It’s a common misconception that natural, black hair is difficult to deal with and that it’s not as versatile as straightened hair. Another false belief is that there’s only one type of black hair that’s beautiful. To stop these myths, Nyssa Cromwell founded Black Hair Spot, an online community for women of African descent that’s turning things around through encouraging all representations and expressions of black hair types and styles.
Nyssa, a graduate with honours in Computer Systems Technology, is no stranger to big dreams. The founder, who originally wanted to be a chemist, was one of only a few women in her program. Because she was having a hard time figuring out how to take care of her hair, finding information online or even a hair salon that was timely and that she could trust, Nyssa figured there were other women just like her who were looking for black hair information. So, she created a one-stop shop where they could communicate with each other, get inspiration for their hairstyles and buy styling products made for them.
The online community is comprised of a strong team filled with Canadian women of colour who have been invited to hold workshops and attend hair shows in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Aside from articles such as 9 Essential Tips for Maintaining Braids or Twists and How to Avoid a Ratchet Weave, BHS is excitedly working on adding a couple things to their website.
One of these additions is the Hair Journal, a place for black women to write the story of their hair journey. Members will be encouraged to take pictures of their hair and save them in the organization’s portal. The app will give women the opportunity to document their hair journey and inspire others on the site.
The second is the Salon Directory, an interactive listing of all the salons and stylists that service black hair. Right now this is only in Canada, but Nyssa’s goal is to go bigger in the future. “We have a goal to be the dominant online black hair community in the country within a year, after that we will start to reach out globally for sure,” says Nyssa. “[We’re] thinking to hit UK and the Caribbean first, then Africa and lastly the US. We want to be a global force for change and encouragement in the industry!” The directory will be user-generated with a rating function so that members know which salons specialize in certain hair types and styling.
So far the support for Black Hair Spot has been incredible. BHS was launched on July 1 of this year, and in just 3 and a half months it received over 4,000 visits from women across Canada. The online community also has a strong following across its social media networks, and with over 2,100 likes on Facebook in only a few months BHS is growing at a faster rate than any of its competitors.
How does Nyssa feel about this success? “Surreal. I’ve had many great ideas that have remained just that – ideas. This project is different,” she says. “It has been super gratifying to take this idea, invest in a team, launch it and continually work on building Black Hair Spot into a viable business.”
To thank their readers for their support, BHS will be doing gift basket giveaways of products and tools before Christmas! Speaking of products, the online community recently came out with T-shirts and is also working on satin pillow cases and wide-toothed combs.
“BHS is a labor of love,” says Nyssa. “We would love to meet other salons and stylists that wish to elevate the black hair care industry and who want to help educate and empower black women to KNOW, LOVE and STYLE their hair!
If you own a salon and would like access to our growing network of thousands of Canadian women, email us at email@example.com. If you’re a Canadian woman of African descent with hair knowledge you want to share, email our Managing Editor Reakash at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
For more information on Black Hair Spot, visit www.blackhairspot.com.