What the cosmetics and personal care industry commonly called ‘multicultural beauty’ just a year or so ago has become ‘inclusive beauty’ today. It’s a shift that celebrity entrepreneurs like Rihanna, business leaders like Richelieu Dennis, and numerous indie brand founders like Isfahan Chambers Harris are all helping to precipitate.
For Chambers Harris, it’s as much about education and self-appreciation as it is about hair care; her mission at Alodia is to “help women around the world Learn, Love and Grow Their Hair.”
Here, the beauty entrepreneur shares a profile of herself and the brand.
Name: Dr. Isfahan Chambers Harris, Biomedical Scientist and Founder of Alodia Hair Care
Indie Beauty Company: Alodia Hair Care
Launched: March 2017
Headquarters: Bowie, Maryland
Cash flow: Alodia Hair Care is 100% minority woman owned. The business is 100% funded by myself and my husband. And, we have been able to double our monthly revenue, when compared to last year.
Indie how? I define an indie beauty brand as a brand that is organically grown out of the founders need to create products (or services) that solve a problem that she/he’s passionate about; and it’s this very passion that defines the brand. Indie brands have a unique authentic story that resonates with their target audience.
Teamwork: 2 full-time employees and 3 part-time
Distribution: Alodia Hair Care is primarily an e-commerce-based business selling both nationally and internationally. We also have wholesale partners that sell our products in their salons and beauty supply stores.
Years in beauty: This is my first time working in the beauty or personal care industry.
Years at Alodia Hair Care: I started creating products in 2010. During that time, I was a PhD student and was suffering with hair damage from years of chemical straightener usage. Desperate for a solution, I decided to turn to my science expertise and started creating products to help myself with the damage I was experiencing. Since I was a student, I lacked the resources to create a full line however I shared my tips with my YouTube followers on the channel I created to talk about the science of healthy hair care.
In 2014, while in my career at the National Institutes of Health, I decided to seriously create the full line. It took me about 3 years of R&D to create the line; and we launched in March of 2017.
Entrepreneurial experience: Alodia Hair Care is my first company.
The business: Alodia Hair Care offers a full line of high quality hair products made with natural ingredients. Alodia also personalizes and simplifies the selection process for products, by offering Style Kits.
The wow-factor: By delivering simple solutions customized to address unique hair needs, Alodia Hair Care is taking the guesswork out of having healthy, moisturized and beautiful hair.
I began vending at farmers markets….What I discovered was that many [women] were confused and overwhelmed when it came to selecting products for their hair care regimens and once they selected the products, they did not know how to properly use them. Realizing that there was a need to make healthy hair care easy, I created 4 Style Kits, to streamline the wash, condition, moisturize and style process.
The customer: The Alodia Hair Care customer is a 23-55 year-old woman that is middle to upper class. She has textured hair and values natural and organic products.
Milestone moment: I love when customers tell me that Alodia hair care systems or products have solved a scalp problem or hair problem that they were having and that their hair is much more healthy and retaining length.
Advice for fellow beauty entrepreneurs: Don’t be afraid to pursue your passions in life and don’t let fear or your environment deter you. I was once a black girl living in Brooklyn that decided to [take] one step forward to pursue my dream of becoming a scientist and eventually an entrepreneur. If I can do it, so can you.
Just one: Asked about her go-to product, Chambers Harris says it is Alodia’s Wash n Go Style Kit.
Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.