Finding a hairdresser you like can be a difficult feat—and once you find one, most people stick with that person for years. Syreeta Scott is one of the hottest hairstylists around—and it is not only for the way she does hair, but her holistic approach to hair care. Scott is CEO of Duafe Wholistic Hair Care based in Philadelphia. And she has attracted such clientele as Janet Jackson, Bill Cosby, Ben Vereen, Smokey Robinson, Sonia Sanchez, Jill Scott and Marsha Ambrosius.
In fact, Jackson will fly Scott to Paris to coif her hair as she did for Jackson’s official engagement/wedding photo. Scott’s passion for hair and African culture has turned her salon into one of Philadelphia’s fastest-growing salons for natural Black hair and natural hair care products.
TNJ.com: When and why did you start your company?
Syreeta Scott: Duafe was established in 2001. I worked at an insurance company, in the underwriting department. I was absolutely unfulfilled. Hair was my passion, so I threw caution to the wind, took a leap of faith and started Duafe Holistic Hair Care.
TNJ.com: How did you finance the startup?
SS: I started Duafe with a mere $400, that was withdrawn from my 401K and the rest was sweat equity. I made house calls, so there was no overhead in the beginning. I saved!! My rule was, “Never spend more than what I made in a day.” I stayed on task and worked 365 days a year. I knew if I remained focused that the reward would come in the end.
TNJ.com: What were some initial hurdles?
SS: The biggest obstacle in the beginning of my business was controlling growth. Being so goal-focused, more times than not I forgot about myself in my business, which ultimately led to extreme burnout. At the time, I was unaware of the importance of pacing myself, asking for help and realizing that I didn’t have to do it all on my own. Now, I’m fully aware that you have to create leaders around you. Identifying people’s strengths and relying on them, and preserving myself are key. I transformed into a distance runner and left the crash and burn behind me.
TNJ.com: Why is your product considered holistic?
SS: Duafe products have been created to ensure that our consumer is using recognizable ingredients, products that you may be able to find in your kitchen. The holistic rule of thumb is if you can’t ingest, do not use it on your skin and hair. Our society is consumed with products that we don’t even second-guess using; but once you begin researching some of the ingredients, you find that they can be detrimental to your health.
TNJ.com: How did you attract a celebrity clientele?
SS: Attracting celebrity clientele, for me was an organic process. It was truly great timing. I began servicing the local radio personalities, which grew into musicians, then the music producers and soon after the artist. It was just a process of establishing strong and trusting relationships; always being reliable and offering the client, whether they’re a celebrity or not, a safe space.
TNJ.com: What are the benefits of counting celebrities among your client base?
SS: Personally, the benefit of having celebrity clientele is being able to travel the world doing what you love. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Japan, Greece, Paris and Italy, just to name a few. Those experiences showed me the power of possibilities and created a life standard of exploring the world which has helped me expand my creativity in business and my personal life.
TNJ.com: What are your business goals over the next five years?
SS: My five-year business goals are to gain a distribution deal for the product to be carried nationally. I also want to offer franchising options for Duafe Holistic Hair Care and launch my lifestyle brand, Pure Style.
Having the pleasure of servicing clients for over 10 years, I’m clear on their hair needs. For example, Duafe’s De’funk is perfect for removing unwanted odors from your scalp and hair. This product is perfect for women and men who live an active lifestyle, may frequent smoke-filled clubs or lounges, or who may exercise. This product is amazing for people who wear locs, braids or weaves. Most important… our product delivers healthy scalp and hair as promised.