OTT Hair & Shaneka Neymour

So it’s been a long time since I featured a black business on here but finally, finally, finally. I got a hold of  Shaneka Neymour of OTT hair. I came across Over The Top hair, through a friend on Facebook and just simply had to get in touch. Since I recently cut my hair again, I could do with some OTT hair. Because some of us naturals know the struggle of growing out from a big chop. You’ve got this little puff ball on your head and all you want to do is put your hair in one, but your bun looks like it barely made it. Yes ladies, I’ve been there. Actually I’m still there. You don’t want to wear a wig, dem braids be itching like you’ve got fire ants crawling all through your scalp and the weave life is something your not ready to commit to. Plus a lot of these extensions look nothing like your natural hair type. So what is left?

*Drum roll please* Oh wait, I said it already. OTT Hair.

Right enough talking, Let’s see what she had to say.

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What gave you the idea to start up OTT hair?

The idea sparked one evening about 6 months after I big chopped. Around that time I was ready to start experimenting with protective styles but I didn’t want to wear a wig, weave or braids. What I felt I needed couldn’t be found anywhere so I created it myself. My goals were to save time doing my hair everyday, change up my style with minimal effort and still have a natural look. At the same time I was struggling with my next step career wise so I ended up developing a collection, brand and turned it into something bigger.

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http://www.otthair.com

What is the end goal for OTT hair and what is next?

I’m passionate about the things I create and share. It’s more than just selling a product. Happy, inspired women is what strive to see at the end of it all. The next step is…shhhhh 🙂

What is your definition of beauty?

My definition of beauty is the love and awareness that we have for ourselves and the way we transform that to connect and interact with others in a positive way. Of course there is physical beauty and we can all do something to enhance our appearance if desired but there’s nothing more beautiful than the energy we project when we feel good inside. That form of beauty can be seen AND felt.

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http://www.otthair.com

 

Who is your natural hair inspiration?

I don’t have a specific person as my inspiration, I simply admire the way other naturals try to inspire and support each other along the way.

One piece of advice for black women?

One piece of advice that I would give black women is to allow yourself to be happy. Only you can fill in the blanks.

A  few facts about the mind behind OTT hair.

A few facts about me: I will forever be an island girl. I was born and raised in Nassau, Bahamas and have lived in the Netherlands for 15 years. I enjoy music, dancing, and am always exploring ways to keep my mind and body fit.

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What’s one thing you think black people need to start doing?

One thing I think black people need to start doing is develop a higher degree of respect for themselves and others. There is so much unnecessary criticism, judgement, jealousy and condemnation within our communities. If you are not happy with your life, it’s time to look in the mirror and work on you, it’s not an opportunity to release negativity into other people’s lives and analyse their choices. We should be aware of what we say, what we do and don’t do and how that affects our own development, successes and journey in the world.

 So there you have it. Go check out her website ladies, http://www.otthair.com
Until next time. Stay Blessed and check out the other black businesses posts.

Klerissa Mcdonald’s ‘Curly By Nature’

So ladies, you already know I’m natural, but did you know that I’m a complete product junkie? Shampoos, deep conditioners, curl smoothies, coconut oil. Anything made for natural hair, means I’m there straight away, spending my money. So naturally, (see what I did there) I wanted to get in contact with a black owned natural hair care business for the segment. We’ve had a clothing brand, a barber and even a natural hair salon on here, but we haven’t an actual natural hair care brand yet.

So let’s put our black hands together and welcome ‘Curly By Nature’ to the collection of black businesses being featured. I managed to catch up with the founder Klerissa Mcdonald, who also happens to be a natural hair care specialist. (so she knows what she’s doing.)

So who and what is Curly by nature?

Curly By Nature provide natural hair products specifically made for us curly headed girls. Being a natural hair specialist, I’m pretty sure Klerissa knows what she’s doing. Products include hair Repair Oil, Moisturising Shampoo, Intensive Conditioning Mask and Nourishing Gloss Balm.

Curly By Nature also have a care clinic, located in North London. Which provide various services, like a scalp detox, to help maintain a healthy head of curly hair. (I seriously need to check this out)

*Curly By Nature believe’s that every individual and their hair, is uniquely beautiful and wonderfully made. We believe that individuals should have the freedom to embrace and creatively express themselves. We believe that everyone should experience truly healthy and stylish hair using quality, luxurious and natural care. Our goal is to guide many people into discovering the luxury and love of achieving and maintaining ultimate healthy and stylish hair through our simple healthy hair care methods and our natural hypoallergenic products.*

 

So let’s see what the founder of Curly By Nature had to say about herself and her business, shall we?

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Click here for Curly By Nature website

 

What gave you the idea to start up Curly By Nature?

