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Conversations with the Inspiring Devora Parke and Janelle Benjamin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Devora Parke and Janelle Benjamin.

Devora and Janelle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have always battled with the upkeep of my hair. I started getting relaxers at the age of six and with my mother being a single mom, she really did not have time to maintain my hair or was not always able to afford for me to go to professional salons. I finally was fed up with relaxers and started my natural hair journey in 2009 by doing the “Big Chop.” At that point, I still was not aware of how to style my hair. Not being able to feel confident with my own hair brought on insecurities within myself and I texturized my hair thinking that it would be less harmful than a perm (I was wrong). My second attempt to go natural was in 2012 and even though I started that journey the same way I started the journey in 2009, not knowing how to style my own hair, the only difference was I was not going to give in to chemicals anymore. Throughout the years, I have tried many different hair products whose promise was to provide you with all the things your hair needed to grow long and healthy and didn’t receive any of those great benefits until I started using natural products and even sometimes making my own oils that promoted my own hair growth. With my sister’s cosmetology background, together, we came up with the idea to start our own natural hair product line to give our naturalist’s and curly divas products that provide moisture and benefits that will aid in retaining growth and providing nutrients to their hair.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As a new business owner, newlywed, and full-time employee as well as full-time graduate student it has not been easy. Sometimes, I find myself giving up, but I stay focused because everything I do is for a greater purpose. The advice I have to give young women like myself is to set goals every day for yourself even if it’s as small as “write a business plan”, then after “do laundry.” I was surprised at myself of how good I felt when I set day to day goals for myself that included my business, or personal life and I was able to achieve them. I gained self-motivation by just meeting those goals it made me feel like I was actually getting things accomplished and not just being stagnant.

What should we know about Sandy’s Curly Girls? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Sandy’s Curly Girls provides natural hair with moisture and nutrients that promote hair growth. It is not only for a woman either, but our products can also be used on men and are safe for children as well. It is not animal tested and we do hand make all products. We are a brand new business with three products so far: flaxseed gel, moisturizer, and pomade. We have so much more in store.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
The most important advice I can give to a young woman starting her career is don’t give up. At first, it may not be easy. You may not see a profit right away from your business because you’re investing more than you are actually making and that’s ok, you have to start somewhere.

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