The other day I posted the first in what will be a series of blogs that were inspired by a question asked by a Jessicurl customer.
Dustin wrote, “Can you tell us about the ups and down of starting a business from scratch and some of the things that surprised you? BTW, I met you at the Mountain View Farmer's Market about 10 years ago!”
It was a great question and as Jessicurl is swiftly approaching our 10 year anniversary in September, it seemed like great timing as well. (In fact, that farmer’s market Dustin mentions occurred during the first six months I was in business!)
The thing is, I could go on for DAYS answering this question, telling stories and providing anecdotes. It could end up the War and Peace of blog posts. :) So I figured it made more sense to parse it out into a series of posts that would allow me to better address certain aspects of her question. You can read my first installment here.
Part of Dustin’s question is, “what surprised you?” I’ve really been spending a lot of time thinking about this over the last few days, as I was jogging yesterday, doing the dishes last night and diffusing my hair this morning. :)
There are lots of ways to interpret this question but the first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that as a result of Jessicurl, I have learned that I am good at public speaking. If you read my first post in this installment, you’ll see I’m quite able to list off all the things I’m NOT good at, so I feel ok in admitting what I am good at. :)
I had absolutely no experience public speaking prior to Jessicurl and honestly, no desire to. It is said that the majority of people fear public speaking more than anything else and while I was never that extreme, it certainly wasn’t something I sought out. The Jessicurl story is compelling, however, and after about 2 years or so, I started getting asked to speak to Rotary clubs, University business classes and various other public forums.
The first few times I did it, yes, I was nervous. Not the kind of nervous where I fainted or anything like that, but I had butterflies, for sure. I knew I’d only keep getting asked though, so I thought to myself, “Ok Jess. You need to get better at this and more comfortable with it. What’s the hardest, most challenging way to do that?”
Answer? Standup comedy.
So I started doing standup comedy (not very well, mind you) as a way to get more comfortable with public speaking in general. And you know what? It totally worked! :) Now I have absolutely no trouble talking to any size group, whether I’m prepared or not.
I can’t emphasize how thankful I am about this. I realize what a fear speaking to groups is for so many people and I feel really fortunate to feel the way I do about it, given what a huge part of my life it is now. When I was sitting on my couch (nearly) 10 years ago taping Rockin’ Ringlets labels on bottles I had NO idea how important that comfort level would be in just a few short years. I still can’t do the bookkeeping and I never will be able to. THAT causes a fear in me that causes dizziness and shortness of breath like nothing else. :)
I’ve included a few short YouTube clips from a keynote address I gave a few months ago at the North Coast Youth Summit. The entire speech was about 20 minutes long so I broke it into 3 more manageable pieces.
The first two are parts of the Jessicurl story you’ve likely heard before, but the third is something new I added for that particular audience of 200 high school kids. It includes a story I’d never told in public, that, while intense, really illustrates what I wanted to drive home to those kids: That sometimes you don’t know the impact you have on people you interact with, so do your best to make sure your impact is positive.
This first segment talks mostly about my teen years and my struggles with my curly hair, including some of the names I was called and the strange tactics I employed to tame it.
Part 2 tells the story of how I created Jessicurl in 2002 and what those early years were like.
Part 3 includes a pretty intense story, the purpose of which was to illustrate to the kids that sometimes you never know the impact that you have on individual people. It's a lesson we should all keep in mind as we go through our lives.
I'm sincerely flattered by this piece about Jessicurl that recently ran in our local newspaper, The Arcata Eye. It's now up online for you to read and follows the whole Jessicurl story - from my hair hatred in high school, right up until present-day. :) I think you'll agree, Kevin Hoover's writing is top-notch in this piece. :)
Today I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to blog about, so I asked my friends on my Jessicurl Facebook page what they wanted to read about. Makes sense, eh? And hey, if you haven’t yet, feel free to check out our Facebook page.
I was expecting hair questions, but Dustin posted this: “Can you tell us about the ups and down of starting a business from scratch and some of the things that surprised you? BTW, I met you at the Mountain View Farmer's Market about 10 years ago!”
This was my very enthusiastic reply.
