natural hair

my B.O.B. - Nancy's Kitchen Products

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.

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - iAmQueen

Fall is here and there’s much to do before 2018 comes to a close. Over the summer myBOB stories were reintroduced and to usher in the new season the story of Astoria Stubbs, owner of iAmQueen Hair should help motivate you to achieve anything you’ve been putting off lately.

You may have noticed Astoria’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!

Focusing her business on one of the most important features of many Black women—hair, Astoria is making a difference in how Black women style their hair, maintain their natural hair, and take pride in a feature that’s constantly under attack in society.

What was it about hair that made you want to start your business around hair care, love, and products for hair?

Honestly, I saw a need. There are so many products in the industry along with a lot of stylists that just routine clients in and out, never addressing real issues that a client might have— and, frankly, don't care. I have always been in love with hair, working in all parts of this industry from weave to hair restoration, color cutting, you name it—I have done it. As I evolved into the person I am today, I started asking myself what do I love and what do people come to me for; then how can I service a need. I noticed no one is educating clients on their hair. I thought maybe stylists don't really know either, or forgot what they learned because they become busy in the day-to-day, creating a business that can cater to both industry and consumers. Not to mention one of my nieces wrote a story about being teased for her curls. I knew we had to not only learn about our hair, but love and accept it so we can truly love ourselves.

Can you share more about how your family has influenced your business and/or entrepreneurial goals?

I get my drive and entrepreneurial spirit from my Dad. He owned one of the largest black owned charter bus businesses in Houston for over 15 years. Heck, he gave me my first job, first real check, and taught me about networking. I literally followed him everywhere during the summer from the age of 9 until I went off to college. My mom on the other hand kept us together. She made it so that I kept a balance of school, volunteer work, sports, and family time. For as long as I can remember I have traveled to Mississippi with my parents for Thanksgiving and there I learned what family really means. My grandmother, my mom’s mother, had 8 kids. Every Thanksgiving everyone piled into my Mama Hazel’s home— a small 3 bedroom, 1 bath house, and just loved on each other by passing down stories and recipes. I can go on and on about my family. I mean I'm the baby and the age gap between me and my sister is 14 years— my nieces are like my kids.

What advice would you give to other girls and women who are struggling with their natural hair or loving their hair as is?

First, I would say stop looking at everything on social media, etc. Society wants you to think your hair is "nappy" — which is just a bad word for saying it “unmanageable.” So first change the negative connotation of the word and use words like kinky or curls cause that's truly what it is texture. It starts with understanding you hair type and what works for you, but also understanding who you are as a woman so you can begin to truly love yourself. I can only love you as much as you love yourself, so understand your worth. Second, find a stylist that specializes in natural hair and is not afraid to educate you. The best thing I can do for my clients is educate them because in turn they make my job easier by maintaining their styles at home.

Tell me more about your academy—you're a licensed stylist right?

Yes I'm licensed in Texas and Mississippi for a little over 13 years now. The Academy caters to women of all diverse backgrounds. I say this all the time, "Hair is Hair. It falls on a texture scale. It does not see color." We have four courses right now and are expanding to a more digital platform as we grow. Each class is hands on and goes through different components of the hair as it relates to curls. For example, The Natural You, my most popular, starts at the beginning— learning hair texture, how hair grows, the truth about shedding, protective styles, and a hair care regime. It's designed to help new naturals or anyone that's stuck and needs a fresh start. I also teach future and current stylists continuing education; although the basics don't change, trends and hair is always evolving. I help cultivate a learning experience that brings more value to the services stylists provide and educate them on the do’s and don't’s of different hair textures. 

How do you incorporate live events into your business?

For a while all I did was live events like hair shows and expos when I was first starting out and trying to grow the brand. Now I understand my marketing strategy and learned to work smarter, not harder. I still so live events and shows though I understand that I can't be in every place at one time. At the moment a digital platform works better. As I add people to the team, which is the goal for 2019, we can be present at more shows and educate more people—or as I like to say, discover more curls!

Is there anything particular we can expect from iAmQueen during the 2018 holiday season?

We are taking this holiday season easy. Of course there will be the usual sale and maybe a hands-on class in November/December, but honestly as we move to a larger platform there are a lot of things that will roll out in 2019. January is my birth month and March is our 3-year anniversary, so look out for new classes and information coming out around that time.

What advice would you give to someone like you, who has an idea, but is scared to take the first step to launch?

