Klerissa McDonald is the founder and creative director of award winning UK Brand Curly By Nature. She is based in North West London and has a family and two children aged 7 and 4. Not only has she perviously worked in salons styling hair she is has a BSc Honours in Management Sciences and Spanish and is also Certified in Advanced Natural Haircare Product Development.
I have had the pleasure in trying out her products past so she was kind enough to stop by the lounge for an interview and to give some products away. If you want to be in with a chance of winning read on.
Angel: When did you set up your business and why?
Klerissa: I set up Curly By Nature as a vehicle for my passion. I am driven to provide solutions for people- For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair. From the tender age of eight, I developed my passion to care for and style hair. I loved to be adventurous with hair, finding fun in creating beautiful protective styles on my own hair as well as family, friends and regular clients. After experiencing work life in several London salons, I witnessed the sad and shocking stories of chemical and heat damage that was plaguing the industry and the community. My desire to develop natural solutions for what I call ‘genetically curly’ hair began to grow. Instead of continuing to build a career in styling, I decided to focus on developing alternative effective natural haircare solutions to enhance and maintain the health of the hair and prevent common hair issues associated with heat and chemical treatments.
Angel: That is a wonderful reason to start, did you face any significant challenges?
Klerissa: The reality is that I experience challenges on a daily basis but it strengthening me, giving me character. For me, the biggest thing that I had to deal with was from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey is rejection and doubters. I have had many knock-backs on my journey with people saying that it may not work for various reasons. I stayed true to myself, remained positive and persevered. I learnt that when people do not understand you or your idea—it is easy for them to say that it won’t work. Having faith in yourself, understanding how to best communicate and making sure you know what you are talking about helped me to overcome my challenges.
Angel: Staying true to yourself is a good positive way of dealing with challenges, so now what does Curly By Nature mean to you?
Klerissa: Our name Curly By Nature® was chosen because we specifically design our products and services for each person who is born with or naturally develops Genetically Curly Hair® despite its current condition, style, state and no matter one’s ethnic origin. In fact it is amazing for chemically straightened or coloured hair. The DNA helix logo represents the curls and bends in genetically curly air, it also represents ‘origination’ with curls being in our DNA. It represents nature and science which is what we employ to formulate high performance solutions. We truly are inspired by nature and pledge to only employ high quality pure ingredients sourced from around the world that has been proven to benefit the hair, scalp and environment.
Angel: So now you have the products, what makes them different to others on the market?Klerissa: Our formulations are very complex, high performing eco- luxe solutions using 100% naturally derived ingredients that nourish, strengthen and intensely moisturise the hair and scalp. We are Genetically Curly Hair® care experts taking pride in using traditional artisan methods to produce high performance hair care and focused on creating and delivering holistic solutions and education. We’re passionately dedicated to sourcing premium quality ingredients proven to benefit both your hair, scalp, body, family and the environment in the best possible way. What’s more, the therapeutic benefits gained from the purity, integrity and complexity of our formulations are truly second to none.
Angel: Who would you say your products are for?
Klerissa: For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment with high performing professional natural products and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair.
Angel: For someone wanting to try out your products where would you recommend they start?
Klerissa: Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org I can direct them to their nearest salon or outlet to experience and or purchase.
Angel: I have tried and really liked your Nourishing Gloss Balm it made my hair soft and shiny. What is your favourite product in your range?
Klerissa: Every product has a different function and are the best in its own category but overall, I would recommend the Hair Repair Oil because of it multi-purpose capabilities. It may be used as a detangler, Hot Oil Treatment, Oil rinse, scalp massage, heat protectant, sealant and it can double up with other products if you need more moisture.
Angel: Moving away from CBN Who inspires you and why?
