Tell us about yourself.
KAZMALEJE (pronounced cosmology) is a company started by the Stirrup Sisters – LaToya, LaTasha and LaTrice – to create innovative, lifestyle-amplifying tools and accessories for the natural hair care market. As naturalistas, we were driven to embark on this journey in order to solve our own problem.
While the current marketplace has seen an influx of hair care products for curly, coily hair, the same cannot be said for hair tools. The majority of the detangling and styling hair tools on the market were not made with curly, coily, kinky hair in mind. We wanted to change that. With our signature line, Kurls+ Detanglers, we have designed three different types of hair tools – Kurls+ Paddle comb, Comb and Pick – to reduce the stress and breakage many textured hair consumers experience when trying to detangle their tresses.
However, that is just the beginning. Ultimately, we envision the brand supporting the curly, coily hair experience by providing tools and accessories that speak directly to the lifestyle needs of textured hair consumers and work perfectly with their favorite hair care product mix. We have lifestyle apparel and accessories that celebrate the natural hair experience by giving our customers something they can wear to boldly express their love for their hair.
What motivated you to start your company?
My sisters and I started KAZMALEJE because we were tired of dealing with excessive hair shedding while detangling, paddle brushes that would collapse, missing bristles, broken teeth…just a really poor experience. For the amount of money we spend on our hair, we felt we deserved better. Like many African-American women, we went natural at a time when the marketplace looked very different than it does today. We did not have a wide variety of hair products to choose from or tutorial videos to watch on YouTube. Even though the product landscape has drastically changed and stores are redesigning their shelves to feature brands that speak directly to our needs, there is still a lack when it comes to hair tools and accessories. Many women (and men) have ditched their combs and opted to use their fingers in an attempt to minimize breakage and reduce the stress on their hair while detangling.
Yes, finger detangling can work, but it is time consuming and may not be as effective. Therefore, we decided to take a different approach and redesign the comb to work with our hair instead of against it. Couple this with the fact that over 60% of the US population falls within the textured hair category and more consumers around the world are starting to embrace their natural texture, the need for solid solutions that work will only continue to grow. Additionally, consumers are looking for brands they can identify with, that speak their language and understand their struggles. We are able to hit every point, because we are our consumers.
Why do you think it is important that we start taking back the black hair industry?
On average, women with curly or coily hair spend almost $40 per month on products. That does not include getting hair care services done. When you think about the amount of money that is spent on caring for our hair, it is insane to think that the majority of that money does not circulate within our community. Yes, we love to spend and buy the best, but it is also important that we produce the best as well. We need to be producers and manufacturers as well as consumers. If we are able to create a healthy circulation of the dollar within our community, we could see a significant change in our socio economic status. Ultimately, we have to get back to valuing our business owners because no one can solve our problems better than we can.