Accented Glory interviewed Kim Richard of Natural Roots LLC! Kim is a natural hair advocate and influencer. She has found her happy in all things beauty!
What inspired you to create your brand?
What and who inspired me to create my brand was my husband. After he encouraged me to go natural, I wanted to learn everything I could about my hair in its natural state. This inspired me to share my love and knowledge with other naturals.
The entrepreneur life can be like a roller coaster ride; ups, downs, and loops! What keeps you motivated?
What keeps me motivated is just that, I'm an entrepreneur to my heart and no matter what comes my way in life that tries to distract me from my course I always find myself back in business for myself. I'm a serial entrepreneur...LOL
Growth is intrinsic in brand building. What do you foresee as the next level for your brand?
I foresee Natural Roots LLC collaborating with major brands that I believe in; to give them more exposure to my community.
What advice would you give someone who's considering becoming an entrepreneur?
If you have thin skin it's not for you, stay consistent, believe in yourself and stay prayed up.
Most would probably classify me as a natural hair veteran. I began my natural hair journey in 2001, before the natural hair movement regained its popularity post 60s and 70s. Like most, when I first started out, I struggled with finding hair care products that met my natural hair needs. It was also difficult to find hair accessories. Most hair accessories in retail stores catered to a much younger demographic and were not natural hair friendly. So here I was, in a dilemma. I wanted to dress up my new natural tresses with age appropriate accessories, without damaging my hair.
Fast-forward 12 years later, after raising three beautiful daughters who are also naturals, I picked up a new hobby – crafting hand-made hair accessories. The hobby was both a time filler and therapeutic. Once I had a few prototypes created, I was surprised to find that my daughters liked the designs and started to wear them regularly. Soon they began to request specific designs, like the afro puff holder, to accent certain natural hairstyles. Other natural haired women started to notice our hair accessories and asked where we got them. When they found out I made the accessories, they wanted to purchase my products! So my daughters and I took a leap of faith and launched a handcrafted hair accessory brand for women called Accented Glory.
Many positive things have been birthed through my natural hair journey, most of which are related to my brand. Before starting Accented Glory, I had no entrepreneurial or marketing experience. With the guidance of my oldest daughter and small business online groups, I've learned a lot in the past few years about marketing and entrepreneurship. I’ve also built a natural hair Facebook group community, Accented Glory Naturals, of 300+ members that I co-manage with my daughters.
The relationships I have established as an entrepreneur have been great. I’ve met other forty plus female entrepreneurs who have decided to pursue their passions later in life too. Many of us are balancing full time jobs while building our brands. I’ve chosen to keep my full time job because I have two daughters in college. The steady income from my 9-5 helps to ensure their tuition is paid. Although having a full time job and business can be stressful at times, I'm thankful that my three daughters are actively engaged in helping me build the Accented Glory brand. I honestly couldn't do it without them - they have truly become my tribe; my support system!
Lastly, my natural hair journey has taught me a lot about myself, my passions, and my drive. Whether it's building a brand or mastering a flat twist style, with the right tools, I can do anything I put my mind to. Building my own brand has helped me to discover my passion to create beautiful things by hand. Now anyone can reap the benefits of this passion when they wear my hair accessories. Accented glory fosters my daily drive to be a better version of myself and to turn obstacles into stepping-stones. I can’t wait to see where my natural hair journey will take me next.
Tonya – Visionary and Accent Designer of Accented Glory
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Since being natural I have been able to love and appreciate myself more! I have learned to love my hair for what it is - kinky, coily and a little frizzy! It has been an awesome journey learning my hair and making the right choices to bring my hair to its healthiest. Though I have had some difficult moments with my hair, overall being natural is the best thing I could have done for my hair - it is healthier, thicker, longer and stronger and the last time I recall my hair like this, I was a young child. Then, I did not really appreciate my hair type but now I have embraced its uniqueness. I know to some, maybe many, it's "just hair" but being able to truly love and accept my hair has boosted my confidence and creativity and I'm excited to be able to encourage others to experience this journey as well!
