Interview with Sylvie Rosanwo – The Woollen Head Company


Sylvie Rosanwo joined me in The Natural Lounge.  She  is one of the founders of The Woollen Head Company a website selling natural hair accessories and products. Sylvie lives in London with her husband of three years and her fifteen month old son, here is what she had to say.
The Woollen Head Company?
Its a website with a new approach to selling natural hair accessories and products. We only look for small, independent designers who are European producers. Sometimes you get larger brands which sell relaxer but then sell natural hair products under a different name. I am not sure how ethical this is. We are based in the UK and Paris and I run it with my sister.

Sylvie Rosanwo
Did that present any challenges having two bases?
Well we wanted everything we did to be in English and French that was tough, I actually did not realise how difficult it would be, not only the website but then you have Facebook and Twitter too but we got around it.

What made you decide to start the company?
I always wanted to do something in the Natural Hair industry and had different ideas, I did try some out with other people but they did not work it was lucky that one day I asked my sister if she wanted to work with me and she said yes.

Sylvie’s Sister and business partner Stephanie 

What made you choose the name?
That is such a good question. I have been thinking about starting a venture around natural hair for a couple of years now and the name came to me then; it was more of an inspired moment than the outcome of a deep market brand analysis to be honest! When I started what was to become The Woollen Head Company this year, I suggested the name to my  and she just loved it! Our hair look and feels like wool, does it not? My personal experience is that people cannot resist the temptation to touch it and feel its softness! 
The other aspect is the ‘Company’: as a one-stop shop for everything you need to love your natural hair, 


I know about working with family as my brother in law often does the photos at my events. But we get on. How have you found working with your sister?
It’s been great because we grew up together and we know each other. My sister is someone that knows how to speak her mind and I like that. In the past working with others they didn’t speak their minds and then six months later had a problem and we would end up having an argument. With my sister I know what to expect so far so good. We haven’t had any disagreements yet.

Some of the products on sale on the website
How do you choose the designers for your website
We look for diversity and creativity, these are important to us. We want designers who love what they are doing and not just in it for the money passion is important.  For example we have a designer on our website who’s products are made out of Okra
(disbelief) Okra?
Yes check her out her name is Sisay she has some great products that actually work. Anyway, any designers who fit that mould are welcome to contact me.

Sisay Okra Moisturizer. 

What are your favourite products on the website?
I have not tested them all but I really like the MMM Spritzer I have the small one in in my handbag and I use it on the go. I also love the Naturally Sexy range my curls were really beautiful after I used their conditioner.

I noticed on your website that you have workshops do you run these?
No, but what we do is put all the information on anything a designer on our website is running .

Do you do this full time?
No, I also work in an investment bank as a development manager. I want to take this skill and use it with the designers I work with. I hope to help them find out what is next for them and their business. Sometimes designers are so swamped they have little space to be strategic or plan their next move.  I really want to help them.

These combs are exclusive to the website 

Thanks Sylvie Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
We live in a world where as consumers we are a powerful group, and zillions of beauty products aimed at black and mixed-race women. However economically we are not the beneficiary of that wealth. I want to encourage your natural readers to really think about who they buy their products from and how that fits into their life’s ethos. Whether we have started our natural hair journey as a fashion whim or as part of a personal quest, I believe that it really takes us to a place where we are likely to think about our identity and who we want to be going forward – as such we have a choice: either to buy from and support independent small producers who genuinely care about natural hair, have often themselves faced the challenges we are going through and come up with great products that work, or buy from and support the brands that, in parallel, continue to run brain-washing marketing ads promoting chemical hair straightening and images of African-descent women with straight hair as the main reference. Each one of us has that power and each one of us has that choice.

The independent designers do not have enough financial buffer to market enough how good their products are! A lot of them do this on their spare time because they cannot yet earn a living from it; however they keep going simply because they are passionate about the care and beauty of our hair in its most natural state…You just have to try their products!

To visit the website go to www.thewoollenheadcompany.com
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Comments

  1. I enjoyed this interview.This is exactly the type of ethos i look for in a compnay when buying my hair products.

    I always research what the company is about first before committing ANY of my natural Pound.

    Thank you Angel, for a wonderful & insightful. 🙂

  2. *blog

  3. They need to list the product’s ingredients. I personally won’t buy something if I don’t know what it contains.

    Excellent idea though, and I fully agree that black women as consumers need to use our economic buying power a lot more wisely.

  4. @ Jo – Thank you so much for your comment, researching is so so important

    @Unison – great feedback I will tell them