I did feel like the ugly duck sometimes because I never wanted to straighten my hair. It did not match my personality. People knew I had a salon and they looked at me and was like "When was the last time you got your hair done?" Even my stylists were like "When can we blow your hair out?" and I didn't like that. This has been a really terrific time for me to know that I am not the only one and that other people love their curls also.
Murray: And how does it feel that your daughter [Rebeca has 3 children] is in love with her curls at such a young age?
Serur: I am so proud! In school, she cannot wear her hair out, so when she gets home she wants to wear her curls out all of the time! She is so proud of me, and my other children keep asking me when are their curls going to grow, but they have straight hair like their father. Lol!
Thank you so much Rebeca for chatting with us and we look forward to following the Urban Curls story more! If you are ever in Mexico City, definitely check out her salon and tell them we said hello! <3
For more information on Urban Curls, follow them on Facebook here.
All photos by @x_lazcano
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