September 4th marks Jessicurl’s official 10 year anniversary!! :) It’s a major milestone, obviously, and we’re working on several different ways of celebrating. :) One way is to feature the curly hair stories of a variety of Jessicurl customers, with at least one from each year we’ve been in business. I interviewed them via email, asking them all the same series of questions. I’ll be rolling them out as a series of blogs throughout the month of September, starting with my VERY first customer ever! :) I figured since technically I’m Jessicurl’s first customer, I’d get a jump start on the series and answer the questions myself today. :) Keep your eyes out for the rest of the series to start next week. It was really fun getting to know some of the Jessicurl family better and I think you’ll find their stories interesting as well! :) For now, here is mine. :)
Tell me about your curly hair journey. Did you always have curly hair, or like many of us, did it go curly at a certain point in your life?
My hair has always been really thick and was stick straight until I was about 12. It started getting wavy then, and curled further when I was 13/14.
When you were a kid, let’s say, under the age of 12, how did you feel about your hair? Did you get along with it?
For the most part. I certainly didn’t dislike it like I did once it went curly but I do remember that it was often an “issue” due to how thick it was. I hated having to sit still to have it brushed and detangled and around age 10 cut it short so it was easier for me and my parents to manage it. I didn’t dislike how it looked though, just that it was hard to manage.
Did that relationship change at all during your adolescent years?
Very much. When my hair went curly I hated it. I was picked on, I didn’t know what to do with it and overall it made me feel horrible about myself.
If you fought with your curly hair for a portion of your life, at what age/point in your life did you decide to embrace your naturally curly hair?
I didn’t embrace it until my early 20s and even then, it was a long process.
How did the people in your life react to that decision?
Everybody was really supportive.
If you always loved and accepted your curls, is there someone in your life that you feel was helpful in helping you with that? If you had to accept them later in life, is there someone who you feel was helpful in accepting/loving your curls then?
My parents knew how much I hated my hair and they like curly hair so always thought I was crazy for trying to fight it. My mom has straight hair and always wished she could have curly hair and my dad has curly hair and embraces it, so I was lucky in that regard.
When, and in what context did you first hear of Jessicurl?
This question makes a lot more sense when it’s a customer answering it. :) Technically Jessicurl became a business on September 4, 2002 but I first started playing with flax seed hair gel recipes in August 2002.
What made you decide to try Jessicurl the first time?
I was fed up with buying hair products that didn’t work for my hair so started playing around with a flax seed hair gel recipe in hopes of creating something that worked for my own hair. Initially my intention was not to start a business, but when I told my online friends at the NaturallyCurly.com discussion forums, they asked if they could buy some from me. The rest is history. :)
What did the packaging look like when you first used Jessicurl? How did that affect your opinion of it?
I used to print the labels on my computer and tape them on the bottles. :) I didn’t love that look, to be honest, but I had to start somewhere. :) I MUCH prefer our current look with our beautiful, confident curly logo lady. :)
How has your relationship with your hair changed or evolved during your time using Jessicurl products?
I honestly have only loved my hair more and more. That said, I’ll admit that in a way, my hair obsession has gotten even stronger, since my whole world has become curly hair. :) It’s my job now, so it’s taken on a different meaning. But I do truly LOVE all things curly hair and I love MY hair, so I’m really thankful for that. :)
I was sent some lovely hair ties by Sarenzo Beads. Check out my review and find out how you can win one of your very own! :-)
Please share this with the young curlies in your life. Or curlies of any age. Or young girls of any hair type. Or anyone. :)
Dear 16 year old Jess,
It’s 7:00 am and you just woke up and removed your “cap”. You know, that thing you so ingeniously crafted out of a pair of nylons? You wear it while you sleep in an attempt to flatten out your hair and make it take up less space on the planet. Sure, your hair puffs back out after an hour or two, and it creates a pretty deep red indentation in your forehead, but we both know you suffer major anxiety if you go to sleep without that stupid nylon on your head. Only your best friend Betsy knows your secret curly hair flattening measures. :)
(Oh, by the way – in 15 years you’ll find out that you can actually buy something pre-made that functions in a similar way. It’s called a do-rag. There’s no way for you to have known that now though. :) )
I know how much you hate your hair, and how much thought goes in to trying to control it. How you think that if only your hair was straight, kids at school would be nicer to you; maybe a boy would ask you out. You put WAY too much thought into it and you let it have way too much power over you. But that’s ok. You don’t know it right now, but you’re not the only one. You won’t find out for another 10 years, but there are millions of other curly haired girls out there who are going through the exact thing you are. Girls whose self worth is tied up in what is growing out of their head. Some of them go to much greater extremes to control it, using chemical relaxers that burn their scalp and cause all sorts of other physical and emotional pain. It’s not just you. But you don’t know that right now.
