Voted the Best Natural Hair Brand 2018, Afrocenchix is making waves (and curls) in the hair care scene. The vegan, botanical and fair-trade hair care brand boasts nourishing ingredients that really work for afro hair and curls. We sat down with the brains behind the brand, Rachael Corson and Joycelyn Mate to find out more about the brand and their entrepreneurial journey.
“Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back.” This #wcw we’re celebrating #femalefounders worldwide! Running a business as a woman often means not being taken seriously and having to fight harder for investment, contracts and press. After many years of this struggle we have buckets of respect for @itsadehassan @iamtobioredein @gina_thewigwitch @mswhyno @aligneddesignco @dorcascreates @mummys_day_out @immeiko @ukcurlygirl @curltureuk @passionlilie @antidotestreet @curlyellie @shirvina @aviela1 @mdmflow @keishaomilana @itsjesmylife and all the other superwomen we see building businesses and lifting up their sisters as they make the world a more compassionate, diverse and beautiful place. Here’s to strong, successful women inspiring the next generation and creating meaningful jobs! 🥂 Tag a woman who inspires you and spread the #love
MM: Hey Joycelyn and Rachael! Tell us a bit about Afrocenchix?
J & R: We formulate safe, effective, natural products for Afro and curly hair. We’re the first afro hair brand to be stocked in Whole Foods UK and we recently won the BBFA award for Best Natural Hair Brand. Our products are certified vegan and made with organic and fair-trade ingredients.
MM: What sets you apart from other Afro hair brands?
J & R: Our customers are the reason for everything we do and we work hard to make sure our products and events solve real problems. We use 97-100% natural botanical ingredients, because these are active, they actually work on Afro hair. Our products are free from animal derivatives and nasties including parabens, sulfates or SLS, mineral oil and we never use perfumes or fragrance as so many people are allergic. Plus we think natural essential oils smell better!
MM: What were your biggest challenges while setting up Afrocenchix?
J & R: We started Afrocenchix at 19 and had to learn how to run a business with no training or experience. It’s safe to say we had a lot of challenges! The company has grown through reinvesting profits and not having a massive marketing budget like most brands in the industry has forced us to be super creative. We like to focus on the positives: thanks to our wonderful customers and community we’ve managed to grow and serve hundreds of customers worldwide.
MM: How do you research into what the best new ingredients are, or do you mostly use traditional ingredients?
J & R: We start with scientific journals and industry reports then we visit conferences and events to find the best quality raw materials. Many ingredients have certain properties that are either enhanced or cancelled out depending on what they are mixed with so it’s important to do desk research first, record all trials and experiments when making products and test them out in different circumstances to make sure they serve the intended purpose. We love traditional African ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil.
MM: How did you meet and decide to go into business together?
J & R: We met at university, Joycelyn actually used to relax my hair. One day we were talking as she applied the relaxer, she told me about these oils she was mixing to regrow her damaged hair. I’m allergic to everything so I got over excited when she gave me an oil mix to try for my skin and I didn’t react.
There wasn’t a natural hair scene in the UK in 2008 and products had to be imported from the states. Joycelyn didn’t want to start a business but I’m stubborn when I think something should happen! I convinced Joycelyn we should give it a shot together and almost a decade later, here we are!
MM: Tell us about your crowdfunding campaign and why you decided to go down this route?
J & R: We’ve been working on revolutionizing the black hair industry since 2009. We want to move it away from profiting on the insecurities of black women by selling us billions of pounds worth of toxic, ineffective products each year. We’re changing the industry into one that truly cares and serves, one bottle at a time and crowdfunding allows our community to come along on that journey with us.
MM: What advice would you give to budding entrepreneur duos?
J & R: Do your research! Be patient, seek advice, support each other and always keep going.
MM: What do you do in your down time?
J & R: There isn’t much actually! We love music, books, food and spending time with our families.
MM: Where can we buy your products?
J & R: You can find our full range on Afrocenchix, in UK Whole Foods stores and top independent retailers such as The Grocery in Hackney, G Baldwins in Camberwell, Apple Jacks in Stratford, Indigo Wholefoods in Birmingham and Greenbay in Hammersmith. There’s a full list on our site.
MM: What’s next for Afrocenchix?
J & R: We’re on a mission to fix the afro hair industry and make sure the needs of black families are met on the high street without it being a big deal. Keep an eye on our Instagram and read our newsletter for updates!
To find out more about the brand, visit the Afrocenchix website