It’s great to meet others who are as passionate about natural hair care as I am! After following Brooklyn-based beauty brand Amazing Botanicals on social media for some time, I finally had the pleasure of meeting entrepreneurs Asha Burton and Shelly Morant at a networking event last September. Within a few moments, I was confident that these ladies were about their business and knew their stuff!
Meet these two amazing women who are doing their part to contribute to the natural hair community…
When and why did you decide to return to your natural hair texture and what have you learned along the way that you can share with those who may be new or struggling on this journey?
Asha: The only real reason why I returned to my natural texture was because I was tired of forcing by hair to do something it didn’t naturally. I had way too many days of trying to catch my breaking hair into a ponytail that was comprised of possibly 5 strands of hair. There was a time when I had healthy processed hair, however once I left high school, I felt the need to re-learned my hair all over again. I started that journey in 2003 and have never felt the need to go back.
Shelly: I returned to natural in 1996. After years of processing my scalp couldn’t take it anymore. Tired of getting perms and having sensitive scalp were the catalyst, then I discovered I had Psorasis! The perm was NOT going to agree anymore. I went natural when it was not popular but, it was healthy and necessary. I found one stylist that helped me in the beginning, she helped me believe in the advice a good stylist. These tips last a lifetime. 1) Don’t pay attention to other peoples hair! Everyone’s hair health and body is different. 2) Clip your ends every 8-12 weeks or when needed. As your hair gets healthier you may notice a reduction in clipping. 3) Play, Love, and never conform with your hair!
When and how did you ladies get together to start Amazing Botanicals?
We started Amazing Botanicals after a series of other businesses we’ve started. It stemmed from the idea of using products that didn’t necessarily fix our hair. So we put our food knowledge and research towards a nutritious form of hair products.
Tell us a bit about your professional background before launching this business. What affect, if any, did those experiences have on your approach to Amazing Botanicals?
We met through a mutual friend while working at Whole Foods Market kitchen around 2004-2005. Shelly worked in bakery, while Asha work in prepared foods kitchen. He thought we had similar personalities and boy was he right! Shelly has a baking background that stemmed from her grandmothers kitchen. Asha has been working in kitchens since 2003 and had extensive knowledge of food and nutrition.
We used our recipe formulation to create food-based hair products that we thought would be just as good externally as it is internally.
What would you say makes Amazing Botanicals stand out from all the other beauty brands out there?
Our motto is to remain true to the ingredients, and what they can do. So our concerns don’t necessarily mean to make products that smell more amazing than what it should actually claim to perform. We believe that in this fitness conscious world, everyone should be more careful with what ingredients are in their food and hair products as they reflect your overall nutrition.
What’s a typical day like for the two of you and how do you juggle the business with family or other obligations?
Our days consists of different tasks and our work day typically ends around 6pm. Asha takes care of admin work in the morning and any orders that need to be shipped. Her evenings are spent doing hair and selling wine.
Shelly: I’m a mother of twins, so I wake before 5 and start the day. I wake early to meditate and gather my thoughts before, the boys wake. The day starts with getting them out the door to school and then I eat…sometimes.
I do daily operations three days a week, answering emails, accounting and scheduling. We have designated days to ship and lab days to make products. I have another business that can be just as demanding, especially during Spring and Summer. My work normally ends around 6 but, as an entrepreneur you really NEVER stop working. I guess I slow down at 6 and still work 24 hours… There are times you wake up at night with an idea or a mental note. Keep your notepad or phone nearby. A healthy mind is always creating.
Where do you see your brand in a year?
One of our expectations is to continue to expand our reach and possibly range our market overseas and more international connections as we’re growing from the few we’ve been able to create.
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
We would tell young entrepreneurs that you need to study and research every aspect of the business you want to be a part of, work for free just to get that experience. There’s nothing like learning something that you love to do, it creates a beautiful passion that can drive you to amazing levels of success!
Many thanks to Asha and Shelly for sharing the story behind their beauty brand!