#BROWNGIRLBOSS: Building a Natural Hair Care Brand with Yetunde Jude
I am a mother, an author, and an inventor. Author of The Black Hair Care Revolution – A Simple Pocket Guide to Growing and Maintaining Natural and Permed Hair.
Describe a typical day for you?
Typically my days are very long. I start my days off with prayer followed by a cup of tea. On a given day, during the early morning I can be found in front of a computer planning my day. I communicate with clients and vendors, meet with my team and verify customer orders and shipments. I am hands on when it comes to designing marketing collateral and writing content for the various forms of communication.
How did you get started in the beauty and hair care business?
I got started in the hair care business in 1998. As a child my mother taught me about using natural ingredients to condition hair. People would stop me and ask me about my hair so often that I realized that there was a huge lack of knowledge within our community. Black women did not know how to achieve the soft, healthy hair that they desired. So I created a website where I provided free tips on how to take care of both natural and permed hair. I wanted to help black women achieve the beauty that they desired- good hair. Years later I wrote a book for beginners giving tips on how to achieve and maintain ‘good hair’.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel most creative in the earliest part of the morning when everyone else is sleeping. I feel tranquil and relaxed. Even so, my creative juices are always flowing. I was taught long ago to always have something to record my thoughts -even at night. I sleep with a pen and a pad next to my bed.
How did you go about choosing the name Yelani to represent your business? It’s beautiful.
Thank you. I wanted to dedicate the business to my to daughters. Yelani is a combination of my name and my daughter’s names – Yetunde, Alia and Amani.
How did you know this is what you wanted to do?
I have always been passionate about hair and I was taught that it is the responsibility of each person to give back to society. The moment I saw the impact that the advice I was giving had on women’s lives was when I realized that this is what I need to do.
With so many hair products on the market, it can get pretty overwhelming for consumers. Your products are known for being free of harsh chemicals. How do you go about keeping the authenticity of your brand and building that loyalty with your customers?
Yelani products are very different from what the average consumer is used to. Yelani All Natural Collection are 100% plant based – including the preservative. The shampoos are suds-free and the hair proteins contain live foods. To maintain the authenticity of our brand we only work with companies that share our vision. Yelani builds loyalty by providing products that work. We let the results speak for themselves.
Has creating an all-natural, chemical-free hair care line influenced other areas of your life?
I feel like other areas of my life have influenced me creating an all-natural plant based hair care line. I believe in eating healthy, drinking water and working out. I believe that you are what you eat and the more natural the better. I concluded that if all natural ingredients are good for your body then they have to be good for your hair too.
What are your two beauty must-haves? Do you use your own products?
My two must haves- Yelani’s Moisture Blast Conditioning Shampoo and Yelani’s Leave-in Conditioning Spray. They both keep my hair soft and manageable. The conditioning spray makes it easy to switch up hairstyles in between washings. I definitely use Yelani brand products and so do my family and friends.
I am sure running your own business has its stressful moments, what are some of your self-care rituals to wind down and relax? I love pampering myself.
Occasionally, I will sneak in a massage and a facial. There is nothing more relaxing to me than a nice facial with soft music and essential oils.
With over 20 years of hands on experience in the hair care industry, what advice would you give to aspiring natural beauty entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with like-minded people who support you and your dream. Keep on a steady path and don’t give up.
What are you most proud of when it comes to running your own business?
I love the fact that I can be independent and positively impact so many lives doing something that I enjoy. I am providing jobs, direction and helping to build confidence and self esteem. I am most proud of being able to fill a much-needed void in our community. This void has driven our community to spend billions of dollars in search of a way to achieve the ‘standard of beauty’ that enhances our natural essence. Yelani All Natural Collection, being the answer to this search, makes me proud.
Where can people stay connected with you online?