Shelley Davis and Her Kinky-Curly Is Riding the Natural Hair Wave

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Shelley DavisAccording to market research firm Mintel, the Black haircare industry is expected to reach $761 million by 2017 and with the trend of natural hair growing rapidly the products for this market has become a hot commodity. Shelley Davis is in the right place at the right time.

Davis launched Kinky-Curly in 2003 and offers all-natural hair products for women and children with natural hair. Davis, who originally hails from St Vincent & the Grenadines, now sells her product nationwide at Target and Whole Foods, online and even in the Caribbean in Trinidad and Jamaica.

We spoke to Davis about her company and hair trends.                                
 
TNJ.com: Why did you decide to launch the company?
Shelley Davis: I learned the value of herbs and plant based ingredients while traveling to my homeland St. Vincent and the Grenadines one summer.  After losing my cosmetic case and not being able to find any of my usual hair products at the town store on the small island, I then turned to a local who cooked up some roots and mixed in some aloe to wash and style my hair.  The results surpassed any product I had ever used.  Upon returning to the United States, I noticed my curly hair was stronger and shinier than ever before.  Everyone told me how beautiful it looked and kept asking what I was using.  Fueled by a passion for healthy hair and realizing that products containing alcohol, petroleum, and mineral oil actually did more harm than good, I shared the island recipes with family, friends and co-workers. My job at a major television network allowed me to utilize the “hurry up and wait” aspect of the entertainment industry.  During the endless hours of downtime, I enrolled in online courses in cosmetic chemistry.  I also researched natural ingredients in order to create an elegant formula out of the “juices and berries” that were applied to my hair back in the West Indies. Combining this newfound knowledge with my degree in marketing from Syracuse University, I was able to create Kinky-Curly.

TNJ.com: How do you compete with the “big boys?”
S.D.: We don’t worry about the competition. We simply strive to do our best and make quality products using the best ingredients.

TNJ.com: What were some startup challenges and how did you overcome them?

S.D.: Once the company started to grow and orders started getting bigger, we realized that we needed to be more organized and have better systems in place. We solved this problem by utilizing the many online apps available for small businesses – apps such as Mad Mimi to handle our email newsletters and Evernote and Basecamp to manage and organize information.

TNJ.com: Most important business lesson?
S.D.: The most important business lesson has been to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses. Put your energy into the things that you excel at and then hire someone to handle the areas that you struggle with.  If you are the owner or founder of a new or growing company, realize that it is impossible to do everything and your time is better spent coming up with new ideas rather than sitting in your warehouse counting bottles.

TNJ.com: What you like most about what you do?
S.D.: I love meeting my customers! I love answering hair questions and helping them solve any hair dilemma they may be facing. There is so much mis-information out there regarding Black hair that it is so important to dispel the many hair myths.

(CLICK HERE for a related article about natural hair care.)