Five Minutes With Rose Ovensehi

Rose Ovensehi is the founder of Flora & Curl, a botanical brand for textured hair. She took time out to tell us how she created her beauty brand.

What made you decide to set up your own beauty business?

I felt that I have always been a creative and I craved wanting to create something. Starting a Youtube channel to record, edit and share my natural haircare journey in 2011 was the first step in that direction. It allowed me to share my passion for people, connections and for me to activate my visual creativity while I was in study.

Although I enjoyed my studies (I still have a passion for all things Geography and Economics related) I knew that I equally desired a creative outlet. I enjoy learning about the world and different cultures, about ingredients, their sources, their uses and their benefits (both ancient and current. I’m a researcher at heart, and it was just about putting all of it into practice.

What is the concept behind Flora and Curl?

Going natural was such an emotional journey for me. There’s nothing like really embracing who you are, and wanting others to feel the same way too. I wanted to create not only a brand, but a journey. I wanted it to say ‘’Hey, I care for you, and I care about your hair and what goes into it. I understand your healthy hair journey.’’ I used my homemade creations because I enjoyed making recipes from scratch with various raw ingredients, but I also knew their benefits and versatility.

I wanted Flora & Curl to communicate the beauty of our nature. My natural hair reminds me of a beautiful flower. It’s delicate, but water it, feed it right and it will flourish. I read a poem that stated something along the lines of ‘’my hair grows upward toward the sun’’, and I felt incredibly inspired by the beauty of my hair. My vision is of the prettiest flowers/plants of the earth. Our natural hair is expressive and beautiful. I wanted to use products that would remind me of that everyday.

What sort of research did you do to find out what sort of products your customers wanted to buy?

After I launched my Youtube channel, NaturalRose in 2011, I launched a hair blog for women with highly textured hair in 2014 to further the discussion about growing healthy textured in a space we could relate. I think shortly after after the blog reached 3,000 subscribers - to my surprise - I randomly decided to pose a question: ''what is your biggest hair problem?'' The recurring problem cited from more than 300 responses to this simple question was dry hair and breakage. This is where the idea for Flora & Curl Hair Care blossomed - a moisture centered, restorative and nourishing haircare.

What are your future plans for the brand?

Since conception, Flora & Curl has been the product based on what my audience tells me. I love to hear what my customers feel will help and simplify their daily routine of hair care. I love formulating something that can achieve multiple things or that has multiple benefits without making the routine more complicated. More goodness, less work. We’ll promote surveys to ascertain the direction in which we should go. Our customers tell us best.

What are your favourite beauty products?

I am in love with buying raw oils such as Argan, Rose Hip and Almond. I love Dr. Bronner's Liquid Soap and Organic Naked Lip Balm, everything from LaidBare, Nuori Foaming Face Wash and Ren Skincare Clay Cleanser. I also love a good Konjac sponge.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own beauty business?

Don’t stop pushing for what you believe in, and trust in your brand’s value proposition. Connect with your customers and give them a clear understanding of how you intend to make their lives better or add value to their lives. Provide them with a guide, and always be willing to answer and ask questions. It works both ways. Communicate constantly with your customers and encourage them to ask questions about how your products work, and vice versa. If they love your products, they will come back, and if they really love them, they’ll bring someone else or two along with them and the cycle continues.

A favourite quote is by Seth Godin, ''Great marketers don’t make stuff. They make meaning. More than ever, we express ourselves with what we buy and how we use what we buy. Extensions of our personality, totems of ourselves, reminders of who we are or would like to be.’’ A blogger put it rightly: ‘‘A brand is not just a story about your company – it’s a story that makes people feel a certain way about themselves.

When people decide to buy from you, what is the story that they tell themselves about their decision? How does buying from you instead of from a competitor make people feel? Do they feel smart, pampered, efficient, savvy, loved? There’s no single right answer, but your brand needs to have an emotional connection with customers that makes them feel better – not about you, but about themselves.

You can follow Rose on Twitter and Instagram.