What a year it has been! 2018 was a challenging yet very rewarding year for us at Afrocenchix. We started Afrocenchix because we couldn't find safe and effective natural products for Afro and curly hair and we did not imagine that we'd be where we are today! We usually joke between us that if we had known what the journey would be like we wouldn't have started the business! Over the years, support from our community has kept us going and we’re incredibly grateful for each person who has spent their hard-earned coins with us.
Here are six of our 2018 highlights:
1. We won the BBFA 'Best Natual Hair Brand' Award
In February we were voted the ‘Best Natural Hair Brand” at the first ever Black Beauty and Fashion Awards (BBFA). We are ecstatic to have won and enjoyed an evening celebrating black excellence!
2. We partnered with a factory
Since we started Afrocenchix, we’ve been making all our products in-house. Demand has increased and our tiny team has been stretched thinly. We’ve struggled to keep up and have had a backlog of orders many times this year (thanks for your patience).
We've been working behind the scenes for a while trying to find a factory that could maintain our product quality. We finally found one in the UK and were able to use the money from our crowdfunding campaign to get the process started.
3. We ran a crowdfunding campaign
In March, we ran a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help us with our first factory run and launch our two new products — Swirl, our silicone-free conditioner and Spring, our twisting butter. We didn't raise the full amount but it was enough to kick things into motion.
The process has taken longer than we had hoped with delays from the factory but we will be launching next year!
4. We obtained our vegan certification
Our products have always been vegan but getting official certification means we can display the vegan logo on our (new) packaging. More people are making the move to consuming plant-based diets and want to be able to do the same when it comes to cosmetics.
5. We were awarded £275,000 from WeWork
photo credit: WeWork
In October we pitched our business at the WeWork Creator Awards and were awarded the top prize in the Business Venture Award — £275,000!
We have huge goals for Afrocenchix and £275,000 will definitely help us on the way to achieving them! We believe that safe and effective hair products for black women should be easily accessible and we want to create legacy within our community. This money will help us with scaling our business and we're now hiring! We'll also be able to do more events next year so watch this space!
6. We won the KPMG Black Entrepreneurs’ Awards
KPMG held their first Black Entrepreneurs' Awards in November and we were one of three black businesses to be awarded £5000 which will also go towards us scaling up. It's great that KPMG is recognising black entrepreneurship and we are so happy to have had the opportunity.
We're so excited for what 2019 has in store. We'll be launching our new products, holding more events and growing our team. We're so grateful for the support we've received this year; we wouldn't be here without you!
See you in 2019!