So, ever since I can remember, I have had a large fro of brown, curly, coily hair, and yes I have the pics to prove it. I was inspired from a young age by my mum aka StyleGuru who had the most memorable, large, bright red afro if shiny curls.
When I was introduced to MixedChicks in late 2013 by the famous stylist Brian Warfield, I fell in love. Real product, real quality, actually designed for my type of hair, why was there not more of this good stuff available on our shelves? I took a leap of faith and after 19 years of publishing and being a media gal, I started up www.theperfecthair.co.za selling quality international haircare brands for curly coily hair
Our launch in Campus Square's Share Salon (Auckland Park) early 2014, trialling, testing and selling international brands like MixedChicks, Carols Daughter, As I Am Naturally, KeraCare and the superbrand Ouidad – I learnt a lot from these ranges about how pure, natural and solutions-based African haircare can be.
It is not all about petroleum jelly! Here I met a world of entrepreneurs who really made a difference to the US haircare scene, and actually ignited the global transition to natural
But alas, I could receive no support from the international brands and prices kept climbing, so I had this crazy thought, I could probably make this myself…. African natural haircare for natural African hair! #pure #natural #African #recyclable
NOT FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF OTHERS
I had a feeling that I was in virgin territory (at least, for me) when my formulators, friends and trichologist connections had not seen formulas like the ones we had put together (my chemist and I). I mean really, what did a media girl, who'd been publishing for 19 years, know about haircare manufacture and retail?! I felt a bit of a joke, then I read, researched, went to see Dr Khumalo's team of trichologists at UCT, sat in on every hair debate and hosted one of my own, drew women in for a free hairdo and a chat for some on-the-streets feedback, and before I knew it, I had sweated out a range. In fact, three ranges. The Perfect Wave, The Perfect Curl and The Perfect Kinky Coil. The fact that my chemist Paul was still speaking to me after those long months was a miracle. And the packaging guy simply gave up on me. “Glass, are you MAD?!” I had to start at understanding what hair really meant to my shopper, why was she so emotional? Why did she make the choices on weaves and relaxers, and why did she want to shift…
Cebesile (pictured) and Anna (pictured) really summed it up for me: ahead of the curve, beautiful, proud. “screw chemicals, I love myself and my natural hair”seemed to be the mantra. I grew up like that so it resonated deeply. They were shopping online with me, trusting their beautiful coils to me and my products, sharing tips and style advice and just giving me a peak inside where they were at. I loved it.
So, after many many many years of a curly fro, I just got to the point where I could find no-one to give me the curly cut I wanted. I have spent a while looking at the DevaCut in the US and thinking ‘why don't we have stylists here who do that'?!
what I really wanted was someone to cut my fro while its dry, so that you cut the real shape into an angular, layered effect, short layers at the back, long layers in the front, height without weight. At about 11pm I woke up, took my daughters stationery scissors, wet my hands, dabbed on a bit of ThePerfectCurl styling cream and CUT MY OWN DAMN HAIR J
When they said product development was a hard and long road, what they meant was: its where you go to crumble – slowly. The product, the packaging, the funding, the marketing, the distribution, the brand positioning, the competition – I could go on. I was still publishing travel magazines at the time, which I love, so only one eye was on the ball. Which made it harder.
Getting the formulas right, getting the muti to do what you say its going to do, is what you think is the hardest part – its not. The other mountains are just as hard. But the ride is exhilarating, poverty-stricken and ambitious, and all you have to do is keep riding, I suppose.