What motivated you to start your business?
AVOCURL grew out of my dorm room before I even knew it would become my business! Like many women and men with naturally curly hair, my hair was traumatized from heat and chemical damage, and it was hard for me to find products that truly nourished my curls. Chemical-laden products on the market were just not cutting it, especially once I moved to upstate New York for school and the harsh winters magnified all the damaged I had already been experiencing. My hair began to thin and fall out and I realized I needed to make a change. After experimenting with homemade hair remedies and using chemical-free ingredients like avocado, rich butters and oils, I discovered how nourished and healthy my hair could be. I threw out my other products after the first deep treatment I made, and made up my mind that I would be making my own products whether it was a business or not. The seed was planted to turn this dorm room creation into a business once my friends and family started using it and kept returning for more.
What is the greatest barrier you faced in launching your business and how did you overcome it?
My greatest barrier was myself. It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something because you have never done it before and don’t have years of formal training, especially in this society when you’re young, black and a woman! But when you have a passion for doing something it’s hard to ignore it. I’m thankful for my parents who instilled in me at an early age that anything I put my mind to I could do it. Their support is what kept me afloat when doubt started to creep in. I’ve also experienced what it’s like to feel stuck doing something that you don’t really love or get excited about when you wake up in the morning, so I had to decide that I never wanted to feel that again. I’m learning everything as I go, but I get excited about the process to find out.
Do you have a mentor? How did you find him/her?
Absolutely! My first mentor, Theresa Harrison, and biggest mentorship network I gained through the WBENC Student Entrepreneur Program. I’m thankful for their continuous support and genuine desire to help business owners like myself grow.
If you could go back in time to when you were first starting, what would you tell yourself, with the intention of avoiding mistakes and heartache?
Don’t worry about the unknown, get comfortable with change, be more confident and express gratitude on a daily basis.
What resources have been most helpful to you?
My parents, access to opportunities like WBENC and the Student Entrepreneur Program, the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association, free mentorship and information from programs like SCORE and the Small Business Development Center, and YouTube.
What does success look like for you?
Success is happiness, freedom and community.
What do you do to recharge?
I love to train so I’ll go for a run or get in the gym with some friends, listen to music, sleep, eat and laugh a lot.
What’s your advice for a young woman that’s considering starting her own business?
GO FOR IT! You are the only one stopping you so throw the doubt out of the window. Surround yourself with energy that motivates and uplifts you. You are powerful so don’t let anyone stop you from watering your seed!
During the month of May, National Women’s Business Council will be profiling young women entrepreneurs—many of whom are still students. Visit the NWBC Blog every Tuesday of the month to learn more about these inspiring women.