Monday, July 20, 2009
Natural Hair Community Entrepreneur, Ekua of AyurNatural Beauty
I met the beautiful and elegant Ekua on Naturallycurly.com's Curltalk Hair forum and we immediately became online friends.
Ekua has a beautiful spirit that shines through from a far and I'm privileged to have the honor of debuting her new oline Ayurvedic market, AyurNatural Beauty.
AyurNatural Beauty is a beauty and health boutique carrying Ayurvedic herbal essentials for the hair, face, skin, & overall health. Product offerings range from Ayurvedic remedies for hair loss, hair growth, anti-aging, clear skin, digestion, weight loss, and others.
Some of the products you will find at AyurNatural Beauty are:
Hesh Pharma Herbals including Amla, Brahmi, Neem, Shikakai and many others.
Herbal Hair Care
Herbal Skin Care
Herbal Hair Loss
I myself have often went to online Indian stores to order an Ayurvedic product after reading the rave reviews on many of the popular hair boards, but have quickly backed out my order due to outrageous shipping prices. Often times, the shipping is as much or more than the actual product so I'm excited to find a supplier that will meet the needs of us all. INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING IS ALSO AVAILABLE!
Now, on the the interview...
What is it that the online Natural Hair community should know about you?
Hi, I’m Ekua, pronounced (eh-kwee-ah) even though most people say (eh-koo-ah). It’s an Akan (Ghana) name for a Wednesday born female. Now that the name curiosity is out of the way... lol….
In general, I’m just a woman trying to navigate through this thing called life and have fun in the process. I’ve been described as that cool sister that people would like to have. I think that comes from a combination of things, like my humor, my loyalty, my insight and keen intuition, and my protective ways. For me, I just like helping people and if I’m not helping, then I don’t feel like I’m serving my life’s purpose. I want people to be better from having known me. That’s how I operate my life.
I’ve been natural for over a year now. It’s been an interesting experience of personal rediscovery. Learning your natural hair truly is a journey, sometimes sweet, sometimes frustratinG. Although I have a ways to go, I already know that I’m committed to my natural hair for life. I really have come to love my hair and in that, I’m loving myself even more.
Oh yeah, I’m also married, mother of one handsome son, and I own a smart, but crazy Jack Russell terrier… she’s barking at a neighbor right now… lol
What motivated you to start your own online retail store?
The experiences and stories of women on various hair boards.
I’ve only been on hair boards since late last year. I lurked a lot at first before becoming active. From then until now, no matter what hair board I visit, there’s this common reoccurrence of women who would love to try ayurvedic and herbal products from India for their hair and skin, but they don’t have local access to a store that sells them. Many of these women report that most online alternatives have been either unaffordable, didn’t have all of the products they were looking for, or just had poor customer service -- sometimes a combo of things. I felt really lucky to be able to find what I needed locally, but once I experienced how beneficial ayurvedic herbs were to my hair and skin, I started selling a little of my personal stash on the side, just so they could share in the benefits too. The thing is, there is only so much you can get at the Indian stores on ground, and only so many offerings per store, so I knew I wasn’t going to really make a difference.
It’s funny how divine ordinance works. When your intentions are really true, the solution does come. Not even a few days later, I was out trying to refill my own stash after just having sold all that I had to a nice sister online. It was that day I met the person who could give me access to much of what I was looking for. From there I went to work with a partner, doing research, building the store, competitive analysis, and all the other necessary tasks that need to take place before doing business.
Thus AyurNatural Beauty was born. It’s my hope that AyurNatural Beauty will bridge that gap to provide the access, for great prices, with great customer service. It’s really just that simple.
What will one find at AyurNatural Beauty?
You will find popular health and beauty herbal products directly manufactured in India where Ayurveda has been a way of life for thousands of years. We carry all Hesh brand powders for hair and skin, ranging from alma to brahmi to rose petal powder to manjishta to kalpi tone to kapoor kachli and so forth. You’ll find a number of hair oils by Dabur. We also have a private label Rajasthani mehndi henna in a fine and even finer premium sift for great prices! You’ll also find interesting offerings that are lesser known, such as Vicco Tumeric Skin cream which is great for skin irritations including eczema. We have a new hair fall solution by Parachute, Kalonji Oil (black seed oil), a number of herbal supplements and more!
Where do you hope to see the store a year from now?
Well, this first year will be about establishment of relationships with my customers as well as with other vendors and suppliers. A year from now, I’m hoping to expand AyurNatural Beauty’s offerings to not just include brand names, but also ingredients as well. I’ve already received a few requests to get in more ayurvedic and herbal oils and additional botanical powders and believe me, I am working on it! Eventually, I’d like to provide offerings from Africa, and not just shea butter and cocoa butter, but also lesser known herbs that have great beauty and health benefits. Still that may be a while coming. Ultimately, I hope to be a one stop shop, offering access to ayurvedic and herbal product brands as well as herbal ingredients that aren’t widely available, while keeping it all relatively affordable.
Anything else you’d like the readers to know?
I’m working on a blog that will provide news on store updates, specials, and more information about the products that are carried in the store. One of the features that I will have is an Ayurvedic Herb Spotlight, where I will focus on one herb, such as amla or brahmi, provide information, and share experiences and allow for readers to share their experiences as well.
From time to time, I may add something random, but the blog will be primarily an extension of AyurNatural Beauty – The Store.
For those who like to add cassia and indigo to their henna mixtures, we will have cassia and indigo powders to offer very shortly!
Also, there will be a One Day Sale sometime in late August! More details will come soon, so stay tuned!
A giveway from AyurNatural Beauty will be announced in the near future so, STAY TUNED!
Special thanks to you Ekua!
I wish you much success with this endeavor.