A Conversation with Entrepreneur Yetunde Jude, Creating Hair Products that are Conversation Worthy!
Q: Share with us the story behind the book you authored titled The Black Hair Revolution?
YJ: I started my natural hair journey in college. That was a time when products or knowledge for natural hair were not easily accessible. So, we, women with natural hair, would stop each other on the streets and ask questions. At the time it seemed that more and more women were stopping me and asking me what to me was basic information about natural hair care. It was during that time that I had an ahh ha moment. I decided to write a book, sharing my knowledge about natural hair care as a contribution to black women.
Q: Tell us how your company Archer Place Global, LLC has evolved since its inception.
YJ: I never planned on making hair care products. I thought that the recipes in my book would satisfy black women who wanted to have healthy hair. Shortly after I put the book out, I got a patent on my hair comb. I interviewed a number of women to see if they were interested in buying the comb and I kept hear complaints about the results these women were getting from the “natural” products that were in the stores. It was at moment when I decided that there was a void in the market, and I wanted to do something further to make natural hair care easier for black women. That day, Yelani All Natural Collection was created.
Q: At the start of your career, what do you wish you had known?
YJ: How much of an investment, both time and money, and sacrifice it would take to pull this product line together.
Q: What was your first job? And how did it shape or impact you?
YJ: My first job was as a Marketing Assistant at a Marketing Firm. I learned so much from that job … it taught me the marketing lingo. I learned about marketing collateral and how it is important to a brand. I also learned about celebrating your failures. I remember sitting down with the owner of the firm and explaining how a business venture of mine was failing. I was constantly getting rejection letters from major corporations such Exxon and Coca Cola. She said that the fact that they took the time to write me back was a big deal. Ms. Chris Coleman told me keep the letters so that can have something to look back at. I still have those letters to this very day.
Q: Please share with our audience some of your hair products along with the need to develop them.
YJ: Our most popular products are the suds-free Moisture Blast Conditioning Shampoo, our Leave in Conditioner and our HiDry Shower Cap. Our shampoos are suds free because I wanted to make sure that they were free from chemicals and toxins. The Hi Dry Shower Cap protects hair from humidity, which ultimately prevents hair from becoming frizzy during hot showers and baths.
Q: What are some of the issue’s women have with their hair?
YJ: Dryness, breakage and stunted growth are the main issues women deal with on a daily basis. Every product in my line are designed to address those issues.
Q: Tell us bout your latest product release … the Hi Dry® Shower Cap?
YJ: The Hi Dry® Shower Cap is a patent pending shower cap that protects hair from humidity. After straightening or curling their hair, there is a level of anxiety women feel when faced with bathing. You have a fear of your hair becoming frizzy or your curls falling when taking a hot shower or bath. The Hi Dry® Shower Cap prevents your hair from becoming frizzy and allows customers to shower worry free.
Q: Where do you see your company five years from now?
YJ: I would love to be able to help as many people as possible so five years from now I see Yelani becoming a household name.
Q: Can you tell our audience one of your most memorable moments your career?
YJ: I remember the first time I met a mother and daughter duo who actually read my book and made the hair care recipes in the book. The mom was in tears telling me how when she lost her job, she was still able to take care of her daughter’s hair with ingredients that could be found in the kitchen. I was left speechless. I prayed that my book would reach people who needed the information. I was very thankful to hear that.
Q: What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success?
YJ: I can be very persistent at times. When I start something, I like to see it through to the end. This path of entrepreneurism is not easy. It can be grueling at times. There were plenty of times when I wanted to give up but couldn’t.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
YJ: My mother has been very inspirational in my life. I find myself remembering how she would make hand made goods and sell them to our friends and family to help care for us. She made prayer caps, potholders, clothes... She was the first person to introduce me to the idea of becoming an entrepreneur. I remember selling fuzzy balls with faces for 50 cents when I was about 6 or 7. I sold out. Great times.
Five Things About Yetunde Jude
1.If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Sara Blakely the creator of Spanx. I would like to know her story beyond Spanx regarding finances and philanthropy.
2. How do you release stress?
Working out- I put my headset on and get on the treadmill or elliptical machine. When I have time, I work out at Fit Squad Studios with my friend Moses (yes this is a plug, but he is a beast of a trainer).
3. Favorite TV Show?
I like many of the reality shows. They get a bad rap for a very good reason, but those women are true entrepreneurs.
4. If they made a movie of your life, who’d play you?
Kerri Washington – only because people say we look alike, and she is pretty dope.
5. What simple pleasure makes you happy?
Hanging out with my kids makes me very happy.