“Hi Dustin. Sure! I'd be happy to, and WOW, I can't believe you just threw down a reference to that! :) Actually, it would have been Sunnyvale since I never did Mountain View, but I only did it ONCE so that's amazing to reconnect with you again here! Thanks so much for sticking around for 10 years! :) You met me when I was still making my products in my kitchen and taping the labels on the bottles! You are like a piece of Jessicurl history!! :) So cool!! :) I'll get to work on that post right now, thanks so much for the suggestion. :)”
(Yes, ok, I know. I use smiley faces as punctuation marks. I can’t seem to help it and I’m 36 now, so I don’t see it changing any time soon. You know me by now. You know it’s just how I am. :)
I’ll admit that my mind is kind of reeling right now at the enormity of this question. In a mere 2 months, we will be celebrating Jessicurl’s 10 year anniversary, so we are in full-on brainstorming mode on the best ways to commemorate that. It’s also causing me a lot of personal reflection, and Dustin’s question ties in really well with that.
There have been many MANY ups as well as a fair amount of downs. :) I don’t think I can cite them all here in one blog post so I think this might be best handled as a series of blogs I can roll out over the next month or so that allow me to go into more depth on individual aspects.
I’ll say very honestly, right off the bat, it’s a good thing I had no idea what I was getting myself into. :) I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done it, I’m just saying that sometimes, ignorance really is bliss. :)
Starting a business from scratch, overnight, with no experience, is hard. (If you don’t know the background story on how this all got started, you can read about it here.)
The very simple truth is that I didn’t mean to start a business! I was just trying to come up with something that worked for my own hair. Once it became clear that other people weren’t interested in making their own hair products, but would rather buy it from me, all of a sudden my life was totally different.
A lot of people who go into business have the luxury of time and planning. They know in advance what they want to do, they think it out, talk to people, and learn about their target market so that when they officially go into business, they know at least something about…anything. :)
What I knew about was hair. And people. Not websites. Not graphic design. CERTAINLY not bookkeeping. (I still don’t, actually.) So I learned very quickly the importance of doing what I was good at and trying to figure out how to get other people to do what I couldn’t. I was really lucky over the years in that a lot of people saw my potential and helped me out, offering their knowledge and sometimes even professional services, because they knew there was something to this whole “curly hair thing.” :) I’ll go into more specific details about some of those people in future posts.
Let’s go back to that part about what I DID and DO know about – people. Namely, curly haired people. Jessicurl has always been a very customer-driven company. It’s why we have three scent choices and why those choices didn’t get axed when we did our re-branding last year. You appreciate the option, and it’s something that sets us apart. Heck, back in the early early days, I used to custom scent each BOTTLE for people! :) (Please don’t ask for that now though, ok? We can’t really do that anymore. :-)
From the very beginning, I knew this was what I was meant to do. I also knew that if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to keep doing it. So you matter to me. Very much. That’s the first lesson I learned, and one that I will not forget. :)
I’ll do another post in this series later in the week and as the weeks progress. Thanks again Dustin for encouraging me to put my thinking curls on and blog about this topic. :)
I was going to title this post “My Brave Review” then I was like, “Gawd that’s boring, and very much lacking in exclamation marks.” So I changed it. :)
I’ll say out the gate that there was no way I was NOT going to love this movie. So this is not a review at all really, rather, a “These Are The Reasons Why I Loved Brave” post.
First of all, there’s the whole curly red hair thing. :) Truthfully, until you guys started posting on my Facebook and saying Merida reminded you of me, it didn’t even cross my mind. But once it happened so many times, well, I thought, “Why not have some fun with this?”, and got the picture below taken. :) (Have I mentioned that my photographer Terrence McNally rocks? Because he does. Clearly.)
Anyway, yeah, Merida’s hair is amazing. In fact, it took Pixar THREE YEARS to create it. Man. And we thought it took us forever to do OUR hair. ;)
But this movie is about so much more than hair. No, really! :) I love love LOVE that she’s a Princess who goes against the typical Disney Princess thing of “Oh dear, but WHEN will I find my handsome Prince?”
