Learning from others is the fastest way to get ahead in life. On 4cHairChick.com every week we like to share stories of men and women who are and have made boss moves in the community. This week we are pleased to introduce you to Crystal Powell the founder of Coily Candy eBoutique.
Saving Women Around the World from Toxic Ingredients
What is your hometown?
You’ve been in the “natural hair” world for some time. What was your first venture?
I started out as natural hair blogger and editor for Kinky Hair Affair, which began as a way for me to document my natural hair journey. Kinky Hair Affair is still around, but it has taken a serious backseat for now, at least until my newest venture gets off the ground.
What prompted you to transition from blogger to eRetailer?
Before staring my new venture, blogging was my creative outlet from my extremely boring full-time job. I really enjoyed writing about my many, many experiences with my hair. After a while, I didn’t have the urge to write as often. I mean, there’s only so much you can write about natural hair. I started re-evaluating my purpose with blogging and struggled with what I exactly wanted to gain from it. I decided that I didn’t want to evolve into a “natural hair celebrity”, but rather do something that would physically help people. I saw a void in the natural hair industry, so I decided to take a leap and fill that void with Coily Candy.
Share with us what your new business is and why you are so excited about it.
Coily Candy is my new baby, and it is an online boutique offering a variety of hair and body products free of toxic ingredients. We launched February 17, 2014!
I recently became aware of how many of our hair, beauty, and household products contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful to our bodies over time. It literally freaked me out, so I made sure that none of the products sold in Coily Candy contained any of these ingredients. Instead, Coily Candy’s hand-selected products contain natural and/or organic high-quality ingredients. I also focus on feature small black owned businesses that make amazing products. These companies make products that can stand their ground against those in Target and other mainstream stores. It’s just important for me to showcase these brands and support them as they have supported me over the years.
So many people have great business ideas and never get started. What were the first 3 steps you took to get Coily Candy off the ground?
Coily Candy definitely started out as an idea, but I knew that I needed to do tons of research on the market, my competition, my audience, and running an eCommerce website. I took all of that information, in addition to my ideas on how to set Coily Candy apart from other similar businesses, and documented it in a very informal business plan. Once I had a cohesive plan that I felt would work, I took the steps and spent the money for registering Coily Candy as a business and obtaining the proper licensing. That’s when everything became real, and I had no choice but to carry out this idea until it became reality.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Share with us one of the highlights of being an entrepreneur as well as one of the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
One of the highlights of being an entrepreneur is having a sense of self-fulfillment. I am finally doing something that I want to do and not killing myself to help someone else fulfill their dreams. I have put in many long days and late nights trying to bring Coily Candy to life, but I know and truly believe that it will be SO worth it.
One of the challenges of being an entrepreneur is never knowing what to expect no matter how well you plan. I mean it’s life, and things just happen. I’m learning to not dwell on the setbacks and continue to press forward. Entrepreneurship is all about learning and adjusting.
What made you decide to focus on natural hair as your main niche?
It just made the most sense for me to focus on natural hair. Whether I want it to or not, natural hair consumes so much of my life. Throughout my own natural hair journey, I am gradually leaning towards living a more holistic lifestyle, and I know there are others who are traveling down the same path. I now understand there are some within the natural hair community who aren’t concerned about the popularity of brand name, but are rather concerned about the effectiveness of a product without compromising their health. These are the folks I’m truly trying to reach.
Who are your business role models?
The funny thing is I don’t have many business role models, but I do read about and follow many businesses just to watch what moves or risks they are taking and see what works or doesn’t work for them. In my opinion, this gives me more of a well-rounded view of what it takes to run a successful business with many different approaches. If I had to single out one person as a business role model for me, it would be Myleik Teele from Curlbox. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with her a couple of years ago when Curlbox was a few months old. I’ve followed her ever since then and can honestly say I’ve noticed her grow as an entrepreneur over time.
Five years from now where do you want Coily Candy to be?
In five years, I would love to see Coily Candy thriving in a cute brick and mortar location in Baltimore with about 50 brands, including non-toxic beauty products and accessories. The eBoutique would still be running of course.
Often times especially with black owned businesses you hear the whole crabs in a barrel conversation thrown around a lot. Do you think that black owned businesses are less likely to help one another? What do you say to people in that camp.
Coily Candy is living proof that not all black owned businesses share this “crabs in a barrel” mentality. The whole premise with Coily Candy is to feature other black owned businesses in the shop. I am so grateful for the businesses that have agreed to work with me, including Beija Flor Naturals, Honey Chile Hair Love, and Amazing Botanicals just to name a few. I am a firm believer that the more black owned businesses support each other or are supported by our community, the more our communities will grow and thrive. Just a lil’ food for thought…
What are your thoughts on competition? Do you believe in it. Why or Why not?
Competition in business is just fine with me. It forces businesses to bring their A game. Without competition, there would be no variety in services or products, businesses wouldn’t strive to best serve their consumers, businesses wouldn’t strive to be the best for themselves. That would truly suck for consumers.
What does Coily Candy offer that is unique from any other business?
Coily Candy offers a variety of high-quality, handcrafted products that are absolutely effective in maintaining the health and appearance of textured hair and skin. Our customers don’t have to wonder if our products are safe to use because our featured brands are free of toxic ingredients, and we did the research to prove it so they don’t have to.
If you won a $25K business grant from Black Entreprise Magazine what would you do with the money?
That would be an absolute blessing! I would definitely open my brick and mortar location in Baltimore and/or grow Coily Candy’s brand list.
Where can people go to keep tabs on you and Coily Candy?
The Coily Candy eBoutique is at http://coilycandy.com.
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