Juwan Bepo,aims to leverage the ever-growing natural hair movement to empower Black women
Black women around the world are embracing their curls, ditching the European standards of beauty. Within the last few years of the growing national natural hair movement, even bans of racial discrimination based on Black natural hairstyles have been lifted. New York City banned policies that penalize Black people based on their natural hair and hairstyles. Employers and public places like libraries, gyms, schools and nightclubs are prohibited from forcing “Black people to change their natural hair as a requirement to be admitted in or retain affiliation with those settings”, according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Juwan Bepo Founder of the beauty tech startup Curly Tips is building a community where Black women are encouraged to love their hair in its natural state. Curly Tips combines community and marketplace in a uniquely innovative and creative way. The digital platform will serve as a space for Black women to communicate about hair care, topics include the best products for various hair types, how to minimize tension, and affordable protective style options. In the future, the beauty tech startup will enable brands to connect to consumers and influencers, creating brand partnership opportunities for Black women.
On what the long term goal is for Curly Tips
JO: My vision is for Curly Tips to be like a medium, I guess a middle ground so that women don’t feel pressured or aren’t under legal obligation to say these things about a product or brand because they are getting paid for it. I kind of want to be that point person for brands to come and say ‘hey we’re looking for people to come use our products and use videos of them’. But the one thing I require of those creators is to give their honest feedback.
On how Curly Tips will serve as a community based hub for Black women consumers
JO: I want to make sure that women who maybe do not have access to a stylist, especially during this pandemic, but just in general who can’t even afford to go to a stylist know that they can do these basic things like can learn how to cornrow their hair or twist their own hair. Just having a hub where you can get basic information or more advance information about products or brands is my goal.
SB: What do you wish that people knew about the industry that isn’t widely known?
JO: I guess this is coming from like an entrepreneur’s perspective about how investors or like how business people see the natural hair industry. I think that it’s still a challenge for them to see how lucrative the nature hair care industry can be and not only that, I think that the community itself, the Black community and our buying power, we want to see brands who are loyal to the community and are honed in on the social issues that are important to the Black community. I think if Black buyers see that there’s success there. I don’t think that a lot of investors know that. I think that prevents them from investing in the community, not just the businesses.