Not this Princess. Quite the opposite! The LAST thing she wants is to get married and settle down – and I for one can totally relate to that part! I literally cheered out loud in the theater when she expressed her sentiments on that subject. ;) In fact, she opts to buck tradition and fight for her OWN hand. Way to go Merida! :)
I always say that Jessicurl’s tagline of You Have The Right To Remain Curly means more than that – that it means you have the right to be yourself. To love yourself. And this movie seems to be saying just that. With a head full of curly red hair at that. :)
So again I say, YAY BRAVE!!!! :)
Normally I wouldn't think people would chose to hear an ad, but if you have curly hair and are a Jessicurl user, I think you'll get a kick out of this one. :) It's one I made for KHUM, the local station where I advertise Jessicurl and also do a radio show on Wednesday nights called Global Grooves. Anybody who was ever teased about their curls will relate to this. :) If you've heard my story, you know it's 100% true. SPEAKING of Global Grooves, if you want to tune in, you can do so tonight from 6-8 Pacific time. Just go to www.KHUM.com and click the Listen Live button at the top of the page. It's 100% live radio, so anything can (and usually does) happen. :) I also happily take listener requests.
A few days ago one of my Twitter buddies asked me about pool hair care and I promised to do a blog about it, since I didn’t think I could do the question justice in a mere 140 characters. That said, the steps to protecting your curls in the pool are pretty simple. :)
First, you’ll want to totally saturate your hair with water. The old analogy of a sponge comes into play here – when your hair is already full of clean non-chlorinated water, it can’t soak up much drying chlorinated water.
After that, saturate it in a rich, thick conditioner, like my Deep Conditioning Treatment. This will help moisturize it and protect it further. Comb that through and then as an added bonus run about a nickel sized puddle of oil over the top of it. The theory on that last part is that since oil and water don’t mix, the oil will help give one last layer of protection. Will it create a totally water-tight barrier? Well, no. But it will sure help. :) If you’re up for it, throw a swim cap on for some serious protection. If you’re not up for it, know that you’ve done as much as you can to nurture your hair while having fun in the pool. When you’re done, rinse rinse rinse rinse rinse, and then rinse some more. Wash with a gentle cleanser like my Hair Cleansing Cream and conditioner with Too Shea. Style as usual and your curls should look their bouncy, ringletty best. :)
By now you must know of the (seemingly) awesome movie coming out tomorrow called Brave. It stars Merida, the heroine who, by all accounts, goes against the norms of her traditions and society as much as her large, big, red curls would suggest. The curly hair world has been all abuzz about this movie for months now, clearly. :) The general consensus seems to be, FINALLY! One of us! The heroine, not the geek in the background getting called mushroom head or chia pet! (These are all presumptions of course, as the movie doesn’t debut until tomorrow.) I think it’s safe to say though, that Merida prevails as the hero at the end of this movie AND that she’s able to do it without straightening her lovely curls as might be done in other movies.
Ever since the trailer began airing for this film, many many MANY of you wrote on my Facebook, Twitter and email saying you see a pretty strong resemblance between me and Merida. :) Nah…REALLY? :) SO, since that just kept coming up again and again, I thought it’d be fun to grab my awesome photographer Terrence, borrow a bow and arrow and head out in to the woods to take a Brave-esque photo of our own. :) And I was right – it WAS fun. We got a few strange looks, but I’m used to that by now. :)
But this whole Brave thing is so much more than a cool picture or a charming movie, at least to me. I talk to a lot of curlies all over the country with all different hair types and it sounds like a common theme is that to do what we’re doing – to embrace our curls, to LOVE our curls – is something that initially feels quite brave. For me, it felt brave to stop wearing my hair in a bun every single day for 4 years and finally let it loose and curly. For MANY of you the bravest thing you’ve done, hair-wise, was to stop relaxing, do the Big Chop, and allow your natural hair to grow out in all its curly glory. This is NOT just about hair, and you and I know it.
It’s about choosing to step out into the world and make a statement for which earlier in your life you may have been ridiculed. Maybe you’ll STILL be ridiculed by someone close to you. That’s scary. But you’re doing it. And THAT is brave. You’re telling the world that your hair is just fine the way you were born, thank you very much!
I found a great quote from Katherine Sarafian, producer of Brave. She says, “I think people will take different things away, but one important theme is the various types of bravery that we explore. There is a lot of shooting arrows, and riding horses and fighting wild animals - and that’s one kind of bravery, but that’s an outside kind of bravery. There is another, very real kind of bravery in your heart that is required to accept people as they are; for children to accept and understand their parents and for parents to accept and understand their children.”
And for us to accept and understand ourselves. That’s why I personally vibe so strongly with this movie, even though I haven’t even seen it yet!
So I pretty much can’t wait to see it, and REALLY hope it starts showing tomorrow up here in my tiny piece of the world. (Humboldt County, CA is pretty rural, in case you didn’t know. :)
Will you be seeing it opening day, fellow Brave curlies? :)
Happy Friday! Some of you may recognize the subtle shout out in the subject line to my all time favorite celebrity crush, Drew Barrymore. :) I love her. In perfectly acceptable, non-stalkery ways. (I live too far away to be a stalker anyway.) But I digress.
Later today I’m heading down to San Francisco and given the epic weather, you can bet I’ll have the top down on my car. That’s right – I have a convertible AND a hair obsession. How can that BE? I’m here to tell you my secrets. :)
The key to preserving your curls during a top-down drive is NOT to scrunch out the crunch when they dry. Whether you air dry or dry with a diffuser, when your hair gets to that point where you’d normally scrunch out any crunch, DON’T. That crunch is what will (mostly) preserve your curls during the drive.
Will your hair be in perfect, frizz-free condition when you arrive at your destination? Nope. Should you get over it and enjoy your life? YEP! :) In the end, it’s just hair, right? It might be a bit frizzier than normal and certainly wind-blown (duh) but by not scrunching out the crunch your curls will be in much better shape than they would be otherwise.(Oh, and no, this picture was not taken today. I don't tend to get so dressed up for long car rides. :) )
The drive to SF is about 5 hours from where I live and yeah, I’ll have some hairs out of place but nothing I’d be embarrassed about. Would I do that and then go do a Jessicurl photoshoot? Well, no. But it’s all about balancing our hair obsessions with the simple joys in life, right? Right. :)
And, since no sunny top-down road trip is complete without a killer soundtrack, I figured I’d share with you my go-to song for wind-blown driving: Freedom’s A Stranger by Scott Miller. If you don’t know of Scott Miller, you should. He’s awesome. Happy driving! :)
Check out the lovely Diane and her video. :)
When I suggested y’all let your friends know about our Contest/Scavenger Hunt/Quiz/Game-Thingie, she really took that idea to heart by making this video urging her followers to do just that. (Even if it decreases her chances of winning. :) )
Thanks Diane! You and your hair ROCK! :)
**Updated July 18, 2012 at 12:07PM Pacific time: This contest is now closed and the winners have been notified by email. Thanks for entering! We'll do it again in the future since it was so fun!
First off, welcome to my new blog! :) It’s been a while since I’ve kept a blog but I’m excited to start it up again. I’ll keep you updated with any Jessicurl info, as well as all things curly hair related and whatever else I hope you’ll find interesting. I’m totally open to your suggestions for what you’d like to read here, so if you have one, (or thirty-seven) let me know. :)
We’re kicking off the new blog with a Contest/Scavenger Hunt/Quiz/Game-Thingie! Why the long name? Well, we really just couldn’t figure out what to call this…thingie…and it was holding up actually TELLING you about this … thingie … so we stopped there and just called it that. Who cares what it’s called – participate and you can win one of three fabulous prizes:
First prize: $250 Jessicurl gift certificate
Second prize: $175 Jessicurl gift certificate
Third prize: $100 Jessicurl gift certificate
The best part is that participation couldn’t be easier.
If you’re a fan of Jessicurl on Facebook, Youtube or Twitter, you may have seen the AWESOME Stuff Curlies Say video my friend Ryan submitted. Ryan Constantino is the charming, curly haired guy you may recognize from the makeover videos on Jessicurl.com as well as our brochure. He’s an actor/producer and the video he made is hilarious and adorable. (Just like him, I suppose. :)
SO, here’s how this thing works. Watch the video – it’s embedded below. Below THAT is a survey with questions pertaining to the video. Answer those questions and hit submit. BAM. That’s it. You’re entered to win tons of Jessicurl products. Make sure to include your email address in that last question so that if you win, we can inform you of the awesomeness.
And hey, please share this with your friends/lists/followers. :)