Kameese Davis is an inspiring Entrepreneur and afro hair care specialist, who launched her own afro haircare brand, Nylah Naturals, to help Afro-Caribbean women find an easy solution to managing their hair.
Frustrated with trying to find products that were suitable for her daughter’s hair, who sadly suffered with eczema and sensitive skin, Kameese worked tirelessly to investigate the science and structure of Black hair to create a healthy and affordable product that met the specific needs of Afro and curly hair, which was also kind to skin.
In 2017, Nylah Naturals was born and since this time has created an industry leading product range, which has successfully achieved awards from Hair Care Revolution, Precious Lifestyle Awards and Curly Treats. Dedicating to transforming how Afro-Caribbean women and children care for their hair, Kameese has created and delivered a selection of hair care workshops to address the need for access to credible black hair education and to tackle the common cause of hair loss.
With clear plans in place to develop and launch new products, whilst working closely with high-street retailers, Kameese is dedicated to ensuring the Nylah Naturals brand revolutionises the afro haircare sector, through the consistent delivery of quality products using only natural ingredients.
In addition to her role in managing Nylah Naturals, Kameese is committed to bettering the lives of disadvantaged children and has launched her own ‘Untangled’ project to assist Foster Carers and young girls currently living in care to learn how to look after their hair.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
With my current role as Founder of Nylah Naturals, every day is different!
The business was founded though my frustration with the lack of products that catered for my daughters 4c curly hair and eczema prone skin. After buying products predominantly online and solely imported from the US, the cost became unsustainable for the long-term and I vowed to introduce a cost-effective range of natural and healthy hair products for afro hair of women, men and children of any age.
Since then, I have spent six years dedicating my time to investigating the science and structure of Black hair, creating and formulating healthy and affordable skin care products that met the specific needs of Afro and curly hair, whilst being mild enough not to aggravate sensitive skin types.
Alongside my role as Founder, I am committed to bettering the lives of disadvantaged children through the ‘Untangled’ project, which is a series of workshops designed to assist Foster Carers and young girls currently living in care to learn how to look after their hair. This includes focusing on the education of afro hair, styling, culture education and promoting self-love!
These are inspired by my previous work in Social Care and Health as an intensive Connexions PA and back up Foster Carer, where I was exposed to many young children that weren’t given the correct care or education on how to look after themselves or even how to incorporate their culture into their lifestyle.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
As explained above, it wasn’t so much a planned-out career move. I recognised a gap in the market that wouldn’t only help my family but those who I know suffer the same problems and decided to act. Prior to starting this business, I worked in education and with young people who were marginalised and required additional support to help remove barriers to employment, education and training.
I would also like to state that my collective experience has provide me a good understanding for the multifaceted needs of my customers. A s such I am always at the forefront of using the brand to create design programs and projects which offer support and therefore further engage my customers. For me the brand isn’t just about products ita about creating a platform and the recourses needed within this industry
For example Alongside this, I had noticed severe issues with my previous work in the care industry regarding the personal care of black and Mixed children as many of these children who were placed in transracial homes where placed with carers who did not know how to meet the specific skin and hair care needs of BME children. As such there was a need for providing education to carers around black and mixed culture in order to make a positive impact on the lives of these children.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
When it comes to starting your own business, you can guarantee that there will be hurdles along the way. Some of which I anticipated and had prepared for others have been curve balls that have really unbalanced me for a while.
One my biggest challenges is having a very small budget, one that I need to stretch and spend carefully. However, I face up to this by applying a lot of creativity in the management of the brand and I’m constantly implementing creative strategies to move the brand forward.
I think my biggest bug bare is trying to protect my ideas and IPs from the competition. As mentioned, I am very forward thinking and creative and have noticed when I introduce an idea to the market many of my competitors will soon after implement a peculiar similar intuitive.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
Having my products recognised with renowned awards has also been a great achievement for me. Nylah Naturals has successfully achieved awards from Hair Care Revolution, Precious Lifestyle Awards and Curly Treats for their diverse range of afro haircare products. Plus, the super botanicals conditioner was also shortlisted as a pure beauty finalist in the ethnic beauty category and most recently, three of the products have been shortlisted at the Hair Awards 2019.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
One of them quite simply as my customer’s recognise that I am one of them. I have suffered the same frustrations they have with products on the market and we all want the same end goal.
Being relatable to different target markets; mums, black women, women who want to maintain healthy hair, those are all categories that I come under and a lot of my customers resonate with that.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Since the launch of my brand, I have been approached to provide mentorship, which I always find incredibly inspirational and humbling, and I am happy to sit with others and provide help in any way that I can. However, as a small business owner of a start-up company, I think full mentorship will be a little bit premature at this stage as I am still in the process of learning and developing the brand myself.
At some point in the business development I am keen to offer mentorships to those who are looking to establish their own brand and take the leap into entrepreneurship.
As part of my business growth, I do take on interns to help me maintain my general business admin as I always recognised the struggle that young adults had when it came to take their first steps into the industry. This is usually students from the local area that need that work experience to help boost their CV and work experience and of course, help me keep on top of things too!
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?
I think there is a need to provide more support and funding for women owned businesses, particularly in the areas of stem and technology.
Building a business from scratch is a hard job for a person of any gender, but females have the added challenge of not being taken as seriously, especially whilst balancing motherhood.
Of course, there are times when you may not be able to make a meeting because your child is ill and sometimes it can be hard for clients to take these things into consideration.
However, women especially should lose focus on who you are and what your business aims to be all about. Women aiming to start their own business should never lose sight of their ‘why’ as this will keep them focused and determined to succeed.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
This is an interesting question, one which I’m always asking myself. What would I change if I could go back and change anything? The truth is each and every decision I have made both good and bad have contributed to where and I am thankful for that. I honestly believe that in life there or no mistakes, only lessons. And whether the experience is favourable or not so much, it is important that I learn and grow from the lesson.
If I would have given myself one piece of advice it would have been to believe in myself more.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I’m currently working on raising the profile for the brand and establishing myself and the business as an industry leader to show our customers that Nylah Naturals knows what we are talking about when it comes to expert haircare!
We will be rolling out more workshops within the Untangled series within the coming months and hopefully hosting more events within the Midlands to help the foster care community. In addition, in the near future, we will be introducing new products to the market and looking to work with some great high street retailers.