I’m writing to tell you that it’s going to get SO much better. I promise. In 10 years, you’re going to decide you’re tired of hating your hair and tired of hating yourself. You’re going to create a line of products that actually make you LOVE your curls! (Don’t roll your eyes at me like that – I INVENTED that look!)
Not only will Jessicurl products make you like your own curls and feel better about your own hair, but they’ll help other curlies love theirs as well. It’s amazing, actually. Seeing you, right now, looking in the mirror and crying, not wanting to go to school because your hair is so puffy, and knowing that it’s going to be so much different. You just have to hang in there.
See the woman in that picture below? That’s you in 20 years. No, really. It is!
By the time you’re 36, you’ll have been in business for 10 years. Curlies all over the world will be using the products YOU developed and as a result, THEY will feel so much better about THEIR hair. So please, 16 years old Jess. Hear me. I wish so much that I could tell you to stop crying. To stop trying to flatten your hair. To stop thinking that if it was straight, people would like you. You are not your hair. But who am I, right? Just some old lady writing to you from the future. Some old lady with awesome curls, that’s who!
Because finally, I realized that I have the right to remain curly. And so do you.
As you may know if you read my blog or follow my Facebook page, last month I had an awesome trip to Richmond, VA. I’d never been there, so it was great to spend some time in a new city. I got to spend some time with the awesome folks at Imago, which is a curly hair specific salon that has been carrying Jessicurl for a few years.
Mary Jo is VERY well known in the curly world and her appointment book is filled months in advance. (For good reason. :) I was in desperate need of a hair cut so I was super stoked that I was able to get a cut by her during my visit. What I wasn’t anticipating was that I’d also get to get my color done while I was there too!
Jessica is another curly redhead Jess that works at Imago and she and I became fast friends. She did the color, MJ did the cut and I think the result turned out awesome. :) My hair felt much bouncier after and much healthier than it did before. Clearly I had let it go too long in between trims.
This is me and Jess, after she and MJ had worked their magic on me. :-)
Saturday of that weekend was the Return of the Curls event put on by Keenya Kelly. I had never met Keenya but I could tell from our phone calls prior to my trip that we’d become QUICK friends. :) She’s just a sparkle, as my mom would say. :-) Tons and tons and TONS of curlies showed up for this all-day event, as you can tell from my picture below.
If it’s one thing I love, it’s getting out and meeting Jessicurl fans. :) I love hearing your hair stories and seeing your hair and helping you get the results you want from Jessicurl products. I got to meet a lot of curlies that day and had a great time.
The grand finale of the day was the fashion show. Keenya asked me if I’d be in it and since I’m SOOOO painfully shy, I agreed. :) (In case you couldn’t tell, I was being super sarcastic there.)
It was SO fun being in the fashion show! :) As you can see by the pictures below, I didn’t chicken out and get shy at the last minute. :)
For a lot more pictures, courtesy of Imago, check out the album on my Facebook page. Thanks again Imago, Keenya, and all the Richmond curlies! I had a great time and can’t wait to see you all again! :)
Up next… Canada, then… ATLANTA!
Have you ever met someone and you just instantly feel like you want to be their friend, grab their hand and skip around through a field of wild flowers? :-)
That’s how I felt when I met Nina, aka Beautiful Brown Baby Doll. :) Nina is a well known and well loved blogger, YouTube video poster and all around awesome curly who posts about natural hair, beauty and weight loss. She personally lost over 100 and has kept it off for years, and we all know how hard that is to do. In fact, it’s so hard to do that Nina was recently featured in People Magazine for her accomplishments!Here's a picture from the print edition. That's Nina with the beautiful curls! :)
Now, come ON people, THAT IS SO AWESOME!!!! I met Nina a few weeks ago when I was in Richmond, VA for Return of the Curls and she was simply one of the sweetest, most genuine people I’ve ever met. I told her, “I can tell that if we lived in the same city we’d totally be friends.” :)
I’m so overjoyed with happiness for her success and that she’s being recognized on such a national level. I also love that my Too Shea Conditioner is part of her hair routine. :)
I just love seeing awesome curlies doing awesome things and inspiring each other to be more awesome so that’s pretty much all I have to say in this blog post. Congratulations Nina, you deserve all of the awesomeness coming your way. :) Hugs hugs hugs from me! :)
I get a fair amount of hair questions every day and thought this one might be helpful to some of you out there. :)
I have watched your demo videos and notice that you style your hair right after you wash and condition it. However, I usually wash and condition my hair at night. In the mornings if I were to start out with dry clean hair and then wet it so it is soaking wet and then style would the products work the same? Or is it better to wash and condition my hair in the morning before I style? Thank you for your help!
