Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka is the founder of The Afro Hair & Skin Co. which is a small independent afro beauty business located along the beautiful English coast. She created the brand in order to provide high quality green beauty options to meet the unique needs of afro hair and skincare that addresses some of the concerns of brown beauties. She took time out to tell me about how she created her beauty brand.
What made you decide to set up your own beauty business?
I’ve always loved beauty, but was somehow made to feel that it was a superficial interest. I’ve been modifying my skin and hair care to suit my needs for years but I never imagined that I would own a beauty business. I’d say it was born more out of a necessity. I was frustrated by the lack of high quality green products catering to the specific needs of my hair and skin. A lot of the green products that I was using failed to address some of the concerns more specific to my skin tone, issues such as hyperpigmentation and ways to help prevent it. As for hair care, I struggled to find green beauty brands catering to my hair texture and the specific needs that come with it.
What is the concept behind The Afro Hair & Skin Co?
The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is high performing green beauty for the woman (or man) of colour with health and wellness at its core. We design products that will effectively meet the needs of black women on a physical and sensorial level, drawing in elements of aromatherapy to promote wellbeing. I’m very lucky to live in a place which has an abundance of natural resources, we use sustainable locally sourced ingredients as part of our range. One of the main reasons being these ingredients are some of the freshest around as they haven’t had to be shipped anywhere, this greatly improves the product quality, by keeping more of the nutrition that’s vital for healthy hair and skin. The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is more than simply the omission of a few bad ingredients, our entire philosophy is based on health of mind, body and spirit and we cater to those who genuinely care about quality, health and the impact their choices have on the environment while appreciating the luxury of simplicity.
What sort of research did you do to find out what sort of products your customers wanted to buy?
It’s been a long process as the idea for the business came back in 2011 it has evolved massively from where it started, but over the years I’ve had many conversations with friends, family, colleagues and my product testers about what it is that they wanted from their hair and skincare. The key things that came up time and time again were simplicity, effectiveness and products that were multipurpose as there was so much choice already, and too many categories of products. I sought to condense multiple solutions into fewer products.
How did you decide on the look and feel of the brand?
I knew that I wanted the aesthetics to be very clean and pure looking, to reflect the quality of the ingredients that we use. I wanted the products themselves to be eco-friendly, stylish but understated. I’m serious about the transformative power of natural ingredients so I wanted a brand that embodied that respect and love of nature.
What are your future plans for The Afro Hair & Skin Co?
I’m working on new products, but I don’t believe in rushing things out for the sake of it. There are so many products out there that are surplus to requirements. I really want to make sure that whatever is next is something that solves real problems.
What are your favourite beauty products?
I love Coconut Oil for my body, I love ILIA Mascara and Flow Perfectly Balanced Facial Oil I’m not just saying that because it’s my product. I’ve been using it for roughly three years and my skin never looked so good.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own beauty business?
Initial set up is not cheap, but don’t let that put you off. Stay focused and get one thing done at a time. It has been five years in the making for me, but my desire for cleaner beauty products keeps me genuinely inspired and motivated. Be sure that it’s genuinely what you want and just go for it. What’s the worst that could happen?
You can follow Ibi on Twitter.