As Europe’s biggest party prepares to get underway, over one million people will be taking to the streets of West London for the Notting Hill Carnival. With some warmer weather expected this weekend, what better time to look at black hair care. Tanesha Coley is an absolute expert in the field and her company, Truly Cutesie, specialises in helping style, maintain and care for young natural hair. Going forward, Tanesha will be joining Africa Fashion as a resident blogger, but – for today – we’re going to be focusing solely on her!
We started by asking Tanesha what made her so keen to open her own business and to take an entrepreneurial path?
“I’ve been involved in professional make up and hair care for many years, but when my first daughter, Marhley, was born in 2009, I used that as a springboard to open Zoli Esthetik – which is a hair and make up artistry company”, she told us. “Things went really well and I found that my work resonated with a lot of publications. Soon I was winning Best Newcomer Awards, and in 2012 I won the Olympia Beauty Make Up Artist and Hair Stylist of the Year. We have also worked on some of London Fashion Week’s events and with multiple make up academies”.
So when did Truly Cutesie begin?
“As well as working on photo shoots for major brands, I was also doing a lot of work around TV programs and weddings”, she said. “I noticed that black children were not always getting the level of haircare that they deserved, so I launched Truly Cutesie and it has been really well received by parents and young people alike”.
So it’s a family run business ?
“Yes, very much so, at Zoli Esthetik I work with my cousin covering hair and makeup for photoshoots, weddings, fashion shows and the extension of that company is Truly Cutesie, which I run with my mum.’’
I really love that it’s a Mother and daughter team, and I’m guessing you learnt about hair from your mum?
‘’Yes! Mum is an image consultant and coach. She brings a wealth of both work and life experience to our partnership. She has run her own salon and skin care business, worked in administration & senior roles in top resorts & spas both in the UK and the Caribbean. She has beauty, a healthy lifestyle and an acute awareness of her power as a mature black woman with immense knowledge to share.”
So your focus for Truly Cutsie leans towards haircare education?
”We seek to educate parents in natural hair care with our styling demonstrations and workshops for parents who do not know, or understand, how to style, care and maintain their children’s natural hair. Our most popular workshops are – “Mummy and Me, Daddy and Me!” and “My Beauty-FULL Hair is Natural!”.
Do you cater just for children?
“Well mainly from infants to 21 but adults are welcomed too. We also offer a full service mobile hairdressing boutique for children from culturally/ethnically diverse backgrounds. We are a new concept in children’s hairdressing designed to make the experience better for both child and parent’’.
It really does sound like you take the stress out of visiting a salon, for both parent & child. I think being at home having your hair done, without all the distractions at a salon is always a better experience, especially if you have a child who doesn’t enjoy getting their hair done (how many of us did?). Depending on what styles they are having done, it really does take patients for the child to sit in that chair when it passes an hour. Equally, speaking from experience, if you’re the parent plaiting hair, gosh it can really test your patients too.
Do you specialise in any particular styles?
“Well we cover a range of services including Cornrow Braiding, Double Strand Twists, Coiled Twists, Locks, Bantu Knots and many more natural hairstyles’’.
You also do kids parties and Jewellery?
‘’Yes, girls pamper plait parties where groups of little girls can have the ultimate day in doing their nails, make-up, playing dress-up and storytelling. We also make and manufacture a creative and eclectic array of handmade jewellery, accessories including hair accessories and clothing for babies and kids that represents their unique style and taste.
You’ve set Truly Cutesie up as a Social Enterprise, can you tell us more?
‘’Truly Cutesie trades for a social purpose – all surpluses generated through the sales of our products and services are reinvested back into the business and community programs. The programs seek to address the intrepretation of self image to ensure positive messages and thoughts are encouraged to improve confidence in children and teens. We teach them how to fall madly in love with themselves and how to make integrity based decisions’’.
The women behind beauty & wellness brands Zoli Esthetik and Truly Cutesie have arrived at this point through life experiences, evolution of mindset and self affirmation of their roles and importance of beautiful, powerful black women intent on reshaping attitudes and equipping women of colour with the tools (resources) to fully express their beauty.
I am so pleased to welcome Tanesha as a resident blogger for Africa Fashion and, speaking with her about natural hair care, brought back memories of looking after my daughter’s hair and challenges we faced with self image – especially when she started secondary school. The majority of her friends having had relaxed hair, she naturally thought it was her rite of passage too, and at that time I wasn’t leading by example, as my hair was relaxed with Motions and cut into a bone straight bob. I would say I convinced/educated my daughter on why it wasn’t a good idea to follow suit, but she would say that I just told her ‘No’.
Admittedly, looking after and styling my daughter’s hair was an important, but time consuming regime, which would have been made much easier by the vast amount of information now available online.
I certainly would have liked the option of a ‘Truely Cutsie’ service!
Long before the internet exploded with YouTube hair vloggers, we often learned new techniques by finding out when our friends had scheduled ‘plating time’ for their kids. I also remember a ‘Girls world’ styling head that I played with as a child. Even though it only had European hair texture to practice on, it did kick start me into learning a variety of plaiting techniques. Here are some old time photos of my own lil’ cutesie’s hair styles #BackInTheDay.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on posts coming soon from Tanesha Coley. She is an award winning make-up artist, professional hairstylist, entrepreneur and blogger, whose love for beauty, cosmetics and her strong sense of self have led her on a path to championing a positive approach to image and hair care for women of colour.
This passion, in addition to her daughter/parents’ similar needs, led her to create ‘Truly Cutesie, Hairstyles and Natural Hair Care for Kids with a Cute IQ’ – identified by a truly cute logo.