Frustrated with the lack of Black haircare products available in Scotland, this woman created her own

Frustrated with the lack of haircare choices available for Black women and men in Scotland, Bonita Ngonyani launched Rebel Roots. Stock picture. (Black Ballad)To mark Black History Month, Yahoo UK launches Black & Beautiful In Britain, a four-part video sequence in collaboration with digital writer Black Ballad. Bonita Ngonyani first got here to Scotland from Tanzania in 2011 and instantly struggled to search out haircare products that she may use. Noticing an actual hole in the market, she launched ‘Rebel Roots’, a haircare label designed for Afro hair and infused with CBD. Words by Tomiwa Folorunso.Bonita Ngonyani first got here to Scotland from Tanzania in 2011 to check enterprise and French at the University of Stirling in central Scotland. Immediately she struggled to search out hair products, salons, and folks to do her hair.“[Back then] you couldn’t depend on a fast Google search, you needed to know somebody to direct you about the place to go,” she recollects. Finding somebody with the ‘know’ is troublesome, particularly in a smaller metropolis like Stirling. This has at all times been a problem in Scotland, with Black communities unfold all through the nation, and 10 years in the past, these communities had been largely seen and current in the bigger cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.Watch: Sustainable skincare in ScotlandHaircare was additionally costly, Bonita explains, particularly coming from Tanzania and “as a scholar your focus is simply partying and having fun with life, so going to Glasgow simply to do your hair – it was a bit of a mission”.Instead, Bonita and her flatmate from Namibia – the two had identified one another from house – would watch YouTube movies. The 2000s noticed the rise of the pure hair blogger and with it, the alternative for Black ladies throughout the US and the UK to share and be taught from one another the DIY hair care strategies that that they had been utilizing at house for years. They would attempt issues out in their flat Bonita recounts, determining what products and strategies did and didn’t work for them and their hair.After ending her diploma, Bonita returned to Tanzania, however in 2017 each she and her outdated flatmate discovered themselves again in Scotland. This time they had been in Edinburgh the place Bonita was finding out a Masters in worldwide finance and financial improvement.Story continuesRead extra: ‘Derry’s house to 60 registered hairdressers, but I could not get my hair styled in a salon for 15 years’Although now in a much bigger metropolis, they discovered themselves with the identical issues when it got here to having the ability to care for his or her hair. With entry to some college help, they determined it was time to make use of their frustration and switch it into one thing optimistic. Rebel Roots was born, with the determination so as to add CBD as an ingredient.“[Back then] it was fairly a brand new factor in phrases of wellbeing, and there’s not rather a lot of products, or Black products which have hemp. No one was actually placing CBD in hair products, so why don’t we differentiate ourselves by making an attempt it?” Bonita says. Regarding the title: ‘Roots’ to honour the place that they had each come from, and of course, hair. ‘Rebel’ is a tribute to the rebelliousness of the ingredient CBD.“There’s a lot you are able to do with CBD as a product, as a result of it’s nonetheless fairly new,” Bonita continues. “That additionally means the goal market for a lot of of these products is a white Eurocentric one. It’s additionally a really below researched space, and so we want extra analysis into what this product can do for Black folks and our pores and skin.”Once that they had a product and model, it proved to be onerous to promote. They would take their product to the salons and outlets round the metropolis that did promote Afro hair and African products.“We had been just a few random folks strolling into their retailer, making an attempt to promote them one thing that wasn’t recognisable,” says Bonita. When you think about being a Black enterprise in Scotland and the way cautious you have to be when advertising and marketing any CBD products, the detrimental response is sensible. But the place Rebel Roots did discover success was at a farmers’ market.Read extra: Four Black ladies on magnificence, enterprise and id“Here, folks had been very, very inquisitive about it [Rebel Roots] and there emerged a normal group right here in Edinburgh that had been in what CBD was and so they may benefit from it. They began to search out that rather a lot of males – and never essentially African males – who had points with hair loss had been shopping for Rebel Roots products. This wasn’t the authentic marketplace for Rebel Roots, and whereas this demographic is a consideration for the model, Rebel Roots’ main focus is at all times going to be black communities and Black and Afro hair.Over the pandemic Bonita collaborated with a dressmaker based mostly in Ayr to promote printed masks and headbands by their on-line store. She has been excited about how Rebel Roots can develop into turning into a community for different Black and African folks in Scotland and the relaxation of the UK making and creating products.More just lately, Bonita based HerCBD, producing pure, sustainable and natural alternate options for ladies’s well-being. HerCBD is about the total properly being of the physique and the earnings are used deliberately, some of which go to totally different ladies’s organisations in the UK and Africa doing work round endometriosis. Bonita hopes to proceed offering donations and erasing the stigma round menstruation and ladies’s well being.For Bonita, proudly owning and working two companies has not been with out its ups and downs, particularly throughout the pandemic, however she remains to be grateful. The foundations of HerCBD and Rebel Roots replicate the experiences of Black ladies in Britain and lots of in the Black diaspora. How can we navigate constructing one thing for ourselves, while serving to our communities each right here and at house? Even when it feels and seems as if the odds are stacked towards you, it’s potential to create a profitable Black ladies owned enterprise in the UK, whereas staying true to the nations and cultures that made you.

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