THE CURLY CONNECT
Inspired by the past, this is a brand for the future.
By Rebecca | 31st July 2020
CREDIT: KEMI ANNA
We all know, and have seen, the stories. A whole range of hair care products tailored for curly and Afro-textured hair locked up behind cabinets and chains; darker shades of makeup being the only products on a shelf attached with electronic tags; Black customers forced to wait for members of staff at supermarkets to unlock display cabinets — the list goes on.
Access to products for and information about diverse hair types has historically been few and far between, and it is only recently that the demand for diversity has been acknowledged by major companies in the beauty industry. In 2017, TextureMedia’s survey of more than 3000 participants found that textured-hair consumers tend to spend more than twice as much as their straight-hair counterparts, with 91% in a constant search for suitable products. Coupled with the fact that these hair types are seen to be “unprofessional”, “unruly”, and undesirable in schools and in the workplace, these experiences are just some of the many strands on the head of an arduous and frustrating struggle, especially for individuals who are seldom represented in mainstream beauty norms.
In response to the current situation, The Curly Connect aims to address a gap in the mainstream market and to challenge the current offering as a bespoke brand of inclusivity.
The Curly Connect is the brainchild of Kemi Anna Adeeko, a rising multidisciplinary creative based in London. The brand has its roots in Kemi’s childhood kitchen, where she began concocting and mixing her own hair treatments at the age of 10. It was when people began requesting her products that Kemi to considered setting up her own business. She wanted to start a brand that grounds itself in providing inclusivity, a sense of community, and accessibility to products for its customers.
Their products are made to ‘emphasise the beauty’ in textured hair, and aim to declutter bathroom cabinets with their versatility and multi-purpose formulation. The ‘Oil-In-One’, the first product in The Curly Connect’s debut line, is a powerhouse of all-natural ingredients; a treasure trove of oils organically harvested from premium botanicals, including jojoba, clary sage, neem, cedarwood, and flaxseed. It was created for those who, like Kemi, are finding it difficult to obtain a hair product that promises both growth and moisture for textured hair, and is made up of solely natural components. The product strives to mitigate the financial and practical hassles that individuals might encounter in the maintenance of their natural hair.
When asked if hair and its appearance is constantly seen as a political statement, especially on Black women, Kemi wholeheartedly agrees. She mentions that she can be seen as “more aggressive” when she has her hair “out”, compared to when she has a “straight wig” on. Nevertheless, she believes that natural hair is important to her as it is something that is truly her own, and that “holds a lot of power” for her as an individual. Similarly, The Curly Connect seeks to empower others and their relationship with their hair in the same way, and to dispel existing preconceptions and misconceptions.
As an entrepreneur, Kemi sees her brand as a step towards promoting diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. She believes that all hair types deserve the same care and attention, specifically from the beauty industry, and that no one should feel left out in fulfilling such a basic necessity.
The Curly Connect’s cult following is a testament to her tenacity and capabilities, as she is her own boss, manufacturer, advertiser, and graphic designer. She has curated and directed the brand’s marketing campaigns herself; her selection of models, and the warm-toned aesthetic chosen for her studio shoots, are both reflective of the brand’s welcoming ethos. Kemi has always been an active advocate for fairness and equality in minority representation in both the creative arts and the beauty industries — The Curly Connect is no different.
The brand is definitely a space to watch, as it grows in its efforts to embrace individuals with experiences that have been neglected and exploited for so long; one handmade solution, one bottle, one satisfied customer at a time.