I was compelled to dedicate my life to help, teach, celebrate and serve my community using my acquired skills and knowledge in hair care. It is a true passion of mine, something that I have been led to do since I was 8 years old. I now have over 20 years experience in natural hair care and a solid education in Cosmetic Sciences which is a great combination.

What is the end goal for Curly By Nature and what is next?

Curly By Nature exists to TRULY help people maintain healthy, well conditioned hair- essentially, that is our end goal. Our next step to achieving this is our brand new service (http://curlybynature.com/careclinic). 

What is your definition of beauty?

Clean.

To me this means a host of things and yes I suppose it does include maintaining personal hygiene *LOL* But I mean it broadly speaking in terms of the design of something being clean or simple. To me, beauty can be seen in a host of things but I would define it as being clean because as we know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if it is/ when it is clean or simple it is almost undeniable for example a glass, a room, a design, a body, a face, a picture.

Who is your natural hair inspiration?

My mum & my daughter.

One piece of advice for black women?

Take care of yourself.

A few facts behind the mind of Curly By Nature (Klerissa Mcdonald)

I am a professionally trained Ballet dancer, I am a self confessed foodie and I love to bake in my spare time!

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What’s one thing you think black people need to start doing?

We must start doing way more of ‘supporting one another’ in every sense of the word (actively promoting, feedback, education, volunteering, buying without asking for discounts etc…). I do think that the central issue is more of a financial one- I find that people want to support but due to economical reasons sometimes they choose not to which is a whole other discussion in itself.

I think that we need to find ways of making money by serving other communities as well as our own because as a community financially we are not necessarily the richest. We should be using a percentage of our profits and time towards empowering our people to be more business and community minded.

Any advice for someone wanting to start up their own business

Yes! I love to speak about this and have just written an article for Pure Beauty Magazine (published by Cosmetics Business) which will give you some super tips- you can read it here: www.curlybynature.com/purebeautycreateyours . In a nutshell I advise you to:

1. Define your vision

2. Study your target & market

3. Define your brand

4. Stay in start up mode

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So there you have it, a natural hair care brand, owned and run by a successful multi talented black woman. Now that is the definition of ‘Queenin’. #goals

Go check out the website and see for yourself. I’m going to head over there and get me some of that Intensive conditioner.

http://www.curlybynature.com/

Stay Blessed Queens.

 

Grooming Fit For A King

We all like a groomed brother, don’t we ladies. That fresh trim, the beard that connects, the smell of aftershave. OK let me simmer down. I managed to get a hold of a Mr Aaron Wallace. Founder of The UK’s first Black owned grooming brand, Shear & Shine. When I found out that they were only based in East Croydon, I had to get in contact.

Shear & Shine, not only have their own barber shop, but provide a brand of affordable products that are specifically designed for the black man. Beard oils, shampoos, conditioners and even fragrances.

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http://www.shearandshinegrooming.co.uk

*As a black owned business; our aim is to cater to black men in all things related to beard, skin and Afro Caribbean hair care. Our aim is to continue developing, designing and testing products and services specifically tailored to our community’s needs and delivering on the promise of great customer service with a simple shopping experience.*

That sounds pretty good to me. A company that knows what they are talking about, because they cater for people that they can identify with . Simple as that.

Looking after yourself and self grooming is sometimes only targeted towards women, which is all good, but the fellas need some TLC too. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look after yourself and maintaining your hair. It’s actually nice to see a King know what he’s doing and helping other Kings.

Anyway, let me stop and let’s see what the man himself had to say.

What is the story behind Shear & Shine, how did it get started?

When I was working with Start Young Global, a resource hub I launched in 2013 with my business partner Lina Gadi, I noticed the lack of emphasis being placed on Customer Service in a lot of the Afro-Caribbean barbershops and I wanted to change this.

I opened the Shear & Shine barbershop in 2014 with the ambition of developing a male grooming brand dedicated to Afro hair and skin that would put customer service and quality at the centre of its ethos.

In 2016, we launched the Shear & Shine grooming range as part of this long term vision.

What is the end goal for Shear & Shine and what is next?

The end goal is to have developed a brand that focuses on solving the everyday grooming problems faced by men of colour and to make those solutions accessible, high in quality and customer focused.

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I would like for us to be able to walk down the aisle in a shop on the high street and be able to pick up products that work on our hair, just as easily as you can pick up any other hair/skin care product.

Who or what  is your inspiration?

I would say my biggest inspiration is my mum and my daughter, my aim is to give both of them the quality of life they deserve.

What is your favourite product made so far?

I actually have two that I use every day and am a big fan of, the Hair & Body Shower Gel smells amazing and actually feels refreshing after a shower so I use it daily. My second favourite product is our Regal Beard Oil, which I use as part of my beard care routine.

