Founder of hair care line, VTESSIA Cosmetics, Vicktesha Cunningham is a mother and entrepreneur combining motherhood with business – an enterprise she launched at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. The brand uses sustainable plant-based haircare products to help women combat postpartum symptoms, such as hair loss and several other issues, some of which she experienced personally. Her passion for natural hair care birthed this brand and a desire to make an impact in the beauty industry keeps her going.
In a virtual sit-down with Vicktesha, we discuss the CEO’s entrepreneurship journey and why she believes the beauty industry is becoming more inclusive.
To start off, can you tell us a little bit about your career journey and how you came about settling on a career in beauty?
It is a bittersweet story. VTESSIA was launched last year after I experienced postpartum alopecia in 2019. I was mortified by this and what made it worse, I was unable to find a solution to repair my hair. So, out of frustration, I created my own infusion, which worked! That is when the idea was conceptualised – for me to start my own haircare brand.
Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Yes, since early childhood I have desired to start my own business, but I did not get the courage to start until I went through the experience of post-partum alopecia.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Passion to serve others, persistence, patience, determination, and hard work. To me, I believe they are the most important ingredients required for success.
Can you tell me a bit about the products and what distinguishes you from other skin and hair care products now?
We provide luxury handcrafted natural products for women with dry, thinning, and damaged hair. Our products are also 100% recyclable, vegan and cruelty-free. In addition, we have a low carbon footprint and a strong passion to help women embrace their natural beauty with confidence.
Can you explain briefly the process of sourcing your ingredients and also, what ‘clean beauty’ mean to you?
At VTESSIA Cosmetics, we love nature and all its goodness; that’s why all our ingredients are plant-based. Also, we only use ethically-sourced suppliers from the UK. ‘Clean’ is not just a statement to us, it is our fuel. That is why we avoid – at all cost – nasty chemicals in all our ranges.
The beauty industry is becoming more inclusive, however, it has a long way to go. What are your thoughts on this progression?
You are right and movements like Black Pound Day in the UK and Black Lives Matter have certainly helped a great deal. I also believe that soon there will be more businesses at the forefront, run by ethnic minority groups. It is my aim to be one of them.
What are some of the main challenges you have faced since launching VTESSIA?
One of them has to be actually sharing my story. I didn’t feel comfortable doing so as I felt it was a personal experience. The other was getting customers to buy my products; this went on for months but has since gotten better.
Unfortunately, we are still in the middle of a global pandemic and it has significantly impacted businesses and the economy. What’s your personal experience been?
I know right! The business was launched in March 2020, just at the start of the pandemic. It has been tough. That is why I had to learn very quickly how to sell online and network to increase the company’s brand awareness.
If you could give 3 tips to boost your well-being during this season, what would they be?
First, take time out; you need time to recharge. Secondly, trust the process; nothing good happens overnight. Last of all, ask for help, you cannot do it all alone.