Just do it! The only person stopping you is you! Do what you love and everything else will come. I have always wanted to do hair, educate people and travel the world. Is it easy? No. Have I failed? Yes, but if it was that easy everyone would do it! When it gets hard just remember you, why, and keep pushing through—the breakthrough is just on the other side. I was listening to a Will Smith video a friend sent me and one thing he said stood out— fear is a lie. He went on to explain how he went skydiving and, in that moment of being in the air, he felt the most bliss. At the point of maximum danger he felt the most fearless. Basically, on the other side of your fear is the bliss/maximum happiness you’ve been waiting for. Why let the lie of fear stop you from being your best?

If you don't feel inspired and empowered by Astoria’s story, you may need to read it again. Family, empowerment, and growth are all a part of the journey she is on with her business. As Black women we are so strong yet so vulnerable. Astoria’s story is a reminder that we before anything else we must love ourselves, as ourselves first. Proud to learn how she began her business and wishing continued success as we round off 2018!

Hueful stories for you.

my B.O.B. - Naturally Boundless

We were happy to introduce Jasmine, founder of Naturally Boundless through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At blackbox we believe it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into their stories and provide a fuller perspective with you!

From a full ride scholarship to college playing volleyball to creating her own natural haircare line, Jasmine's journey to launching Naturally Boundless was rooted in her discovery of self and being all of her true being, unapologetically.

Wow! You played volleyball on a full ride scholarship! Did you consider going pro while you were still playing?

Volleyball has been such a huge part of my life. I started playing volleyball at such a young age and it completely consumed me. I loved playing the sport, I loved being part of a team and once I started playing in college it became my identity. I was and still am very passionate about the sport. By my senior year at LMU I knew I had to make a decision regarding playing overseas or starting my career. I chose to start my career in sports TV and stay in the US. I knew that I couldn't play in the states and I wasn't ready to go overseas, so I began my journey in broadcast production. The good thing is, I live in Southern California and the transition into beach volleyball has been amazing! 

What did you dislike most about the natural haircare process that pushed you to create Naturally Boundless?

Naturally Boundless began out of frustration with my own haircare regimen. I was a major product junkie but nothing was really working. I never got the results that I wanted and I was overspending on so many different products that were allegedly 'must-haves.'  So I began to focus on products that I felt were truly needed in a regimen while also taking a good look at the ingredients being used. That started me on a path of researching natural ingredients that truly benefit your hair health!! So all in all, the most frustrating parts about the natural haircare process was an overload of products (that you don't really need) and ingredients that aren't beneficial to your hair health. 


What makes the haircare process with Naturally Boundless easier?

Naturally Boundless is all about streamlining your haircare routine. All of our products are multi-use so you're able to cut the amount of products you purchase. Most naturals need to cleanse, condition, and style so we developed products that do just that and more: 

(1) Clarifying Shampoo and Body Bar: This cleansing bar can be used as a body wash and as a Clarifying shampoo bar

(2) Sweet Mint Smoothie Conditioner: This is actually a set. It comes with an 8oz conditioner and 2 empty 4oz bottles. You basically customize your Leave in and Refresher spray by adding the conditioner and water to each bottle. So, you're buying 1 conditioner but end up getting 3 full products! 

(3) Whipped Shea Sorbet: This creamy butter is all natural and truly is a jack of all trades. It can be used to lock in moisture, style your hair, Hydrate skin and as a facial moisturizer. The list truly goes on and on for this product! 

(4) Body Glow Pumice Scrub: Our Pumice Scrub exfoliates your entire body and is gentle enough to use on your face too. This product works really well in conjunction with our soap bar for an exfoliating clean and then layered with our Whipped Shea Sorbet to seal in all-day moisture.

Any new products in the pipeline? Where do you see the business going next?

I definitely don't plan on expanding the line of products too much because I want to keep it simple. However, there are 1 or 2 products that will compete the Naturally Boundless roster in the near future!! 

Could you share some of your favorite haircare tips?

My favorite hair care tip is to get to know your hair because that'll be the most important factor in how to take care of it and how to style it! A shape or trim goes a long way!!! Felicia Leatherwood just gave me my first shape and I feel like a completely different person!! Last but not least, get your hair on a regimen! Deep condition, wash and lock in moisture! 


It was a pleasure learning more about Jasmine and her story behind Naturally Boundless. You can learn more about your haircare line here and take advantage of an exclusive 20% offer for our readers using code: NB20.

Our discovery is your discovery.