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The United Kurls Event – Get your Shopping on!

United Kurls

United Kurls; a collective of UK hair care brands. There are nine in total and every single one of them I have either heard of, tried their products, done a product review, promoted and 100% respect! This is why I am excited to announce that next month they are holding their first pop up shop

Almocado, AfroDeity, BEUNIQUE Hair Care, Curly By Nature, I Love Afro, Mane Divas, Naturally Simple Hair Care, Sheabutter Cottage and Shea Decadence will all be at the pop shop on Sunday 14th December from 12pm – 4pm at Stonebar 68-70 Honor Oak Park, London, SE23 1DY.

POPUP FLYER

This is a ticketed event; tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite www.unitedkurls.eventbrite.co.uk. The value of a  ticket is redeemable against an exclusive United Kurls Christmas hair care hamper. Head on down and support UK brands and get all your Christmas Gifts.  See you there?

 

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Antidote Street – A new hair and skincare website + Reader’s Speical offer!

A few weeks ago I heard all about Antidote Street.  It is a  brand new online destination for black hair and skin care products.  I liked the website, I was pleased with the range of products and the fact that they were easy to find, the pricing is also not bad  so I had to ask a few more questions.

Antidote Street - Founders

The three Founders of Antidote Street

The London based  founders Winnie Awa, Kamil Kluza and Seun Lawal, consist of  two Nigerian ladies and a Polish Gent  here are the questions I asked them:

How did such an unusual trio come about?

We actually all used to live together and remained friends ever since. Right now, we find ourselves deploying our diverse skills to different parts of the business. 

Why did you create your website?

“Antidote Street created because we wanted to revolutionise access to black hair and skin care products. We got tired of having to search tooth and nail for that killer product we just saw on a popular blog. For a long time, access to the right products for black hair and skin care has been fragmented. Depending on where people live, it is not easily available on the high street – with many people often having to travel further afield or ordering from the States in order to find what they need. Antidote Street was formed in direct response that these challenges”

Antidote Street

Natural Lounge Readers are worldwide, where do you ship to? 

“Our initial focus was UK and Europe but since launching we have had some interest from as far out as Australia. So we have adapted our offering to accommodate orders worldwide on a case by case basis. In the meantime, we are working hard to automate this, so watch this space, World”

Iv’e had a nosey on your website and seen a few things I like but what are you favourite products?

Winnie – My hair loves Shea Moisture’s Curl Enhancing smoothie, when especially dry, it craves Anita Grant’s Banana RhassoulDeep Condish Bar and when knotty, Mixed Chicks Deep conditioning treatment is the only antidote that it will have. I bet you are wishing you never asked this question…shall I go on?

Seun – My hair can be a nightmare but also loves the Mixed Chicks Deep Conditioning, Giovanni Direct Leave-inJamaican castor oil and and My Honey Child Type 4C Hair Crème.

Kam – Village Barber Shaving Oil – this all natural cocktail of nearly 20 oils gives me a super smooth shave. Men often use foams as their primary shaving prep but they underestimate how helpful oils can be. If used in conjunction with a foam, they create a protective layer that reduces both irritation and prevents from ingrown hairs.

mixed chicks

One of the products Winnie and Seun really like!

Setting a website and a company isn’t easy what were the most exciting parts and where there any challenges?

We have had so many exciting milestones in our journey. From getting our business cards to going live with the site and receiving the first order. We suspect making our customers lives simpler by providing a one stop shop for their hair and grooming needs will continue to give us a buzz for a long time. We are dedicated like that 

The challenges were testing the website!!! We are perfectionists and probably spent thousands of hours, testing across multiple mobiles, tablets, browsers.  You name it, we tested it. But of course, that was a small price to pay if it means that our customers have a fantastic experience.

 

What makes you different from the other brilliant and successful hair websites such as British Curlies or Gidore?

“We aim to revolutionise the concept of access by providing the best selection of products (including hair care and shaving products for men), an excellent website experience, offering consolidated advice on how to use the products and efficient delivery. 

