It’s another exciting #EntrepreneursTuesday!
From the shores of Nigeria, across the teeming, rising continent of Africa, and far beyond our borders, the natural hair movement is exactly that; a movement that is redefining the concept of beauty, as it relates to a woman and a very sensitive part of womanhood: the all important hair.
When you realize that 5 in every 10 women are sporting their natural locks, you also realize that this is a huge industry. And if you haven’t realized that, stand in line. Ngozi Opara has gone ahead of you.
Black and beautiful, Ngozi Opara is the founder of Heat Free Hair which manufactures hair extensions targeted at African women with natural hair. In 2012 Ngozi set out to fill a void in the natural hair industry by creating the Heat Free Hair Movement, inspired by the thousands of women that use sew-in weaves as their protective style of choice, but were limited to styles that require them to heat straighten their hair for the purpose of blending with their style.
Heat Free Hair manufactures high-quality wefted hair extensions, closures, wigs, and clip-in extensions designed to blend effortlessly with the different curl patterns and textures of a woman’s natural hair.
Ngozi’s entrepreneurial dreams started humbly- with a small hair studio in Washington DC where she tended to clients after a hard day’s work at her job as a financial analyst. She put her money where her dreams lay and grew her business with the monies she earned at her day job.
Not content with just fixing hair, Ngozi moving to Qingdao, China where she studied to become a Hair Manufacturing Technician, learning the ropes of her trade from the inside-out. Presently, Heat Free Hair manufactures kinky, curly and coiled textured hair for the different types of natural hair in their factory in Qingdao, China, ships to the United States for packaging, and then onward for sales and distribution.
And yes, their leading markets in Africa are Nigeria [unsurprising] and South Africa.
In addition to this, Ngozi Opara started the Heat Free Hair Movement, which educates and enlightens naturalistas through seminars, instructional videos and events.
Her major challenge, she admitted in an interview with HowWeMadeItInAfrica was fear… the fear of succeeding in a male dominated business and the fear of other people’s words and opinions preventing her from following through on ideas and taking risks with her business.
However, time and experience have taught her that people are always going to have an opinion, so it is best to set one’s heart steadfastly on one’s goal and pursue it, because it can be done despite what the naysayers say.
Moral of the Story: 1. Open your eyes to opportunities and leverage on them. 2. There will always be naysayers- flee! 3. Acquiring extra expertise in your particular industry is always a good idea. 4. Put your money where your money where your mouth is!