In 59 days it will be 2019. Can’t believe how quickly this year feels like it has rolled by. To start off November’s #myBOBstory series with Nancy’s Kitchen Products feels right considering the increased focus around family during these last months of the year. Our myBOB stories continue with Donna Jenay, owner and creator of Nancy’s Kitchen Products. With a beautiful homage paid toward a matriarch of her family, Donna gives women who want to protect and maintain #teamnatural more options to do so.
You may have noticed Donna’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through this blog, Black business owners share their background, trials and tribulations, and the moment it all came together with you!
Growing up for many Black women involved having their hair done at home — whether in the kitchen, living room, or bathroom; any space at home could be turned into the salon for that day. It’s this tradition, or rite of passage if you will, that inspired Donna to bring her hair care products to market.
With an industry filled with large corporations and small business players, why did you decide to start your business in hair care?
Because we have been told that our hair is less than presentable. Black women have historically gone to great lengths to style and “fix” their hair to better fit into a society that idolizes Eurocentric beauty standards. When the natural hair movement started, the hair care industry that was profiting so heavily on our insecurities found themselves having to instead affirm our beauty and they did so at a very slow pace. Products geared toward our hair in its natural state were scarce! I saw an opening and I went for it.
You mentioned Nancy's Kitchen Products pays homage to your grandmother, Nancy. What were nuggets of wisdom your grandmother shared with you/your family?
My grandmother was very big on decency and order. Things should be a certain way and they should be presented a certain way that is tactful, respectful and respected. She was a straight shooter and I think without having to so much sit us down and teach us that step by step, we all have that in us thanks to her.
What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling to find where they fit in in the world?
Go within and trust what you hear. I think often times we seek advice and inspiration on who and how we should behave, feel, think and live from outside sources when really everything you need to know can be found from going within. Speaking more actionably, I recommend meditation and healthy doses of alone time and trying new things. Learning more about yourself will allow you to trust the voice that comes from within and consequently be more sure in who you are and what your purpose is.
As a mom, what is your take on the idea that women can't have both a career and a family life?
I think that women are powerful enough to do whatever it is their spirit is aligned to do. If a woman wants to focus solely on her family, she is strong enough to do that. If she wants to focus solely on her career, she is strong enough to do that. And if both? Then that too.
Which of your haircare products is most popular, and why do you think that is?
It’s a tie between the Silk Buttercream Hair Growth Oil and the Silk Buttercream Curl Custard. In my opinion, these two are staple products for naturals. Every Naturalista needs a good cream product and a good oil...and it doesn’t hurt that they’re high quality and smell like cake!
Is there anything particular we can expect from Nancy's Kitchen Products during the 2018 holiday season?
There may be some special steals and deals during the holiday season...👀 You should sign up for our marketing list to stay in the loop!
What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?
In the words of J. Cole, “Wanna know a funny thing about this sh*t? Even if you let em' kill your dream. It'll haunt you…”
Donna’s story makes you wonder what can you bring to market with an idea or concept you’ve been wanting to try. There is no time like now to push yourself outside of a comfort zone and take a risk with your business idea.