We love hearing about the various journeys people take towards flourishing and fulfilment, both personally and professionally. We had a chat with Curly By Nature‘s Klerissa about starting her business and things she learnt along the way.
Can you tell us a little bit about Curly By Nature?
Curly By Nature is a new British haircare company dedicated to providing healthy haircare solutions specifically formulated for genetically curly hair including afros, kinks, coils, curls, waves, heat treated, chemical treated and virgin/natural hair. We source the finest natural ingredients from around the world proven to be effective for curly hair types and couples this with simple haircare techniques and methods to enhance, beautify and maintain healthy hair. Our mission is to serve people with professional, luxurious and natural solutions that revive the beauty, wonder and versatility of hair and to dispel the negative myths associated with curly hair.
What inspired you to come up with Curly By Nature?
From the tender age of eight, I developed my passion to care for and style hair. I loved to be adventurous with hair, finding fun in creating beautiful protective styles on my own hair as well as family, friends and regular clients. After experiencing work life in several London salons, I witnessed the sad and shocking stories of chemical and heat damage that was plaguing the industry and the community. My desire to develop natural solutions for what I call ‘genetically curly’ hair (otherwise known as afro or naturally curly hair) began to grow. Instead of continuing to build a career in styling, I decided to focus on developing alternative effective natural haircare solutions to enhance and maintain the health of the hair and prevent common hair issues associated with heat and chemical treatments.
What do you wish you had known before you started it?
I do not think that I would have changed anything—life is all about living and learning. Every challenge or mistake I’ve made has made me stronger and wiser.
What is the most exciting aspect of your work?
Witnessing the difference that our products and techniques makes to people’s everyday life is the most exciting and rewarding thing about my work. I get so much pleasure out of seeing the people enjoying their true beauty and loving themselves to the fullest. In addition I love the flexibility I have of being my own boss so that I can work around my children.
Have you had any training along the way to help you to do what you do?
In regards to training I am certified in Advanced Natural Haircare Product Making, I have BSc (Hons) Management Sciences Degree (Sandwich Placement with Marketing), I have had accounting & bookkeeping training and a lot of work experience. I started working in a salon at the age of 14.
What are you proudest of achieving?
Aside from my immediate family it would be achieving two awards for “Best Business” and “Best Hair & Beauty Brand 2014” by UH Flare & the Start Young Global awarding young entrepreneurs.
What have been some of the hurdles you have had to overcome to get to where you are today?
For me, the biggest thing that I had to deal with was rejection and doubters. I have had many knock-backs on my journey with people saying that it may not work for various reasons. I stayed true to myself, remained positive and preserved. I learnt that when people do not understand you or your idea—it is easy for them to say that it won’t work. Having faith in yourself, understanding how to best communicate and making sure you know what you are talking about helped me to overcome my challenges.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s just starting out?
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Use multiple strategies and research methods. Share your idea and thoughts and get feedback. Make a list of the answers you must search for and make sure that you track everything! I would also recommend for budding entrepreneurs to test their theories and conduct as much primary research as possible—this is a great to learn about how they can achieve their goals easier and faster.
What does flourishing mean to you?
To me, flourishing means growing, developing, learning, iterating, and building on.
What advice would you give someone still at school who wants to do what you’re doing now?
Stay focused on your school work, get involved in extra circular activities, listen to your parents! More specifically to your business, develop your core product, research “How to develop a Business plan” then write one and continually develop it. This is a brilliant continuous exercise—it is never to early to start planning and its a ‘working document’ which will always need updating!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I would have built Curly By Nature into a global brand leader with a strong portfolio of innovative and ground-breaking products.
What motivates you and brings out the best in you at work?
Being able to concentrate on creating something new that solves a huge problem and sharing it with the world generally gets me going! I thrive from the challenge of presenting useful solutions to everyday people. I live problem-solving, strategising and bringing my ideas to life!
What have you experienced and learned about working with others?
Simple—communication is KEY. There may be conflict, disagreements but the ability to work through that often helps to build long and lasting relationships which can add value to your business or life in general.
What are your strategies for balancing the demands of work with those of your personal life?
Getting the work/life balance is something I yet to master but I have definitely come a long way. Knowing and understanding your priorities is definitely key. Being disciplined and having great support systems are essential to balancing the demands of life.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken personally or professionally? Did it pay off?
I have taken many small risks but I believe going into business is the biggest risk have taken both personally and professionally. I believe that it is already paying off but ask me again in five years’ time.