Morgan (Instagram: The4cProject)
I started my natural hair process in 2013, however, I didn't truly embrace the idea of being natural until 2015. When I started the process in 2013 it was simply because my hair was extremely damaged due to dying and relaxers. I decided I would give up the relaxers in an effort to maintain my color....I just wasn't ready to go gray.
Well, let's fast forward to 2015. On July 1, 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Prior to the start of chemotherapy I was told I would loose my hair in about 14 days. My oncologist was right. In two weeks I was bald.
Five months after being completely bald, I embraced being natural. In January 2016 my new hair blossomed. Although, I love this brand new, chemical free, beautiful hair, I do understand, "I am NOT my hair."
Being natural my entire life has given me the opportunity to experience versatility in hairstyle choices over the years and especially in most recent times. However, I can easily recall when salons were inundated with Cosmetologists providing a variety of hair relaxers/perms, hair straighteners and chemical treatments to their clients and being natural was rare.
Growing up, I was happy that I didn't experience the horror stories that my friends shared about scalp irritation, head sores, chemical burns or hair breakage after they acquired a relaxer or chemical treatment. However, I have been burned a few times on my ear and scalp by the notorious pressing comb. During those times, being natural provided me with a uniqueness that heightened my self-esteem. Possessing natural hair wasn't the norm and I liked being different.
I take a holistic approach to my health and being natural is part of it. I love looking for healthier alternatives for my hair, skin and food intake. Products/ chemicals that we put on our hair and scalp, over time, in addition to the food we eat, can negatively/positively impact our overall health and appearance of our hair. Natural hair responds well to the organic oils in my kitchen and I love it! Being natural, though not always popular, has truly been a blessing and I am thankful for my mother passing the torch from her mother to be natural and stay natural.
Choosing to wear my hair in its natural state has allowed me to be able to embrace my hair has built my self confidence. It has also influenced my daughter's to love their natural hair too. My girls are my motivation and knowing that they embrace their hair at an age where appearance means so much is awesome to me. They are in the 7th and 9th grade.
When I first started the natural hair process, I chose to wear locs. As I continued to grow and learn as a person, I wanted my hair to grow with me. The process of achieving a goal in life to me was very similar to how my hair grew. The beginning process was hard; I had to stay focus and dedicated. As time went on, my hair continued to grow and learn it's pattern. It became something beautiful. Then I started a new cycle in my life and cut my locs. I continue to keep my hair in its natural state, because it was now a part of who I am. My hair has its own natural hair pattern and continues to transform as it grows, just as I do!
Even though the process of washing and styling my hair has increased in time, I feel my hair is much healthier. I also feel like my skin looks better without the relaxer chemicals being applied to my scalp. I get complimented much more on my hair now then I did when it was relaxed.
My natural hair journey began around age 30. My relaxed hair was damaged and brittle so I decided to go natural and see if I could grow some healthy hair. Transitioning natural and working in Corporate America wasn't the easiest thing to do back then, so I went natural for about a year and then cracked under the pressure to conform and fit in the workplace. I ended up relaxing my hair after my manager called me into her office one day to inquire about how I was doing. She made it a point to tell me that I needed to get my hair done.
Since that time, I've attempted to go natural three more times with no avail. I still was not experiencing the healthy hair results that I wanted and I felt self-conscious about my tiny fro.
At age 40 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. During radiation treatments my hair began to thin out in the crown of my head. I made a decision to cut my hair really short and once again let it grow back naturally. So far it's been great this time around. The difference is that I was more confident and strong, after just surviving breast cancer. My perception about myself has completely changed. It's been about 8 months so far and I'm still loving it and it's growing and very healthy. I receive overwhelming compliments on how nice and thick my hair is.
I am now loving my natural hair!
The impact of choosing to wear my natural hair has sparked my imagination, boosted my confidence and eased my mind. I say it eased my mind because after a decade and a half relaxed, I wondered if I could ever make peace with my kinks and accept them as beautiful. Well, I have. I style creatively, I have no shame in my ethnicity but embrace it fully. I'm not Black but bea]utiful. I'm beautiful because I'm Black.
Cierra has been a part of Accented Glory since its launch in June 2013. Outside of being an "Accessory Diva", she's a millennial who's currently navigating adulthood. Click Not One Of Your Little Friends to check out her podcast!