How Gwen Jimmere made Natural Hair History

hen Gwen Jimmere was pregnant with her son, the decision to go natural was an easy one-especially after watching Chris Rock’s film Good Hair and seeing the damage hair relaxers can do.

“In the movie, he takes an aluminum can and submerges it into a vat of relaxer, and it disintegrates pretty quickly, and it really freaked me out,” Jimmere says. “I thought ‘oh my gosh, my kid is going to disintegrate,’ that’s the only thought that I had in my mind.”

Going natural was never intended to be a lifelong change for Jimmere; it was initially just intended for the health of her baby. But she noticed a change in her hair.

“My hair got a lot stronger, longer, thicker, I had less breakage, it was just amazing,” she says. “And for the first time in my life I realized I actually liked my hair.”

Normally, naturals spend hours on hair maintenance on “wash day,” but once Jimmere’s baby was born, her four-hour routine was no longer an option. So she cooked up a solution in her kitchen that cut her time down to 20 minutes.

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“I was just like, how are moms doing this? There’s no possible way, there has to be something available that’s going to take less time, and ideally less money. And I realized that there wasn’t anything like that.”

Jimmere started making the products in her kitchen for others as a hobby, but eventually her circumstances — professionally and personally — changed.

“I started going through a divorce. In the midst of my divorce, I ended up getting laid off from my job, within 30 days of each other. So it was a really, really horrible time. I had no money. I literally had $32 in the bank.”

Despite being in the circumstances, Jimmere says she felt at peace because she saw her situation as an opportunity for her to pursue new things. She decided to take a risk and turn her natural hair hobby into a business.

In almost three years, she has grown her hobby into Naturalicious, a seven-figure company based in Canton. Last year, Jimmere became the first Black woman to hold a patent for a natural hair product, a process that took her almost two years of learning patent law for herself.

“I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t sitting at home one day, looking at TV and some other huge company had come along and taken what I did, and was off to the races.”

Jimmere refers to her business as a beauty-innovation company.

“We will never create something that’s not going to somehow enhance your life,” Jimmere says. “If it’s just another one of many, then it’s not going to get done by us.”

For more information on Naturalicious, visit Naturalicious.net.

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