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http://www.shearandshinegrooming.co.uk

I used to have trouble growing a thick beard, a problem I know others are facing too, but after I started using our Beard Oil, I genuinely noticed a difference and so have others.

I am not just saying this to plug, obviously I am a fan of our products, I wouldn’t be selling them otherwise but even if you ask our existing customers, they will tell you the same. Many have come back to us with stories of others noticing a difference in their hair and beards.

One piece of advice for black men.

Take care of your hair! It’s a simple thing to do that requires a little bit of reading to understand your hair type and a routine that includes shampooing, conditioning and moisturising your hair at least once a week. It makes a huge difference to your hair cut too. Healthier hair, cuts better and looks fresher after a trip to the barbers.


A few facts behind the mind/minds of Shear & Shine 

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Lina Gadi: “I have a degree in Advertising and Marketing Communication, I speak three languages fluently and I absolutely love travelling.”

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Aaron Wallace: “I have a musical and business background, I love reading and self development, and I am also a bit of a nerd, I love all things Marvel, DC, Anime etc!”

What’s one thing you think black people need to start doing?

Strengthen our community bond. We need to start feeling a sense of obligation towards one another. When I say obligation, I mean educating, developing, investing, supporting and nurturing each other’s development and progression. Each one teach one.

 Have you found that black people have been supportive of the business? (Friends, family, customers)

Yes. I have been overwhelmed and humbled by the sheer volume we have received so far from the black community in the UK and worldwide. From media outlets who are happily writing about us, to those who proudly share our story, to paying customers. Everyone has been very supportive in our journey so far and I am extremely grateful.

And finally. One piece of advice for anyone who is planning to open their own business.

Do you research, understand your business and market inside and out. Commit to self development and constantly strive to learn. I spend a lot of time reading and learning about different business practices/strategies, valuable skills, the industry etc.

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So there you have it, a black owned business in London, that caters to our Black Kings.

I wish them the best success.

Go check them out. http://www.shearandshinegrooming.co.uk

Calibakers: The Premier African History Brand

Now this is a company I just discovered recently, which is why I had to jump on and educate myself. (Cause you know a girl is already here for dat black money.)  Shame on me for not knowing who Calibakers were before. So now that I have been enlightened, let me show you what were dealing with.

So who are these Calibakers?

Calibakers are a or THE premier African history brand. I was just checking out the website and I’m liking the looks of that women’s ‘Knowledge’ T-shirt. They have a different range of footwear, accessories, body products and books. Including ‘CaliBaker’s Presents: Philosophy & Opinions Of Marcus Garvey.’ (Which I definitely need to get a copy of.) If you don’t know about Marcus Garvey, my friend, do not worry I will put you on. (or just buy the book)

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http://www.calibakers.com

*The mission of Calibakers as the premier African history brand is to empower our people by showcasing the greatness of our history. We want to be the vessel that plants and waters the roots Mr. Garvey talked about. Beauty and Sustenance. We promote the beauty of our people, our culture, and our history. We provide sustenance by using our skills and resources to support black communities, black businesses, and keep black dollars circulating in the black community. When we eat, everyone eats.*

I like the way they use the phrase “When we eat, everyone eats.” Black people need to start using that as their catch phrase. Calibakers, to me, are not only a place were you can buy cool T-Shirts, but Calibakers are a business based on the knowledge of black people. These guys know their stuff, they know their culture. Which means they can really cater to the consumer, they can cater for us because they are us. Plus you can learn a little something too. Education and what I like to call ‘Black economics’, is the key to progression Kings and Queens; and Calibakers are doing both.

Right, so I caught up with Calibakers and got the chance to ask them a few questions about their growing black empire.

How did the idea to start up Calibakers come about?

We started out making flyers for a local act. The design on the flyer took on a life of itself and created a demand for merchandising.

 What is the end goal for Calibakers and what is next?

Our short term goal is to build manufacturing plants all across the Americas, that will employ our people.

 

Can you describe your customers?

African American 15-45.

If you could choose a mascot to represent calibakers, who would it be?  (Calibaker’s inspiration)

 African history, because we honestly feel there is nothing new under the sun.

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Have you found that black people have been supportive of calibakers?

Yes they have, we have investors all around the world. Of course we have our hick ups and set backs, but they are just building blocks.

 A few facts behind the mind/minds of calibakers (you) 

We didn’t have enough money to buy a screen press, so we built one. Out of like wood and stuff.

What’s one thing you think black people need to start doing?

Building things, cars, computers and anything we may need as a people.

 

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So there you have it. You now know about one more really cool black owned business. Calibakers are people that genuinely care about the progression of our people, because guess what?? They are our people.