Klerissa: I have many sources of inspiration including my husband, mother, father, family, peers, other beauty brand founders and bloggers. However, my daughter and my cousin truly ignited my inspiration. My cousin is biracial with lovely tight curls, her mother is white with beautiful curly hair, her father is black with dreadlocks. I used to babysit her from when she was a baby and as she got older I used to do style her hair with designer canerow’s hair from time to time. I then trained her and her mother how to take care of it as she got older and independent. It was then when I understood the need for everyday people to access quality advice and products. When I had my daughter (now aged 4), my desire to serve people with honest haircare solutions (both products & services) with integrity was at its most strongest. Not only did I NOT want her and every other child to experience that sad reality of what many curlies have previously experienced (and currently experiencing) with burns (from chemical processing & heat), breakage, damage, self image issues, confidence issues, badmouthing, abusing, neglecting or even hiding one’s own hair and the list goes on. I have continuously been inspired to personally help people through sharing my expertise and products for the whole family to use, that is effective on curls despite your ethnicity and that benefits the body and environment too.
Angel: Tell us your hair story?
Klerissa: In short, I have done almost everything you can imagine. I was in love with my natural hair from when I was a toddler. My mother encouraged me to take care of it myself so I have done so independently from the age of 8. When I was 17 I experimented with relaxer. It was great at first but despite taking good care of it with professional care and attention, the chemicals and I did not get on – and the crown fell out. After that I listened to my body and stopped relaxing it. I have learnt through both expert training and experience that there is so much more to healthy hair care and it should be viewed holistically. Being anaemic and low in Vitamin D makes me more at risk to breakage and thinning so a healthy balanced diet, a high water intake and using Curly By Nature has a tremendous impact on the health of my hair. So far I have worn many styles including wigs, weaves and have recently coloured it for the first time plus I have big chopped 3 times. I think that people should have the freedom to experiment and express themselves through their hair without being boxed into a stereotype. However, I know that loving your natural self is essential for great healthy hair which boosts confidence and in practice, hair health must come before styling.
Angel: Gosh my hair started falling out in relaxer too…Klerissa In my opinion you have both the qualifications and the experience to work in this field, what is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to make their own products?
Klerissa: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Use multiple strategies and research methods. Test your theories and conduct as much primary research as possible—this is a great way to learn about how they can achieve their goals easier and faster. Share your idea and thoughts and get feedback. Make sure you are compliant with the current EU regulations and do lots of product testing making sure that it is safe to use. There is no point reinventing the wheel. Get advice from people who have ‘been there and done it’ what can you learn from them?
Angel: Finally It was mentioned on my facebook group recently how women feel pressured to maintain defined curls and twist outs and that just wearing a fro is not considered beautiful. What are your thoughts?
Klerissa: I think that this statement may be true for some people. I love curls, fro’s and all the above- defined or not. In all honesty, I, have been one of those people- I think mostly because I represent a company called “Curly By Nature” so people naturally look at my hair and judge automatically. Pressure is not the word lol. I realised that there is a fine line and it is easy to get caught up in other people’s expectation of what they think I should look like. I decided that whilst I am the no.1 brand ambassador, I will not conform to other people’s expectations and do what’s best for me and my sanity. In fact, I recently cut and coloured my hair- everyone (I mean EVERYONE!) questioned my motivation. The truth is, as long as you are grooming your hair with tender love and care (using Curly By Nature lol) and enhancing the health of your hair, it should not matter whether you define your curls or not and you should not make that define you- in my opinion.
Angel…Wait before you go, you used to style hair?? Can you do mine?
LOL! I offer holistic consultations and treatment programmes and services (For more info please email email@example.com) I occasionally style hair but would prefer to recommend an amazing salon called Adornment365 in Brixton. I currently do hair care consultations there and the stylists are professional and actually care for your hair.
WIN WIN WIN
Win a set from Curly By Nature of Moisture Shampoo, Intensive Conditioning Mask, Hair Repair Oil & Nourishing Gloss Balm
Or be one of 3 Shampoo’s
UK entries only, winners to be announced on 21st April
Full Terms and Conditions can be found HERE