We are passionate about forming long term relationships with every single brand on our site so as to bridge the gap between our customers and brands. We are actively working with up and coming British brands, providing them with platform to flourish and improve their product offering. 
For us, it is all about cutting the faff associated with accessing the niche beauty needs of both men and women of colour. This means leveraging technology and logistics in efficient ways so as to make the lives of our customers that much easier. More to come on this so watch this space!”

 

So why should  Natural Lounge readers should visit your website?

“You should click on this link www.antidotestreet.com because as our tagline suggest, ‘we get black hair.’ Our site offers a one stop shop for your hair and grooming needs at the click of a button, so that you don’t have to travel further afield to get them or order from the States and pay extortionate prices for shipping. That said, we also focus on promoting local British brands and engaging with the hair community.

We constantly obsess over curating the best product selection for our customers, providing them with a superior website experience and ensuring that their antidotes are delivered fast”

As you have been so good to read till the end, we are offering free delivery until November 7th enter code Antidotestreet_TNL_20 at the checkout. Enjoy shopping and give us a shout on info@antidotestreet.com if you have any question or feedback. Listening is our thing” 

 

So TNL Team  –  Let me know if you check it out, and if you have any more questions for the team feel free to post them below.

The website again is www.antidotestreet.com

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Spotlight on Secrets of the Afro Comb

Hey everyone

As you know I believe that children need to see as many books, toys, dolls, etc. featuring good images that look like them as possible.   So when Secrets of the Afro Comb, 6,000 Years of Art and Culture author asked The Natural Lounge to be one of the stops on her blog tour, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. Not only that but at the very end of this article you have the chance to win a signed copy of the book…or even a grand prize…read on for details

Front cover

You could win a copy of this

Kandace, do you consciously put illustrations in your children’s books that always show images of natural hair?

Yes and no.  As I mentioned in your Natural Inspiration series (previous post here), I’ve been natural for more than a decade so it’s a lifestyle choice for me but subconsciously that influences my work.

However, because in ancient times most people of African descent wore natural hairstyles and my books are usually about Black history prior to enslavement, natural hair is just the norm to show.

As part of the research for the book, were there any hairstyles in particular that stood out over time?
Quite a few actually but one in particular is this short twisted hairstyle which appears both as a hairstyle and also has wigs modelled on it.  I am fascinated by this style and would like to do more research into it.  It’s found in ancient Egypt and among Nigerian elites about 100 years ago as shown in the book but I didn’t mention that I’ve also seen something similar in ancient Greece and I’d like to follow that up.

Illustration showing Queen Kawit having her hair done. Copyright @ Golden Destiny Ltd 2013

Illustration showing Queen Kawit having her hair done. Copyright @ Golden Destiny Ltd 2013

Kushites in the Berlin Museum

Kushites in the Berlin Museum

Are you planning to work on more books, perhaps solely focused on natural hair?
Yes I am.  I actually have ideas for 3 different books just about natural hair.  None of these books have been done by anyone and thinking about it, that’s surprising.  The winner of the grand prize on this blog tour will be featured in the first book.

The print that is also a part of the grand prize giveaway is based on an illustration in the book.  I know that you don’t illustrate so how did you choose the styles to feature?
For that illustration, I could fit in eight hairstyles comfortably so we showed short and longer Afros, cornrows, locks, twists and an Afro puff style.  These are all styles that children today can identify with yet are also all more historical than most people realise.  I just gave the suggestions and the artist came up with the final look which I was delighted with and has received good feedback.

Print that you can win

Print that you can win as part of the grand prize

Did you find any surprising information when you were writing the book?
Where do I start? There were so many surprises Angel.  As you know, the book was written initially as part of last summer’s Origins of the Afro Comb exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.  One thing that the research threw up and deserves more research is the role of hair and hair combs during captivity in the Americas and the Caribbean.  Did you know that hair combs belonging to enslaved people had been found on plantations?  I didn’t!

