Ruth “Ruby” Sherrod was a firm but loving grandmother. Always dressed to the nines with long silver hair and skin that was always on point, Ruby reared her 13 children in the 1960s with the fear of God in one hand and homemade batches of hair and skin goodness in the other. Decades later, in 2017, Ruby’s granddaughter and veteran hairdresser LaShonda Sims got in the mix – literally. Sims started a gender-neutral line of natural hair and skin care named for her grandmother.
Ruby’s Natural Hair Care is also run by Sims’ daughter, Amber Nicole, and Sims’ cousins, mother-daughter duo Felice Sherrod Thomas and Shanika Adediran. Sims says she started Ruby’s for herself and her family, and to help heal the damaged hair she saw as a stylist. The family known for their product mixing built this three-year-old company on hard work, love and a whole lot of Grandma Ruby.
“She was a strong woman. When she spoke, people listened,” Sims says. “We’ve been protected by God. We pray before (work). Our personalities and energy are very strong. Once people get to know us, that makes them accept us even more.” Shanika Adediran, company coordinator/director, says that family is their business backbone. “We come from a very close-knit, well-structured family. Family is the reason we are the women we are today,” Adediran says.
Products include shampoos and conditioners, a hair growth-promoting “Love Oil,” a shea butter hair mud (akin to hair grease), African black soap, whipped body butters and more, all starting at $8. The essential oil-infused hair and skin products are typically sold at live shows, vending events and the like.
COVID-19 halted all of that. Now, the company is primarily relying on online sales – and that’s not nearly enough. Adediran says they still field calls and emails, do product tutorials on Instagram and Facebook and send out orders timely.
Sims says despite challenges, she is thankful for other strong women holding up her and Ruby. “In this journey, we got stronger together. It’s been amazing to work with such smart, driven women. And they are right here in my family,” Sims says. “That’s been a blessing for all of us.”