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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Interview with Rochelle | Alikay Natural's




Hey loves! A few weeks ago, I was sent a few products from "Alikay Natural's" line. I've always heard great things about Alikay Natural's, but I've had yet to try it for myself, so you know I was pretty excited to see the "Curling Brulee" and the "Lemon Grass Leave-in" (which is one of my favs as of right now), when the package came! After using the "Lemon Grass Leave-In" I noticed that my hair was extremely moisturized and soft, after the 3rd day of use. It quickly became one of my staples. Immediately I wrote to "Rochelle" and asked for an interview. I wanted to know the science of Alikay Naturals, This is her story.


1. What is your name, and where are you from?

Rochelle Graham, Alikay Naturals CEO and Co-Founder.  I am from Jamaica, but currently reside in Fort Myers, FL.


2. Have you always been natural? How long have you been Natural?

I went natural and “Big Chopped” in 2007.  Due to color damage, I did a 2nd “Big Chop” in 2008

3. Can you describe your hair?
 My hair type is 4a.  Kinky, soft, versatile and FREE.  I love everything about my hair at every stage, from root to tip!

4. Some of our readers may know you as Youtube's "Black Onyx" What inspired you to do Youtube videos?

Initially, I began documenting my natural hair journey in college with photos and videos to use as a reference point for determining the best ways to re-create my hair styles later. I was bouncing between undergraduate courses and working, so the videos made it easier for me to remember what I did to achieve different looks.  As more people started inquiring about what I did to achieve different styles on my natural hair, I started creating instructional videos on my BlackOnyx77 YouTube channel to support other women as they embarked on the same path.  At the time, I never imagined that those videos would spark the birth of Alikay Naturals as an influential brand at the forefront of the natural hair movement.

5.  How did "Alikay Naturals" start, and what was your angle in the hair care market?

Always having felt a connection with nature since my early countryside childhood with my herbalist grandmother in Jamaica, it wasn’t long after my 2nd “Big Chop” that I began bringing the herbalist remedies to life with the creation of Alikay Naturals.  I felt that the hair care options that were on the market at the time didn’t have the natural ingredients with healing properties and natural humectants that I needed to nurture my tresses from root to tip

With my start as a natural hair blogger, YouTube played a key role in how I planned for Alikay Naturals to connect to the consumer.  A unique approach that puts social media at the core of how the consumer identifies with the brand.   As a vlogger, I saw how consumers sharing their experiences on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook greatly impacted how brand messaging was delivered.

From our “Regal Royal Natural” theme song to our interactive social media platform, the Alikay Naturals brand has become a means of self-expression to naturalistas around the globe.  As a lifestyle brand that is committed to being more than just “skin deep” with hair & skin care products, we also offer an online Skype consultation program and online style cards.

6. What advice would you give someone who would like to start their own business?

 Invest your time wisely in research.  Industry knowledge, money and a vision are the main resources. Be passionate about your business and be willing to go the extra mile for your business. Having your own business is so different from working for someone else. There is no one to tell you when to start your day or end your day. You have to be self-disciplined, be able to set your own boundaries and have the ability to forecast what your business needs for growth. As an entrepreneur loving what you do is an important part of the dedication to your business, because you are going to work harder, wear many hats and be required to make sacrifices.

7.What's Life like for Rochelle?

When I am not traveling for scheduled speaking engagements, you can usually find me at our Fort Myers headquarters or at our Be Fabulous Salon during business hours. Balancing “mommyhood” and the demanding schedule of a CEO definitely requires me to set a schedule to ensure that my daily routine runs smoothly.  My day begins at 6:30am with meetings, staff trainings, conference calls, hundreds of emails and trade shows.  No two days are alike. While being a wife and mother are #1 priorities, a carefully planned schedule and strong team enables me to maintain the momentum needed to execute the objectives that I have set forth for the brand.  My son is my world so mommy time is a special part of my day.

8. How do you feel about people saying "Natural hair" is a trend?

 We don’t know the future.  If this is the case for a small group of individuals, that’s their prerogative.  Being one to shy away from generalities that lump people into box, my YouTube videos and workshops encourage others to think outside of the box. For many naturals it is a way of life that goes deeper than a style, a commitment to hair health, overall heath and self-love. Personally, I am so in love with my hair’s versatility and the amazing impact that going natural has on had on me embracing the natural me and I’m here to stay.

9. Will you be, or have you been working on any projects for Alikay Naturals?

What can we expect from Alikay Naturals in the near future?Going beyond conventional perceptions of beauty, I want Alikay Naturals to be an influential force sharing the appreciation of beauty and imperfections as well as the individuality that builds confidence. I will be spending the next few months on the road promoting the Alikay Naturals March 2014 launch in Target stores and Target.com; as well as motivating, empowering and enlightening through my workshops.    When I’m not traveling, I will be working on projects from our headquarters in Fort Myers, FL.  Included in those projects, is our recently launched  #AKBrandAmbassador program, composed of 22 women in key cities across the nation that share the same passion about natural hair and female empowerment. Fans of the Alikay Naturals brand for years, our Brand Ambassadors truly understand and exude our brand philosophy of beauty from the inside out.  In 2013 we were able to donate to the Children's Alopecia Project, The Foundation For Women's Cancer and the Miss Naturals Pageant & Enrichment Programs and we look forward to more collaborations for 2014.  Stay tuned in to our social media pages for more on our product label makeover!


Is there a way to find you? (BLOG, FB, INSTAGRAM,Website etc)
For more information on Alikay Naturals and to purchase products log on to www.alkaynaturals.com.  Follow @alikaynaturals on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news, trends, giveaways and product discounts



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