Founder, Kay Cola
What problem did you aim to solve when you started your business?
I started OrganiGrowHairCo in 2016 down to my last savings in my account, with no investors, no loans and no help. My daughter who was 5 at the time inspired me to wear my natural hair to help her embrace her own. She was being teased and feeling out of place at a predominantly white and latino school, and although I was told her how beautiful her hair is, I was being hypocritical by straightening mine and wearing weaves. My hair was so heat and weave damaged, and all of the products on the market at that time were so toxic or would work for a little while and then stop working. I decided to create my own clean products for my porosity and texture. I knew that I could help so many like me and so I gave it a shot and the rest is history.
Tell us about your business journey— the ups and downs and pivots and changes.
My journey as a business woman has been learning through trial and error. I did not have any mentors or people my age in my field, so I did not have people to turn to for guidance. I had to learn things the hard way, including being careful when hiring your friends and family.
What challenges have you faced as a Black business owner?
As a black business owner I have noticed that customers do not have as much grace for you as major white owned corporations. We have to work twice as hard to prove ourselves, but I am grateful and up for the challenge, as well as our customers. I have also noticed that being a black woman it can be challenging for people to take you seriously. We must hold our black female business owners in the same regard, or perhaps higher than we do white men. We have a lot to offer and are ambitious, and thorough.
What are some of your goals for your business?
My goal for my business is longevity, consistency and growth. I never want to get comfortable and this does not fly by night for me. I am very passionate about making sure our people learn about self care through health, personal care, fitness and mental well being. An optimal life is a balanced one and it is important we start looking at what goes in and on our bodies as well as our minds.
Who are some of your biggest Black influences in business?
My biggest black influence right now is Nipsey Hussle, because he was not your typical suit. I love a well rounded person. As a people we are not boxed into just being one way, we have many faces, skills and talents. Balance is very key for me and Nipsey was not only extremely intelligent and well spoken, but he was relatable and fun. He also believed in vertical integration which is genius. I am the manufacturer, distributor and marketer of my brands. I do not outsource, which allows for me to control who I want to give jobs and opportunities to.