Curly Hair Solutions™ is happy to announce that Alikay Natural & Nstitute presentation of RISE Empowerment Tour will be sponsoring and sampling our newest product, Curl Keeper Styling Cream. Founders Rochelle Graham and Angela Walker will be taking the tour into 6 major U.S. cities, starting in Miami, Florida. Rise Tour is a business platform that is on a mission to help female entrepreneurs and small business owners, find the resources needed to build their brand. Both founders were able to sit down with us and tell us more about this inspiring tour and the ideas that inspired it!
What is the most exciting part of organizing this tour and what is the overall inspiration behind it for you?
R: The most exciting part of organizing the RISE Women Empowerment Tour with Angela Walker is being able to share this inspirational experience with all the amazingly talented female entrepreneurs that will be featured on the panel. Individually we’re impressive, but together we’re unstoppable. Through opening up and sharing our own stories of challenges and successes, we aspire to empower women to overcome their own insecurities. Their insecurities can lead to the false perception of needing to tear down women who are RISING, or doing well, out of fear that they may inhibit our opportunity for success.
A: The most exciting part about organizing this tour is working with all these inspiring women. It’s always eye-opening and knowledge building to work with other women and see that there are different ways to achieve the same results. We’re all on different paths with one thing in common: the goal of reaching OUR goals.
When did you first decide to embark on your natural hair journey and what was one of your best/worst experiences?
A: I decided to embark on my natural hair journey less than one month into my Freshman year at University of Maryland, College Park. I didn’t big chop until May 2007 of that freshman year. My worst experience was straightening my hair for my sister’s wedding. I hated it, it felt limp and dead and when I went to shampoo it my curls didn’t come back the way I wanted them to. My best experience has been wearing my bush and my current hair style of choice, my free form locks. Both styles are wild and free and represent who I am.
R: Inspired by my mother’s decision to pursue a healthier lifestyle, which included transitioning her relaxed hair, I decided to let go of my relaxed tresses. I went natural and “Big Chopped” in 2007 and then did a second “Big Chop” in 2008 due to color damage. Initially, I began documenting my natural hair journey in college with photos and videos to use as a reference point for determining the best ways to re-create my curly hairstyles later. As more people started inquiring about what I did to achieve different styles on my natural hair, I started creating instructional videos on my BlackOnyx77 YouTube channel to support other women. Having always felt a connection with nature since my early countryside childhood with my herbalist grandmother in Jamaica, it wasn’t long after my second“Big Chop” that I began bringing the herbalist remedies to life with the creation of Alikay Naturals.
Do you think the natural hair products currently on the market are addressing the concerns of naturals? Why or why not?
R: While I do believe that there are a few brands that are truly addressing the concerns of naturals, many brands are missing the mark when it comes to communication and research. As consumers, we can’t be lumped together into one mold. The best way to discover what tight curly hair needs, is to reach out and have an open dialogue on what products are essential for their lifestyle/hair type. The individual consumer’s voice is very instrumental to the process.
A: I absolutely do. I think some concerns of naturals will not be concerns in the near future, but for now if you have a hair problem there is a product out there for you. I don’t think in the future naturals will be as concerned about “stretching” their curls because they’ll get used to what they have and embrace it at all lengths. Heck, we may even have a concern of people wanting to tighten their curls because their hair got so long, LOL. But again, I feel our natural hair product companies are doing a great job of keeping their ears close to the ground and listening to what their current and potential customers are asking for and finding a way to provide it for them.
Many naturals today feel frustrated at the lack of solutions for some of the challenges they face with their hair, what words of advice/encouragement do you have for them?
R: While everyone’s hair is different, patience is an important part of all of our journeys. Even though a style may not come out how you expected or a product didn’t work well for you, the most important thing to do is do not give up. One of the things I love the most about my natural hair texture is the style versatility. I have gone through many stages along my hair journey and I have found that a great solution for decreasing frustration is patience, because it will help you to take the time needed to find out what will work for you.
A: Go to a stylist. The only reason any women would feel frustrated about her hair is because she doesn’t know her options and she doesn’t have resolutions to her many hair problems. YouTube and Blogs can only tell you so much. Go to an expert who deals with hundreds of curlies on a monthly basis and listen to someone talk about YOUR hair from a different perspective.
What can we expect from RISE in the future?
A: You can expect for RISE to be a beacon of inspiration to current and upcoming women of power. You can expect us to continue spreading the amazing stories of women who have done it and woman who are doing it, “it” meaning being amazing and shining bright in their own light. This RISE tour is exemplifying that a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle; we’re on a mission to light a fire under as many women as we can to get their dreams out of their head, off of their paper and into the palm of their hands. We’re on a mission to show women that we can RISE together.
R: We are looking forward to adding more cities to our national platform for 2016, as well as adding more speakers and workshops. Along the way we will stay focused on reaching out and finding ways to connect other female entrepreneurs and encourage them to empower one another.
To find out which cities RISE will be hosting events in or for ticket purchases please go to www.riseempowerment.com and follow Rise Empowerment on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @riseempowerment.