It makes sense really when you think about it because the enslaved people would have wanted to hold on to their identity in terrible circumstances that denied their humanity.  Many were coming from cultures where their hairstyle had cultural meaning.


The Secrets of the Afro Comb book is actually a mix of hair biology and Black history combined together?  Was this easy?
No, it was really challenging to be honest, Angel.  It does make the book a bit unusual in that it’s not just about the characteristics of natural hair or just about history but most people do seem to like that.

I actually found the hair biology part of the book harder than the history part but it was important to explain African hair type in a child-friendly way so that I could explain African combs.  African combs are of course art but they’re also often tools for grooming natural hair.

I was so challenged by making sure that the hair biology was written simply enough.  If you remember, that’s when I approached you to have a read of the draft wasn’t it?

Illustration from the Secrets of the Afro Comb Book

Illustration from the Secrets of the Afro Comb Book

Yes, and thank you for mentioning that in the acknowledgments. So, apart from seeing positive images of themselves which I think is so important, are there other ways that you think children could benefit from your book?
To be honest, I think that equally important is having the information about why their natural hair is the way it is.We can all describe the characteristics of African hair type, I mean we can describe how Black hair is but explaining why it is the way it is, that’s a different matter.
Children can really benefit from reading about their hair type in a positive book and from seeing an illustration of a curved hair follicle with a darker skin tone rather than the round hair follicle with a straight light-coloured hair that is usually featured in books and online on children’s science websites.

 
You told me that you came across something a bit absurd when you were doing the research for this book.  Can you share that with us?
Did I?  Oh yes!  I realised that most of the research into African hair is conducted by relaxer companies.   Their reports often state that Black hair is not versatile and needs to be relaxed in order to get into different hairstyles.  When I read that, I was so shocked.

This is why I believe it is good to know more about the history of hair and of natural hairstyles over thousands of years.  If anything we haven’t even begun to touch the range of hairstyles people wore in the past.

 

Well, Kandace, thank you for stopping by The Natural Lounge on your tour.
Thank you for having me Angel!

Kandace will be appearing in all these blogs as part of her tour

Sunday 5th October –  The Calabash Hub

Monday 6th October –  The Natural Lounge

Tuesday 7th Ocotber – That Healthy Feeling

Wednesday 8th October – United Kinkdom

Thursday 9th – TBC

About the Author
Kandace (writing as K.N. Chimbiri) is the author and publisher of three ancient African history books for children; the history-themed activity book, Step back in time to ancient Kush, The Story of Early Ancient Egypt and Secrets of the Afro comb, 6,000 years of art and culture.

Kandace Chimbiri

Kandace Chimbiri

Her idea was simple: create the books that would be there if the world was fair. She aims to create books that are positive for children of African descent

Secrets of the Afro Comb, 6,000 Years of Art and Culture (ISBN 978-0-9562525-3-1) is available from Amazon click here for details or from the author’s website www.goldendestiny.co.uk. Ages 8+

 

COMPETITION TIME

I hope you were reading carefully – I have a signed copy of the Secrets of the Afro Comb book to giveaway today. To enter, leave your answer to this question in the comments box below on the Natural Lounge website

All you have to do is tell me “which museum exhibition in Cambridge was this book written for?” And for once this competition is to anyone  worldwide but closes on the 25th October. 

Don’t worry if you don’t win today because at the end of the blog tour, all commentators across all the participating blogs will be entered into a fantastic grand prize draw. If you win the grand prize draw, you will:

*Be captured as a black & white line drawing in Kandace’s forthcoming book. Imagine seeing your face and your favourite natural hairstyle illustrated in a book.

• Get a limited-edition museum quality print of the illustration we discussed above. Keep it for yourself or gift it to a treasured child as colourful and positive artwork for their bedroom wall.

• Receive an autographed copy of Secrets of the Afro Comb, 6,000 Years of Art and Culture.

 GOOD LUCK ALL 

 

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