Here's my answer:
Yes, it’s totally fine to just wet it in the morning and then style as usual. You might find you need a bit of leave in conditioner to help with slip but maybe not, depending on your hair. If you want to fully style your hair the night before and sleep with it curly, it’s possible to do, though a bit trickier. :)
The best bet there is to let it finish drying all the way before you go to bed but don’t scrunch it out. Let it stay crunchy when you go to bed. That extra crunch will help preserve the curls overnight as you sleep. If you have a silk or satin pillow case, even better, because they will glide over it more smoothly than cotton and stay intact better. In the morning just scrunch out any lingering crunch and you’re on your way. It won’t look AS perfect as when you style if freshly in the morning but it’s a lot more effective than trying to achieve 2nd day hair. :) I do this sometimes when I’m flying out early the next morning and don’t want to take the time in the morning to do my hair.
If you’ve been following my blog or Facebook page recently, you know I’ve been talking a bit about getting a variation of my Jessicurl logo as a tattoo. I call it the “full body logo lady” for lack of a more creative name. (We really need to name her!)
We have temporary tattoos of her that I wear at events and every time they fade off I get bummed. That’s part of how I know I really want it permanently.
September will mark the 10 year anniversary of Jessicurl, and that is a large part of the reason why I’m deciding to get this tattoo now. Ten years in business is a huge milestone, to be sure, but this image, this woman, means so much more to me than “just” the logo for my company.
She is us. All of us. She is the curly, confident woman we have become through our often challenging and turbulent relationships with our hair. She allows her natural curls to flow, to be, to fly. In short, she Has The Right To Remain Curly.
I for one did not always recognize nor exercise that right and I know many of you didn’t either. The last ten years have meant a lot to me, obviously on a professional level but on a very personal one as well. The fact that I’ve had any role in helping any one of you feel ANYTHING like the woman in my logo is huge to me. The fact that *I* ever feel anything like that woman is huge to me, given how insecure I’ve felt about my hair for so much of my life.
When I think back 20 years to how I felt about my hair at 16, and compare it to how I feel about it now, I have no doubt in my mind that I want that image emblazoned on my body for the rest of my life. :-)
This is where this story gets even cooler. I consider the official anniversary of Jessicurl to be the Tuesday after Labor Day, since that is the day in 2002 that I got my business license. Makes sense, eh? This year, I’ll be up in Canada with my dad and step-mum Wendy.
I decided that I wanted to get the tattoo done during that trip, largely because my dad was one of the first people to encourage me to wear my hair down and curly back when I hated it and used to wear it up all the time. He would say, “But Jess! It’s like a big beautiful lion’s mane!” and I’d say, “THAT’S WHAT I HATE ABOUT IT!!” :-) Also, he embraced HIS right to remain curly long before I did, as he had a LOT of curly hair…ahem…back when he had hair. ;) I also just really wanted to get it as close to our anniversary as possible.
The tattoo parlor I chose is so popular, they only had one 2-hour opening during my trip ... on Tuesday September 4. :-) Yep, the Tuesday after Labor Day, exactly 10 years to the DAY. I’m feeling pretty good about this decision, folks.
So, I know, tattoos aren’t for everybody, and that’s cool. I already have two so I know I’m ok with them. And for all of the reasons stated above, I KNOW I’m going to love this one. In fact, I’m kind of counting down the days until I have it! :)
*Oh – since I know you’ll ask. I’ve decided it will go on my upper arm/deltoid area because I want it to be visible. :) My hair covers up my upper back/shoulders, I already have one on my ankle that I hardly ever see because I wear boots all the time, and I really just don’t want it on my inner wrist, as has been suggested. So, there you have it. If you’ve provided input that you don’t like that spot, well, please don’t feel I’m ignoring you. :) This is the spot that I’m personally most comfortable with. :)
I just got back from Richmond and have a longer blog post planned with pictures and more details about the trip, but for now, here's a quick video to show you the hair cut I got at Imago! :-) Also - I have a pretty important question for you in this video... ;-)
You sure made it clear that you loved Ryan's Stuff Curlies Say video when we featured him in our Contest/Scavenger Hunt/Quiz/Game-Thingie, so it seemed only fair to invite him back to announce the winners! :)
We love teaming up with Ryan for these videos, so please, post in the comments if you have any ideas for what you'd like to see from him in the future! And don't forget to scrunch! :)