Go check out Calibakers at http://www.calibakers.com

Trust me its worth having a look and remember,”If we eat, everyone’s eating.” (that sounds so cheesy, but I now officially dub that as our catch phrase)

Sandra Dodds the mind behind Blackhairblackbeauty

Ladies, wouldn’t it be nice to go to a salon and for once and not get your hair torn out. Wouldn’t it be nice to get some advice on your natural hair, instead of hearing “ya hair tuff”,whilst the woman doing your hair simultaneously drags a fine tooth come through it.

Yes, yes your thinking. Well, I have just the thing for you.

Blackhairblackbeauty.

Which happens to be first up in my collection of beautifully black owned businesses. So who, what are where is Blackhairblackbeauty?

Black Hair Black Beauty caters to women of colour in the UK. We specialise in providing advice and information on natural hair and skin care. Our objective is to inform black women on how to maintain and enhance their natural look.

Black Hair Black Beauty is comprised of a team of specialists. We deliver natural hair and beauty workshops, consultations and seminars. The information we provide will give you the tools you need, that will enable you to create and enhance your own look.

Blackhairblackbeauty has just recently opened their first natural hair salon in London (Upper Norwood), which is a big plus for us naturals on the south side of the river. I got the chance to interview Sandra Dodds,  founder of Blackhairblackbeauty , to ask her a few questions about the business we will soon be hearing a lot of.

What gave you the idea to start up blackhairblackbeauty?

The idea actually came about when I was studying for my social work degree. I became friends with someone who was on the same course and she initially said about making natural hair products. I mentioned about doing consultations for black hair. We thought it would be a brilliant idea to work together. As we studying, we conducted a business plan. This involved carrying out field research in Lewisham. Black women stressed that they wanted a service where they could get advice and information on hair and beauty. It was then that Blackhairblackbeauty was officially born.

 What is the end goal for blackhairblackbeauty and what is next?

The end goal for Blackhairblackbeauty (or my personal goal) would be to set up a charity for black women (primarily single parents) who had a vision like myself to be a business owner but did not have access to resources or are not in the right supportive environment. I want to set up a charity where black women can access resources that I did not have (such as a financial advisor/business consultant) to aid them in achieving their dreams. When I set up the charity is when it is time to retire.

For now, Blackhairblackbeauty has just started. We deliver services, we have our first salon. I see this company extending into more salons across the UK (in particularly areas where there is not many natural hair salons), eventually making our own natural hair products which could potentially be sold in mainstream shops. Our objective is to deliver services which are affordable, accessible and for the everyday woman and that is what I strive to achieve.

Personally when the salon is up and running and I have created a managerial structure, then I would like to spend some time pursuing my creative passions. As it states on my website, I have self published my first book called Therapy (available on amazon – had to promote there lol). I would love to write another book about my business journey and dedicate it to my son. I would also love to give talks to black women about my journey and how I have overcome many challenges (creating the right positive mindset).

What is your definition of beauty?

My definition of beauty is simply to love yourself. There is nothing more beautiful than self love. Loving who you are as a person. Loving every bit of you. How you look, how you dress, how you wear your makeup, how you feel comes afterwards. As Lucille Ball says (quote on my website) ‘Love yourself first and everything else falls into line’.

 

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http://www.blackhairblackbeauty.co.uk

Who is your natural hair inspiration?

I do not have a particular person. My answer to that is anyone with natural hair-the everyday woman. Our natural hair shows our journey not only to the world but also to ourselves.  To me, I see a black woman with natural hair and I smile with joy, with happiness for the person because it is like she is saying a statement. She is non verbally communicating to the world ‘this is who I am naturally as a beautiful black woman-this is me!’. Don’t get more inspirational than that to me.

One piece of advice for black women.

Love who are you are –  a beautiful black woman. No one else gets to be such a special you!

 A few facts about the mind behind blackhairblackbeauty

  • I want to create a business where women feel empowered- where women use anyone of my services and feel like they leave with vital knowledge and feel great in the meantime.
  • My background is social care where I have always had a passion to support people to be the best they can be.
  • I get asked how did I set up this business-how did I overcome such challenges (especially with little money). The answer is simple-my faith, looking at my son everyday (gives me determination to keep going) self belief and creating a strong positive environment.

Whats the one thing black people need to start doing?

With the natural hair movement and #blacklivesmatter campaign it is evident that we are starting to work collectively as a group. I feel that this is so important and hope that we continue. I am very passionate about working in partnerships with other British black owners as working together can lead to powerful results.

 

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http://www.blackhairblackbeauty.co.uk

Now you know the mind behind the idea, why not give them a visit?

Go check out Blackhairblackbeauty on their website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

@blackhairblackbeauty