We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Oshikanlu and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
When people typically think of racial disparity, they don’t often think of the Hair Products under their bathroom sink. Black people with kinky, coily hair textures are the highest at risk group of developing Hair and Scalp Diseases in the world? This is largely impart to a lack of specialized hair care products and a lack of knowledge on healthy hair grooming techniques for this complex hair type. As a result of attempting to achieve well-groomed hair: – Over 50% of this group will develop some form of balding (alopecia) from: (1) hormonal shedding from using products containing hormone-disrupting Chemicals; (2) high- tension hair styles, and (3) scarring of the scalp from heat and chemical burns. They will also face: – Stunted growth from brittle hair follicles from improper moisture content and nutrients. As well as, scalp disorders such as dry scalp and dandruff. – And are even 30% more likely to develop breasts cancer as result of cancer causing chemicals found in their frequent-use products. I started Hair CraQ because I am passionate about empowering the black and brown community and removing disparities that you may or may not know exist in hair care. With Hair CraQ I am able to do that through personal care products that touch your hair and skin on a daily basis.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. Hair CraQ is a science-backed product line tailored to making Kinky, Coily hair thrive by removing the disparities frequently found in hair care options for complex hair types. Unlike other brands, we solely focus on making hair care safe, enjoyable, understandable and pain free for complex hair textures. We are most proud that we’re a black-owned, woman-owned company providing kinky, coily hair care solutions made with quality non-toxic ingredients that contain no harmful chemicals such as hormone-disrupters, parabens or other carcinogens. How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? Getting to where we are today has not been easy. One of the major challenges to overcome with any small business is growth. As a small business owner, some times you’re not equipped beforehand to handle all of the additional responsibility that comes with expanding. I had to overcome this through delegation. This, however, was NOT an easy lesson to learn because I am a helper and asking for help is not something I typically do. I’ve learned the hard way that its okay to lean on the community for support when you need it. And that doing so, is actually a #winwin scenario. I’m proud to say that they’ve not let us down yet! We’ve actually launched a Kick Starter Campaign to raise funds needed to expand our product line and manufacturing capabilities as well as to expand our educational tools, team and to invest empowerment events within the community. We are giving Limited Edition Reward Packages in exchange for donations. Visit https://www.haircraq.com/kickstarter to help our cause and to learn more about our Kick Starter Project. What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story? I’ve learned that those with Kinky, Coily, Complex hair textures will unnecessarily suffer more unintended consequences from grooming their hair than any other group. This is largely impart to a lack of specialized hair care products and a lack of knowledge on healthy hair grooming techniques for this specific complex hair type. I want the world to know that Hair CraQ is for anyone who desires to achieve healthy full, hair without sacrificing health or well being. And that with our products, grooming Kinky, Coily Complex textures of hair in a painless and safe way are now possible.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Personally, I’m a good vibes person and it doesn’t take much for me to have a good time. That said, I’d ensure they had an amazing weekend filled with good-vibe experiences, whiles supporting other black and brown-owned businesses. Day 1 We’d start with a fasted HIIT workout at ReggieCFitness, Bodz and Bandz Fitness, TXFIT or F45 Pearland West. Then we’d pick a glutton-worthy brunch recommendation from IG: MySouthernBrand and then make a beeline to our restaurant of choice and eat all of those calories we just burned off! Later that evening we’d grab some cocktails and Nigerian food at Aria Suya Kitchen. After, I’d show them to a culture-rich and empowering experience at a SAiD Institute, Cubicles to Cocktails, or ION Houston mixer. Day 2 We’d go straight to Glossed Glam Factory to get the royal treatment with facials, brow shape ups and mani/pedicures. Then we’d grab some international cuisine! Oxtails or Jerked Chicken with Peas & Rice from Reggae Hut, Ropa Vieja con Platanos Maduros from Café Piquet or Butter Chicken & Naan from Kumar’s. Later we’d chill at Kaffeine Coffee and then ride around 3rd Ward. After, we’d drop in for a dance class like AfriRock with Lydrock, JAAJO with Tessa, or take a Dance Lab at Inner Me Studios with Nicole, Tinsley or Donnie. Day 3: Last day, we’d head to church at Wheeler Avenue for a spiritual tune up. Then head to Turkey Leg Hut afterward for an outdoor Brunch and Mimosas accompanied with feel-good music and other close friends. Later, we’d meet up with professional fashion stylist IG: IAmPlush at a local clothing Boutique like Vain Threadlines, Melodrama, or ModChic Couture to pull tailored looks for us for upcoming events. Lastly, we would end off with dessert from Krave Funnel Cones and call it a weekend well done!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Honestly, we have soooo many people to thank for our current success. We have to thank our loyal customers, the Houston Community, Texas Southern University & University of Houston student groups and family & friends who have shown so much support via patronizing our business and spreading the word to others! We also have to thank local Black Owned businesses such as Nimerex.com, Reggie C Fitness, Impulse Beauty, BLCK Market Houston, Pearland African Depot, Demand Africa (just to name a few) that have supported the Hair CraQ brand through stocking our items and/or spreading the word about our goods and services in some way shape or form. And most importantly, I have to thank God, our Lord and Savior, for giving me the idea to launch this business and bringing all of the fore mentioned groups and people into my life to ensure its success.