Hair care entrepreneurs and professionals, Rebecca and Ashleigh, the founders behind the online hair subscription service 4 Curly Hair. The brand is focused on providing women and men with Afro Caribbean hair with a diverse range of healthy organic and vegan hair products. The aim is to provide a stress-free hair shop experience. Gone are the days, where we had to go into our local hair shop and search for our hair products where the assistants had zero knowledge about our hair type. 4Curly hair is here to make life much easier and not to forget they have their own in-house scientist! We speak with Rebecca and Ashleigh to find out what they consider as a ‘stress free hair experience’ and much more.
Thank you for taking the time to speak with. How did the idea for 4CurlyHair come about?
It was partially based on frustration. Often, we would go into Paks which is a well-known hair care store in the UK, or all of these other beauty suppliers or stores and you are served by people who know absolutely nothing about Afro hair. They regurgitate things that they have heard other Black women say in the store. They will never understand your hair type. It was a bit frustrating to think “Why are we as Black women paying so much money to get hair products and advice from someone who doesn’t care about us?” so then the idea of 4CurlyHair was born.
What sets you apart from other natural hair care subscription boxes currently on the market?
We are different from other subscription boxes on the market as we offer smaller black-owned brands that are not available in big stores such as Boots, Superdrug and Paks. We have subscription boxes to suit everyone’s budget and even have one as low as £5 a month which has a sole aim of providing people with the knowledge of all the great quality brands that are available for them.
How do you both balance a 9 to 5 with a growing business?
Balance can be tricky, but I tend to apply the 80:20 rule and spend 20% on the business e.g. during my lunch hours, out of work hours and weekends. The pandemic has been a bit of a blessing in that it has allowed us to spend more time on the business, as the business grows it is becoming more demanding of our time. I also wrote an article on Black Ballad which discusses how to juggle work with your business or side hustle.
Starting a business, what are some of the challenges you did not realise you would have to face?
One of the challenges that I think is rarely spoken about by the business owners who are self-funded is finance. It’s difficult trying to balance the financial needs of your business with your own personal finances or savings goals. It is also more challenging than I expected to be able to get a grant. I would also say marketing can be quite challenging; the majority of us use social media so we think we know how it works from a marketing perspective of how easy we think it is to gain followers or engagement. The truth of the matter is we have no idea. Marketing is something we have had to learn, and I think we have come a long way in this regard.
Can you tell us about the products you offer?
We offer 4 subscription boxes (Standard, Luxury, Discovery, and Hair Goals) and stock 8 brands. The subscription boxes prices range from £5 to £34.50; we are very proud that we offer various subscription boxes that can be geared towards someone’s hair type, goals, and budget.
This past year a plethora of black beauty brands are receiving the recognition they deserve. Do you believe that the beauty industry is becoming more inclusive?
I do think the beauty industry is becoming more inclusive, although this is certainly a step in the right direction the sincerity or longevity of this is yet to be seen. I also do believe and have seen a lot of black beauty brands are making their own lane and I think that is also important and beautiful to see.
Your brand philosophy includes providing a ‘stress-free hair shop experience’. Can you briefly tell us about your experiences growing up shopping for hair products?
Growing up whenever I went to the hair shop I had to have some inkling on what I was going there for, this was mostly because there were so many products stocked that were actually damaging for my hair so I had to do my research beforehand (also if I was too vague in my description the sales assistants were never able to help). There was also the countless times I had been followed around in the shop by a member of staff; this always used to frustrate me because the shop’s customer base was black women/men so I didn’t understand why someone would have a negative prejudice towards your customer base. Why not sell something else if you think we’re going to steal from you. With age, I realised that some business owners know how much the industry is worth but do not value the people behind those figures.
Natural hair subscription boxes are becoming increasingly popular, why do you think that is?
2020 has limited our movement, this has made people look at ways to get their necessities without having to leave their homes. The subscription model is the easiest way to go about this, and we can also see products sold on amazon also using the subscription model as well. I think that prior to the pandemic people also just wanted ease of access/use, if they don’t have to think about doing something or if you minimise the steps or level of effort for them then that’s a big plus.
How are you looking to expand the business in the next 5 years?
Over the next 5 years we are looking to onboard more subscribers, be a household name and have a bigger team to help us with marketing, strategy, and UI/UX. We would also like to host our own popup event so let us pray for miss Rona to leave us for good and who knows maybe we will also launch our own product!
Unfortunately, we are amid a global pandemic and it has significantly impacted businesses and the economy. How has it impacted your business?
The biggest impact to our business has been that we have not been able to do any popup shops, which has been such a shame because Ashleigh and I love doing them so much! It is honestly so wonderful meeting customers face to face or meeting people who follow our social media or who have previously purchased online. Popups are such a great opportunity to also network with other brands as well and see black owned businesses across several different industries.
You can find out more about the brand here.