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Valonne Smith

Natural Do founder and CEO Valonne Smith is giving back in a big way with new apprenticeship program

Natural Do, a black and woman owned natural hair care salon, is giving back in a big way.

Before Women’s History Month ends, we want to spotlight another incredible women founder who is paying it forward and creating opportunities for other women. 

Valonne Smith is the owner and founder of Natural Do, a membership salon and retail store offering natural hair care products specifically formulated for people with kinky, curly, wavy hair. 

As a woman of color with natural hair, Valonne thought, wouldn’t it be great to go to a salon and get the products and services I need? After searching for salons that catered to natural hair, she soon found that there was not much out there for this niche and decided to start her own salon with this vision in mind. 

Valonne Smith, founder and CEO of Natural Do. (Photo courtesy of Valonne Smith)

Leaning on her strength to put herself out there and engage with all kinds of people, Valonne began taking steps to build her dream business. Her vision finally came to fruition in 2016 when the first Natural Do location opened in Stockton, California. 

However, while building her business, Valonne encountered some struggles, as many entrepreneurs do. Unlike many businesses, though, the main struggle she faced over and over again was rooted in a lack of understanding from vendors and banks who did not understand her business’ niche and what they do. 

“They think we are just a regular hair salon, but because we are niche and cater to a specific client they don’t understand it,” said Valonne. “They don’t see how a natural hair salon is actually very different from the traditional salon.” 

It’s this specific client niche that makes Natural Do so unique and distinguishes them from other salons. 

Natural Do’s core mission is to educate “Curlfriends” on how to properly care for their hair and get the positive results they want, and embrace their natural hair texture using natural and organic-based products designed to nourish, strengthen, and maintain healthy hair growth.

 “My favorite part of my business that I love to see is when the stylist turns the client around in the chair and they see their hair. They look so happy and surprised that it’s their own natural hair that looks beautiful. There was no need to add chemicals or extensions. Just their beautiful natural curls.” 

Valonne is passionate about spreading that love for natural hair and continuing to educate individuals on how to care for their hair and embrace their natural look. 

Continuing her mission, Valonne is now expanding her reach with two new locations in the works in San Jose and Sacramento, along with introducing an exciting new opportunity for aspiring cosmetologists. 

With education at the center of Natural Do’s mission, the salon is now launching the Natural Do Apprenticeship Apprentice Academy, a training program approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) and the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology that allows people who have a talent in doing hair but may not have the resources to pay for cosmetology school, to be able to work in the salon and get on-the-job training all while getting paid. Under the guidance and supervision of a trainer, apprentices will hone their skills and after two years, they can then apply for the state board to get their cosmetology/barber license.

This incredible opportunity will help train more cosmetologists and barbers in the art of natural hair care and continue the salon’s mission while giving back. 

“Do what you love and have a strong interest in,” Valonne encourages aspiring entrepreneurs. (Photo courtesy of Valonne Smith)

Valonne encourages women entrepreneurs and professionals to focus on their passions. Her own business was founded on her passion for hair care and a desire to educate. Through her business she has also been able to help others follow their passions by providing education and apprenticeship opportunities. 

“Do what you love and have a strong interest in,” she said. “The business or your career will have ups and downs. There would be good days and amazing days,” she continued. “And the only thing that will keep you grounded is the love and passion you have for your business or career.” 

Valonne has faced her share of challenges throughout her journey, but ultimately it has all been worth it. She hopes to continue to reach more “Curlfriends” as Natural Do expands its reach with new locations and opportunities this year, and continue to educate and spread the love for natural hair. 

You might be interested: Meet the Frías sisters founders of Afro-Latina beauty brand LUNA MAGIC 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder Scarlett Rocourt shares hair-care secrets to perfect curls 

Scarlett Rocourt is a Haitian-born “Jersey Girl,” an entrepreneur, plant-based vegan, plant mom and gardener. She is passionate about living a healthy life and helping others to do the same. 

She is the founder of Wonder Curl, the leading indie Black-owned, vegan and eco-friendly hair-care line for all natural and curly hair textures. All products are free of silicones, parabens, phthalates, and are cruelty-free.

Wonder Curl specializes in hair-care and has developed a three-step system that simplifies customers’ wash day routine, helping customers embrace their natural curls with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. Their signature hair-care bundle includes the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser, Moisturizing Hair Pudding, and the Get Set Hair Jelly.

From battling humidity to homemade remedies, Scarlett discovered the secret to perfect curls  

Scarlett’s entrepreneurial journey began unexpectedly in her home kitchen in 2010. At the time, she was living in Florida and her hair was losing a battle against the humidity. After struggling to find the perfect hair gel that would hold up against the weather, Scarlett decided to try her hand at creating her own homemade product. 

‘Wonder Curl’ founder, Scarlett Rocourt began her business in her home kitchen, searching for a hair-care remedy that would battle Florida humidity. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

Originally, she had plans of becoming a blogger and purchased the domain name ‘Wonder Curl.’ After a few weeks she realized this was not the path for her and instead, she found that she had a knack for creating products that helped keep her curls hydrated and defined. 

“I knew that if I had this problem, then other people with curly hair would too,” she said.

Working out of her home kitchen and determined to find a solution to her hair gel problem, she created her first product, the Get Set Hair Jelly. This first product would become one of three in Wonder Curl’s signature hair-care bundle, with  the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser and Moisturizing Hair Pudding later joining the line. 

Her blog domain soon became repurposed as her company name, and Wonder Curl was born. 

Scarlett set out on her mission to create products that would simplify the hair-care process for those with curly hair of all types. “I wanted to take the work out of our hair and I formulated the products, so you only need two products for styling your hair,” said Scarlett. 

Her greatest strength starting out as a minority business owner is that she is also a customer. When formulating her products, she created products that she would want to use herself. 

“My customers have the same issues with their hair as I had. I can relate to them because I am them. I always say that people will buy from who they like and who better than someone who is just like them and understands them?”

With her mission clear in her mind, Scarlett continued developing her line over the following years. She moved from Florida back to New Jersey, got a job in marketing, and kept working on her business as a side hustle. She managed this for over 3 years until her job discovered she was running a whole business while working for them. 

“They let me go and I decided not to look for another job but to pursue Wonder Curl full-time. That was about 2015 and I never looked back!” said Scarlett. 

The magic three-step process to getting those wonder curls

Over the years, Scarlett has perfected her products and now holds the secret to getting those perfectly styled curls with her three-step signature process. 

Made with all natural ingredients known to nourish hair, the unique formulas moisturize and keep hair hydrated for days, improve texture, and enhance natural curl pattern. 

“Those with curly hair know that wash days can be complex and include multiple cleansers, creams, masks, and gels. Even after spending hours on hair, it still may need to be restyled or refreshed within a couple of days. Don’t let all of that hard work go to waste. Wonder Curl has developed a new system that has everything needed in just three products,” said Scarlett describing the process. “The three-step system leaves hair hydrated and defined for days, without refreshing. Not only does this streamline hair-care routines, but it also makes it easier to achieve naturally beautiful hair.”

hair-care, Wonder Curl, Scarlett Rocourt

Scarlett shares the secret to perfect curls with signature three-step process. (Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

To get the perfect curls for yourself, start with the Detoxifying Clay Cleanser. This product does it all. It washes, detangles, and conditions. The Detoxifying Clay Cleanser was developed to combine all these steps, simplifying the process while leaving hair moisturized and fresh. Many cleansers leave curly hair dry and tangled, but the Wonder Curl formula guarantees hydration.

The second step is the Wonder Curl Moisturizing Hair Pudding, made with shea butter, castor oil, and aloe vera. This leave-in cream hydrates without becoming greasy, enhancing natural curl patterns while increasing the hair’s elasticity.

The Get Set Hair Jelly is the last step that sets hair in its natural curl pattern, without becoming dry, flaky, or crunchy.  

“We know that many hair gels promise hold but fail miserably in humidity. Not the Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly. Hair will have a flexible hold that is perfect for every curl type and is humidity-proof. It is also great for eliminating frizz and elongating your curls,” said Scarlett. 

Healthy hair happiness and giving back

Over the years Scarlett has helped countless people through her products. Starting out, she began attending hair events in NYC to promote her business and putting on workshops. Her hair demonstrations often gather crowds wherever she goes. 

“It’s so important to always give back,” says Scarlett.(Photo courtesy Scarlett Rocourt)

I was giving at a natural hair show in Philadelphia once. It was at a hotel, and they gave me an auditorium. I showed up a few minutes late and it was standing room only which I was not expecting,” said Scarlett, sharing a favorite memory. “I was demonstrating my products on my hair model, who in all fairness already had great hair, so one of the women in the front row who had tightly coiled hair asked ‘But will it work in MY hair?’ I responded, ‘I will do your hair next!’ So, after I was done with my hair model, she came on stage. I wet her hair and applied my products and as soon as the products touched her hair you could see her curls form beautifully. She was so happy.” 

Later, after the demonstration, Scarlett would find her booth mobbed with people from the auditorium who had seen the demonstration and were eager to try Wonder Curl for themselves. 

“We sold out of the products and even had people asking to buy our demo products!”  

These live demonstrations are one of Scarlett’s favorite parts of her job. “This is where I shine the most. I love the look on people’s faces when they see what their hair looks like using my products. They can’t believe how soft and defined their curls are.” 

A decade after starting her journey in the world of hair-care, Scarlett started the Healthy Hair Summit in 2020 to help others to grow their healthiest hair through proven expert tips. She never imagined her personal hair-care journey and homemade remedies would lead her here today. 

To other aspiring entrepreneurs, Scarlett shares one more secret

If you are looking to gain success or grow in your career then you should seek out 3 different types of people. 

The first is someone who is where you want to be. This is the person who has achieved most of their goals and will give you valuable business advice. They don’t have to become your friend, but someone you can text/call every so often when you come across an obstacle. 

Second, is someone who is where you are now and trying to achieve their goals. These are the people who will be struggling or have had a similar struggle as you. This is also the person who talks you off the ledge. 

Finally, the third is someone who wants to get to where you are. It’s so important that we always give back and help the next generation come up.” 

For more information, visit wondercurl.com or follow Wonder Curl on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest.