Always one for celebrating individuality and going against the grain, Taliah Waajid had a dream of being a pioneer in the natural hair care world – and that’s exactly what she accomplished. Being natural means being yourself, according to Taliah, and when you stand tall and celebrate that, others will as well. Tapping into her strong desire to create chemically-free hair products, Taliah founded Pure & Natural Shea-Coco™, the five-product line for natural hair enthusiasts.
Taliah took time to speak with Beauty in the Bag on why natural hair care is the way to go.
1.How and when did you first become interested in natural hair care?
My mother did not let me get a relaxer until I was about 16. I had to learn to comb and style my hair in its natural state, so I grew to love it even though it was something that people had these negative attitudes and connotations about. If I like something and you don’t, I’m going to try to express to you and teach you what I know about it so you have more information. And that’s what I did. I specialized in natural hair, and taught hundreds of clients. I started my first salon job at 17 on 125th street in Harlem and eventually went on to start my own salons and create the very first complete natural hair care line on the market.
2. You’ve been a great influencer in the natural hair care world! What were some of your biggest struggles breaking into the business and how did you get through these to make such an impact?
I believe that with anything you want to do in life, it’s very important you get a mentor and surround yourself with people that are doing the things that you want to do. I wanted to be a professional business woman and doing hair was something I really loved to do, but it was more important for me to grow, so I learned from my mentor and took my time. People feel it when you’re passionate about what you do.
I knew what made hair softer. I hired a chemist and gave him my experience on what I knew would work with the hair texture. It needed to not only be easy to use, but easy to explain to my customers. Together we came up with my first product line which was Black Earth Products. My vision was that all the African American hair care salons would sell my products and they would make money, I would make money. Eventually I had to find a mentor to get them from salons to the shelves in stores. With everything I do, I’m going to keep looking until I have it down. That’s how I taught myself the retail business.
3. Tell us a bit more about your latest natural hair care line – Pure & Natural Shea-Coco™
I created SHEA COCO especially for “naturalistas” who demand three things: One – a styling and conditioning regimen containing the highest amounts of naturally derived ingredients. Two – styling results that make Type 3 AND Type 4 hair look, feel and smell great. And three – great value for the money. I felt it was time for our products to be as natural as our hair. If we’re going to celebrate and promote chemically free hair, let’s make sure what we put on it is also chemically free.