Taking care of your natural hair can be complicated. With hundreds of products to choose from and a variety of textures to cater to, hair care doesn’t have a ‘one size fit all’ solution. Nicolette Rumph started her natural hair journey in 2014. During her transition she began doing research, learning many companies use harmful ingredients that aren’t conducive to the overall health and growth of curly and kinky textured hair. Seeking to change the narrative, Nicolette created a line of products to help combat common challenges in any natural hair care journey, specifically for men and women with curly and kinky textures known as Curlgenix.
What makes Curlgenix unique compared to other natural hair products?
Curlgenix is a luxury botanically infused haircare brand. With my brand, customer service has been the main priority for me. Making sure that everything is done in high standards from the service to the products they’re receiving. Secondly, one thing that is very important to me is just educating my followers and my audience as a whole. Making sure I’m always putting out informative information regarding my brand and natural hair overall. There are so many questions about natural hair. People are trying to figure out what products to use and get answers to common problems they have with their hair. I try to be that resource for them.
What added benefits do your products have being botanically infused?
I definitely incorporated botanicals and herbs mainly because it’s just better quality honestly. There are several hair care brands that primarily focus on ingredients that aren’t necessarily healthy for Black women. We want to use something that not only helps our hair but is also healthy and to use years down the line. I know there’s plenty of products with sulfates, parabens, and other things that people don’t even realize. They don’t care to really read the label. Those ingredients can really take a toll on our hair and it’s not something that I necessarily support. So I wanted to make sure that my products were not only unique but that they help us internally and externally.
We often see gender-bias in natural hair products that cater more to women. Why did you feel it was important to develop products for both women and men?
In the beginning, I was more female-oriented so I wasn’t really projecting toward men but I realized that men are a part of our community too. They have facial hair and natural, long hair just like we do. My boyfriend has a beard and he likes to take care of it. Guys and their beards are a serious thing, so I feel like not catering to them would be a disservice. I wanted to include them and make sure that they know they’re important too. The majority of the time they don’t know how to take care of their hair so I want to be that resource for them too.
What was the product development process like and what obstacles did you face when finally launching your brand?
The development process took lots of research to figure out what my audience really wanted. I wanted to figure out that particular need and not feel obligated to come out with a product just because. I wanted to be a company that really stood for something and education is super important to me. The process included using friends and family to test products, making sure products had the proper consistency, and ensuring they brought the result I wanted not only for myself but for others as well.
I would say my biggest obstacle would have to be exposure. That’s been my main problem especially with many other people starting businesses. You try to figure out how you can stand out and how you can be unique. Last year, I really focused on major events. I did several vending events and made sure to collaborate with a lot of willing leaders in the hair care and beauty space. That was my main channel of getting exposure. I did a few publications as well with some local companies making sure I got my name out there that way. I would say that’s my biggest hurdle, exposure, really staying relevant and unique as well in a time where things are always evolving.
Speaking of always evolving, how do you see Curlgenix expanding? Will you venture into products beyond hair care?
When I first started out, I always thought I was going to venture off to skincare but I noticed that, especially in our generation, we often jump from one thing to another. We try to be a master of all trades, so I want to focus primarily on hair care. I want to learn the industry inside and out and know everything there is to know about hair before I venture off into anything else. As far as the future, I definitely want to expand into more products. I’d love to have a shampoo and conditioner and formulate those types of essential products that we use on a daily basis. Right now I have oils and stylers but I want to prioritize cleansing products as well. I do want to get to a point where I am able to lease a warehouse where I can stash all of the ingredients and am no longer having to make the products handmade. That’s the ultimate goal then, of course, working with retailers as well.
Who has been your biggest natural hair inspiration?
My top girl, her name is Whitney aka @Naptural85, she’s a YouTube influencer. She’s been my literal hair role model since I started my natural hair journey in 2014. During that time I spent so much time researching people. All of the natural hair gurus on YouTube and every platform you could think of trying to figure out how to treat my hair, what things worked best and different hairstyles. Just seeing her growth as an individual and as a company as well [she recently started a haircare brand also] which made me resonate with her even more.