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Spelpreneur: Chat with Entrepreneurs in the Hair Industry

March 2023

SpelpreneurRecognizing Black History Month, Spelman’s Spelpreneur program hosted a chat with a panel of five creative innovators in the Black Hair Care industry. Speakers joined virtually for the hour-long event, bringing students and guests a wealth of knowledge coming from the fields of entertainment, STEM, and entrepreneurship.

Moderated by Alana Burrell C’2023, the event’s panelists provided attendees with resources and tips on how to enter the ever-changing hair industry. Celebrity hairstylist Nicole Mangum encouraged students to know their craft, practice great professionalism and network. Founder and CEO of Rebundle, Ciara Imani May expressed the importance of good marketing and being your own case study. May said, "Don’t be afraid to be your first customer." Lesia Mescudi, Owner of U Salon in Buckhead, offered advice on valuing yourself as an entrepreneur in the hair space. Reminding students to focus on their craft and invest in themselves, Mescudi also pushed for continuing education in the industry.

Candace Mitchell Harris, co-founder and CEO of Myavana, shared technology trends to be on the lookout for in the hair industry, such as virtual reality, healthier heat styling tools, and companies like ShearShare, which allows you to rent salon suites or barbershop stations almost anywhere.

A history lesson was also shared by panelist, A’Lelia Bundles. Bundles is the great-great-granddaughter of entrepreneur, Madam C.J. Walker and is the brand historian for MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker, a line of hair care products developed in partnership with Sundial Brands and Walmart.

"At a time when most Americans didn’t have indoor plumbing or electricity [Madam Walker developed] a shampoo and an ointment that was like Vaseline. [The ointment] had sulfur, that healed scalp disease," said Bundles.

The historian revealed the secret to the longevity of the Walker brand. Bundles said, "Clean, healthy scalps created an environment where hair could grow. That really is the cornerstone of who we are. Our scalp-to-strand system."

That system, influenced by the groundbreaking work of Walker, is still in use today. The hair care system consists of a shampoo, conditioner, and an ointment.

Spelpreneur is a co-curricular education initiative that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation at Spelman College. Spelpreneur educates, inspires, and empowers students. It is open to all current Spelman students.

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