SCHICK Contributor, Lawrencia Nelson speaks with hair coach, Deborah Makinu, the founder of Naturally Aksanti, a platform that the French entrepreneur created to share her natural hair journey, through hair tips and reviews. Deborah is also a well-renowned hair coach, having launched a hair coaching program that helps women with Afro hair reach their natural hair goal, regain confidence and self-love.
In this interview, she opens up about the natural hair movement, navigating life as a Black woman in business and empowering women through coaching.
What was the inspiration behind Naturally Aksanti and what motivated you to start up your brand?
In 2018, I transitioned to natural hair and although it was my choice, I had a hard time being confident about the way I looked. I followed a lot of ladies and hair influencers on YouTube, which was helpful but there is nothing like a one-on-one conversation and personal advice. I decided to study Trichology and Haircare formulation to be able to understand the products I was using. My hair is now healthy, and I thought I could help a sister out with the expertise I gained. In short, Naturally Aksanti was born from my natural hair journey and the struggle I have been through on the road to healthy hair.
Briefly discuss what Naturally Aksanti does and how does it benefit women with natural hair?
Naturally Aksanti is a platform that I created to share my natural hair journey through hair tips and reviews. I also created a hair coaching program to help women with Afro hair on their individual hair journeys. On the platform, people can also find hair accessories, combs, and brushes.
What is your career background and how did it help with your brand?
For the past 4 years, I have been working within international learning and development departments. From this experience, I gained impactful coaching skills and techniques which I use to support my clients in achieving their hair goals.
“What saddens me is that we are forgetting the whole history of relaxer, what it represents and the impact it has on the Afro hair.”
Relaxers seem to be making a comeback in the Black hair industry, why do you think this is?
There was a big natural hair movement that started around 2014, but now it seems to be fading out. Everyone is free to do what works for them but what saddens me is that we are forgetting the whole history of relaxer, what it represents and the impact it has on the Afro hair.
Do you believe this will affect the natural hair industry?
Certainly, the industry will jump on the trend and rebrand it or make it appear healthy. I am not an expert but some brands put profit as their number one priority so they will produce the products that generate sales.
What services do you offer as a hair coach?
I design coaching packages to empower other women to be fearless and learn to take care of their natural hair.
In your opinion, what’s your brand’s unique selling point?
It is the blend of my professional background, my knowledge in trichology and haircare formulation, but most importantly my passion to help others.
So far, what obstacles have you encountered as a Black woman in business and how did you overcome them?
I am a wife, a new mother and apart from Naturally Aksanti, I am still working full time. Basically, I’m saying my plate is full and finding the time to manage all the different aspects of my life can be a struggle. So, the main obstacle is time and the best way to handle this for me is to plan, organise and delegate.
What advice would you give to a woman that is starting out her natural hair care journey?
Don’t overdo it, be patient and always be kind to yourself.
Where do you see Naturally Aksanti in the next 5 years?
I hope I will be able to support more and more women, continue to offer good-quality accessories and maybe some haircare products – and definitely no relaxers!
Learn more about the brand here.