For businesses, there are many questions up in the air right now. In the words of our own Chiller-in-Chief, Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton, even we had to “Pivot!!” our direction to keep up with the times. To spread the positivity and help to others, Cyndi partnered with Dell and the Dell Women’s Entrepreneurship Network (DWEN) to support five small, female-lead businesses in the form of mentorship and even a Dell #XPS 13 inch laptop from Dell, because we’re #inthistogether.
Below, read our interview with one of the winning brand’s founder. Brittany Barnes founded GoodBody, a salon that celebrates texture diversity (among so much more) in Oakland, CA. Keep reading to learn more about Brittany’s foray into entrepreneurship, the importance of diversity in hair, and how a community emphasis is helping lift the brand up.
Caffeine of choice? Matcha!
Dream job as a kid? Professional B2K archivist
One thing you NEED in the morning? A hot drink
One thing you NEED to fall asleep? Nowadays…at least 10 min of meditation.
Favorite way to kill time in quarantine? Banana bread (all different ways) and Houseparty
Go-to snack? Almond crackers
One thing you wish you told your younger self? Stay present always, in all ways.
What gap in the market do you find yourself filling?
There was just an obvious need for a beautifully curated, efficient, and thoughtful space for women with deeply textured hair to experience self-care. Sure there are tons of hair salons out there. But what I envisioned was a salon that’s elevated…chic, trendy, fun but relaxing…that also had women with brown skin plastered all over the wall to let WOC know that this salon is really for them. That’s something you don’t really see.
What support did you or did you not get from loved ones? What did that teach you?
I have been so blessed to be surrounded by so much support throughout this whole process. If it wasn’t for my husband, I’m not sure I would’ve had the confidence to just go full force into entrepreneurship. My background is in journalism, mostly freelancing, which requires you to be a team of one most of the time. So this definitely wasn’t a natural fit. But the idea for GoodBody kept finding me. My husband finally said listen, “if it fails, it fails and you’ll never have to wonder what if. But it won’t fail.” And here we are.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Do I have to pick one? Lol. For me the challenges have been in all the seemingly small things, that really just have no rule book. I tend to get stuck on the preparation part of things – researching, planning what to do/say, brainstorming ideal and not so ideal outcomes. But I’ve learned as a business owner the best lessons are learned from doing. Make a plan, execute the plan, keep a tab on all the ways you screwed up and give yourself some grace because you’ve never done this before.
What’s your favorite part of working for yourself?
Making my own schedule FOR sure. It has it’s challenges but can’t imagine going back to a 9-5.
Why is it important to have a space like yours with a particular mission?
The long and short of this answer is because women of color need more beautiful spaces that were created for us and by us. This is not to say that GoodBody doesn’t welcome everyone. Because we absolutely do. But having a self-care space, where women of color feel especially seen is so important.
What sense of community do you look to foster in the space?
The goal is to foster a community that embraces and empowers texture diversity and all the beautiful, unique ways we can express ourselves through our hair. Kinks, coils, curls, zig-zags, ringlets, whatever you call your curve, however you choose to wear it – it’s yours and it’s beautiful. We also hope to really highlight hair care as self-care. It should be an experience – one that values your style, your time and your unique hair care needs.
What does hair and hair care mean to you?
To me it means many things. Some days my hair is a form of my expression. Some days it’s a symbol of my blackness. And others it’s just the thing that’s covering my scalp. I think the thing that’s always been important to me is having the space to love it all – when it feels difficult and when it feels easy, when it’s long or short, weaved up or naturally coiled. And I want my haircare experience to reflect all of that.