I and the Founder and Chief Curl Curator of CurlScout. CurlScout is a curated online marketplace that connects women of color with kinky and curly hair textures to emerging natural hair brands that cater to their hair care needs. We work exclusively with small, women of color-created brands who do not yet have distribution in large retail chains, drug stores or beauty supply stores, and make it super easy for naturalistas to discover and shop their one-of-a-kind products, tools and accessories in one place.
I stay motivated by… breaking large goals into small goals and accomplishing them one-by-one even when it means pushing past fear and the self-doubt the creeps in from time to time. I realize that I truly can do anything I set my mind to and that has proven true along my journey, so I just keep the faith and keep moving.
Three adjectives that describe me are… Ambitious, Determined, Unstoppable
If I could have dinner with one person (dead or alive) it would be… Steve Jobs because he had a unique way of crafting his own reality and I would love to sit back and have a discussion about how he was able to persuade people that his personal beliefs were actually facts, which is how he pushed his companies forward.
The most exciting innovation to me is… The internet - it has provided a channel for entrepreneurship at unprecedented rates and made it easier than ever to get in the ring.
How did you come up with your business idea? What inspired you?
I am also a customer in the natural hair space and I was always having a hard time finding quality products.
I found myself spending a lot of money on trial and error and time researching & stalking social media and YouTube and asking friends before stumbling on really good products for my own curls I would describe as kinky-coily. Most the products available in larger retail stores and beauty supplies marketed themselves for curly girls, but didn’t really do the job for my hair. On my hunt for good products, I started discovering some really great ones and started to notice a few things in common about them: they were small companies, hard to find, only sold online and were always created by a woman of color who usually was running the business by herself. It was hard for me to find these brands without spending a lot of time on the internet searching, so I knew it had to be hard for them to find customers. I also knew that being hard to find was the last thing these small brands needed if they wanted to grow their businesses. I wanted to level the playing field and make it easier for small brands to get the exposure they deserved while helping women like me with kinky and coily curls find and buy great products made with our needs mind.
What were you doing before this? How did it prepare you for the entrepreneurial life?
I’m an internet business attorney by trade and actually still practice law now. As a lawyer, I get to solve problems every day, must think critically and spot issues that need to be fixed. Entrepreneurs are problem solvers and see voids in the market and fill them. I thrive on helping others get from point A to point B in business and playing an integral role in helping them solve real life problems. Practicing law can be pretty demanding as well. I am certainly no stranger to long hours, hard work, and having discipline to get the job done which are all necessary to succeeding in your craft as an entrepreneur.
How far are you willing to go to succeed?
To the limit. The entrepreneur life is not for everybody even though social media makes it seem extremely glamorous. This path is not for the faint of heart. When you are passionate in your pursuit of bringing your vision to life, it’s going to require a lot of discomfort, pain, hardship and sacrifice - things the average person usually isn’t willing to endure. I know success is going to require that I be uncomfortable at times and I am ok with that. I never want to leave this earth with a bunch of what if’s so I am prepared to bet on myself and endure whatever obstacles and challenges come my way along this journey.
If you were a book, which one would it be and why?
At this moment, I would say “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. I pick this because it reminds me of all the mixed emotions I have felt along this journey of entrepreneurship - doubt, fear, longing for a life I never have to take a vacation from. Being a lawyer, my days are more predictable, work is fairly routine, and I have spent a lot of time in formalized training. On the flip side, being an entrepreneur is the polar opposite and akin to the wild wild west. Stepping into my entrepreneur shoes requires that I own my inner badass, push past my fears, and be confident and steadfast in my vision and ability to figure things out. So the book title is a reminder to me to always own it because I control my destiny. It’s always nice to have a spunky little reminder in my pursuit of happiness and being an innovator in the beauty space.
What are some pros and cons of having (OR not having) entrepreneurial parents?
I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. My family is from the Caribbean (Haiti) and a lot Caribbean parents expect their children to get a good education which means becoming a lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc. I started out in much the same way going to school initially set on becoming a doctor then I realized I couldn’t handle blood or hospitals and decided I would become a lawyer. It was these types of professions that my mom always equated to being successful. Growing up, I always felt this weight to please my mom in selecting my career. A major result and con of selecting a career in this manner out of fear of disappointing those that mean the most to us is that it stifles our ability to try and explore a variety of other careers and professions when you’re younger with less responsibilities. The good thing is, it’s never too late to make a change and get started on what you want to do. It’s not easy, but will be worth it. And let’s face it - we spend a majority lot of our lives working, so each day we should be immersing ourselves in things we are most passionate about and that makes us happy.