Heat Free Hair is the story of a woman with a passion for natural hair combined with the entrepreneurial drive to start a business providing natural hair extensions, plus a movement to educate and inform women on how to care for their natural hair.
LoA found out more about this interesting company and heat free hair movement from its founder, Ngozi Opara this month….
What does your company do?
Heat Free Hair is the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair. We provide hair extensions in the form of wefted hair, clip-in extensions, and wigs. The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond our products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike.
"The Heat Free Hair story goes back to 2011 when I was working as a Financial Analyst. I was “the woman in finance with the big hair” who embraced my natural texture of hair despite the frequent stares and questions, but I was also a budding entrepreneur who opened a hair studio on the side to feed my passion while still pursuing my career in finance."
What inspired you to start your company?
The Heat Free Hair story goes back to 2011 when I was working as a Financial Analyst. I was “the woman in finance with the big hair” who embraced my natural texture of hair despite the frequent stares and questions, but I was also a budding entrepreneur who opened a hair studio on the side to feed my passion while still pursuing my career in finance. During that year I had an increasingly high number of clients that would come into my hair studio and say they wanted their hair to look like mine and wanted me to help them go natural. Eventually I started cutting their permed hair off and giving them protective hairstyles to grow their hair out to its natural texture. The problem was that I was very limited in the hair options I could provide for them, so I would often heat straighten their hair for the purpose of blending with the “protective” style I gave them. Eventually I felt like a hypocrite for teaching them about healthy hair whilst still damaging theirs, so I decided to create a movement that would inspire women to embrace their natural hair textures, as well as give them more options through our products. I launched Heat Free Hair in December 2012 and received an overwhelmingly positive response from women of African descent who felt like they had finally received an answer to their hair struggles.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
The products we provide at Heat Free Hair cater to a need of the natural hair community that was previously neglected. Our products allow our customers to protect their beautiful locks, while still wearing a style that is similar to that of their natural texture. Our hair is 100% Virgin Human Hair, so our customers can also take care of our products like they take care of their natural hair.
"Heat Free Hair is the first manufacturer of Virgin Hair exclusively created to blend with African American textured, kinky, and curly hair."
Tell us a little about your team
My team is strong because we all have the background and education needed to be successful in this industry and are all extremely passionate and hard working. My team consists of me, Ngozi Opara, as Founder and CEO and my background is in cosmetology, business finance, and hair technology/manufacturing. Michael is the Managing Director of our facility in China and he also has a strong background in hair technology/manufacturing as well as business management.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Yes, I do; most of my family own their own businesses in the medical field. I always knew that I wanted to start my own business. Throughout college and shortly after, I worked for 8 different entrepreneurs, taking in every piece of information that I could. My interest and passion for the world of natural hair sparked from being natural myself, as well as working as a manager for natural hair care industry lead, Carol’s Daughter. Of course, taking the jump into full self-employment came with a little apprehension from me being inside my own head, as well as a little from my parents and family. It came down to me being tired of working in a field I didn’t enjoy and wanting to chase after my dreams.
"The Heat Free Hair Movement expands beyond our products and focuses on the education of the natural hair community through seminars and instructional videos as well as events for natural women to network with other women alike."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Our future plans consist of continuing to be innovative and create products and services that our customers crave. We have some exciting things in the works that you’ll have to keep an eye out for!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I would definitely say the potential to impact people from different walks of life gives me the most satisfaction in my entrepreneurship. Whether it’s through the actual product, a speaking engagement, or a one-on-one interaction, I love the possibility to carry a positive message and leave lasting impact on people’s lives.
"You should figure out your “why?” first. It’s probably the most important aspect of your business..."
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
You should figure out your “why?” first. It’s probably the most important aspect of your business because, as you scale, things get tougher and tougher and your reason for beginning your entrepreneurial journey is something you will always come back to. It will ground you and motivate you to keep pressing forward towards your end goal. Your “why” will also assist you when coming up with new ideas for your business; are your efforts satisfying your “why?” It is the foundation upon which you will build your business!
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA we love all those women entrepreneurs who are driven by a real passion for what they do, and Ngozi Opara is one of those women. She is passionate about creating products and services that can positively enhance other women’s lives and make them feel more confident in their appearances. She is also someone creating a movement around her passion for natural hair, helping to educate and inform women in their hair management choices. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa