We don't celebrate enough as a company. 7 years ago today, on July 22nd 2010, Joycelyn and Rachael registered Afrocecenchix as a company. Since then we have had some massive ups and some catastrophic downs. Given the fact that 80% of businesses fail in the first 18 months, 7 years is a huge accomplishment!
We're celebrating by partying at Afropunk this weekend & sharing some fun facts about Afrocenchix.
1. Two teenagers started Afrocenchix with £100
When founders Joycelyn & Rachael met at university, they discussed their hair and skin woes and Afrocenchix began with a small investment of £50 from each of the founders.
The judging panel were so impressed that they offered the founders more money if they registered the business officially.
Joycelyn & Rachael bought enough raw materials to make a small batch of hair and skin oils to sell at a community fair in Neasden. They figured that if no-one else wanted the oils, at least their hair and skin would be soft for the rest of their studies! The oils quickly sold out and messages flooded in through the simple website Rachael had built. The rest, as they say, is history.
2. The founders were offered money to focus on the business
In 2010 Afrocenchix won an award for 'Ethical and Sustainable Business' from the University of Birmingham. The judging panel were so impressed that they offered the founders more money if they registered the business officially and signed up to a business course. Neither had intended to start a business, Joycelyn was studying Sociology and Rachael was studying Law.
After some deliberation, the duo took the offer and Afrocenchix Ltd was born that July.
Afrocenchix has since been nominated for and won several awards for the business as well as the product line, including an award from UCL.
3. Customers in 18 countries love Afrocenchix products.
To date, Afrocenchix products have made their way around the UK, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Dubai, Ghana, Nigeria, Sweden, Denmark, the Republic of Mauritius, Jamaica, Tobago, the Netherlands, India, South Africa, Kenya and Singapore.
4. When founders Joycelyn & Rachael met at university, Joycelyn used to relax Rachael's hair for her.
Rachael had such bad eczema and dermatitis on her scalp and neck that one day Joycelyn refused to relax it again. Rachael has been natural ever since.
We have loved growing together with our community.
5. When the founders started experimenting in 2008, there was no UK natural hair movement. So they decided to help start one.
The Afrocenchix team hit the streets handing out 'we love your hair' cards and photographing black hair to celebrate its beauty in all forms; ran pop up shops; gave free consultations; and connected with likeminded people such as Angel of the Natural Lounge, Pelumi Rae of Care for your Hair, Laila Jean of Fusions of Culture, Crystal of The United KinKdom, and others we were inspired by.
We have loved growing together with our community. Dozens of women have told us they have started businesses, blogs and youtube channels since hearing us speak or attending one of our events.
6. Afrocenchix almost ended in 2012
Since starting Joycelyn and Rachael committed to learn all they could about hair and making cosmetics from books and research papers – Rachael even enrolled on a Trichology course.
In 2012, a year after launching a second product range to replace their initial oils, the Afrocenchix founders discovered that the legislation around making products was about to change. If they wanted to continue they would have to spend £1000s on better equipment, costly scientific assessments and start from scratch to ensure their paperwork and products complied with legislation. They stopped trading for months and worked non-stop on prototyping new products and finding the right scientists to work with.
We are currently on our third logo and range of products.
In 2014, after those first 5 years of iterations, we relaunched with our current product range. We are currently on our third logo and range of products. Though the logo may change again, this line is here to stay. We develop our brand and range through a customer and blogger centred process and will always continue to place our community at the centre of what we do.7. This Summer Afrocenchix will be the first product range for afro hair to launch in Whole Foods UK!
This is the big announcement we've been keeping secret. After months of testing our products, Whole Foods invited us to pitch in May 2017.
We have now signed a contract to supply all 9 UK stores with Afrocenchix products. Whole Foods said they have been searching for years for quality products for afro hair. We're thrilled that the beauty industry is now catering more for women of colour and we're ecstatic to be at the leading edge of this change.
Our launch party will take place in the High Street Kensington Whole Foods store this summer. Newsletter with the details coming soon.
We want to say a massive thank you to our loyal customers, the bloggers who help others to find us, the journalists who write about us and everyone else who has made the last 7 years such a blast.
Here's to the future :)