For Jamyla Bennu there were not any commercially available products that catered to the moisture and care needs of the naturally minded consumer with highly textured hair in 2001. She began to cook up a solution her dilemma -- literally.
“I began experimenting with my own kitchen concoctions for personal use, and because I was a freelance Web designer at the time, eventually I built a website to sell the products to others with similar needs,” said Bennu. Four years later, business was booming. Now she and her husband Pierre are owners of Oyin Handmade
, a hair and body natural products line for men, women and children.
“I was attracted to the freedom at first, and inspired by my passion for the field. I loved the creative aspect of making something new, and enjoyed finding, connecting with, and providing great service to our lovely customers,” she said. “By the time I realized that entrepreneurial 'freedom' is often a code word for grueling nonstop work -- albeit done on one's own behalf -- I was already happily hooked.”
Now carried in Target stores, business employs 16 people, 11 of whom are full time. She described the team as a tight-knit, productive crew who enjoys each other and the work.
“Spelman helped me develop practically every aspect of my adult personality,” said the mother of two. “It was an incubator that increased my self-confidence, developed my life skills, built lasting relationships with other powerful and accomplished women, and nurtured my belief in myself. I was always pretty entrepreneurial, but graduated from Spelman understanding that I could do literally anything, and on whatever scale I could imagine.”