“To change the narrative, one curl at a time,” the mission behind Rochelle Hamilton’s natural hair care brand, My Mane. Rochelle’s drive to make a big difference for black women in the beauty industry is just one of her goals, with a serial entrepreneurial mindset Rochelle is powered by her ability to problem solve and find ways to help others.

Aiming to create a platform to empower women, My Mane urges women to embrace their natural crowns, through nurturing, protection and growth of healthy afro hair. The key? To be the representation we need for ourselves, one that the younger generation will be proud of, be able to learn from and understand we are Queens and do not need external validation.

Rochelle, heavily inspired by her own experiences created My Mane to be a platform and brand that she once needed growing up as a young black woman in a westernised world, where the definition of ‘beauty’ didn’t resemble the image she saw in the mirror.

We spoke to Rochelle to get a glimpse at some valuable entrepreneurial skills and see her top tips for building a brand.

1. What drives you as an entrepreneur and how do you find inspiration?

I love what I do. The satisfaction of doing something great and having the ability not just to recognise a problem but create a solution for others drives me as an entrepreneur.

My real-life experiences inspired the creation of My Mane. My customer is me, so I can understand what it is I want and how I want to feel after experiencing the brand. I want to be proud and say that the brand’s positive factor is that the inspiration behind the products and branding is very organic and solely concentrated on genuinely fulfilling our customers’ needs.

2. What 3 things do you think is important to keep in mind when building a brand?

• Establishing and sharing a good brand story
• Brand image. Ensuring your aesthetics and image of the business remains in line with your brand ethos
• Providing Quality products or service that fulfil your customer needs

3. What advice do you have for people about time management and avoiding being burnt out?

Plan, plan, plan. As an entrepreneur, you are likely wearing several hats within the business, resulting in 101 ideas and actions in your head at the same time. Once you have a plan, you can then prioritise activities and set timeframes to work towards.

There will be moments when things may get on top despite all the planning and time management, and something throws a spanner in the works. It is always good to remember when you begin to physically or mentally deteriorate that you need to pause! Putting things on pause and taking a break is vital and OK! If you aren’t good within yourself, you won’t be good for your business or anyone else.

4. How does it feel to see more brands like, My Mane, for curly-haired women emerging?

I love it and will continue to cheer them on! I created the brand to provide a solution to a problem within an underserved industry. Whether the other brands were inspired by My Mane or not, they are essentially helping me and others to close the gap and provide needed solutions. We are in this together.

5. How has being part of Black In Carnaby helped you and your brand?

Black in Carnaby was the first physical retail presence for My Mane, and it has allowed customers to see our products before purchase and interact with the brand. The modern-day online retail experience is perfect for convenience, but the appreciation for a brick and mortar shopping experience will always be a great asset for a brand. The above is all in addition to the fact that Black in Carnaby is a phenomenal initiative and a privilege to be a part of, I will always be grateful for the opportunity.

6. What has the growth in your companies taught you?

It has taught me not to be afraid of making mistakes. The majority of lessons learnt along my journey have been off the back of making a mistake. The growth in my company has also taught me to have patience and faith in God. Not getting caught up on the “overnight success” stories you see online, learning to enjoy my journey and understanding the importance of working on being READY. Ready for opportunities and situations that may arise to help My Mane grow from strength to strength.

7. What is the biggest piece of advice you would give to young entrepreneurs?

START. Remember, everything started as nothing and what better way to predict your future, than to create it.

8. What are your goals for the rest of the year?

My main goal for the rest of the year is to grow the My Mane brand to become an international household name and a go-to brand for all things healthy hair. To continue to fulfil our customers’ needs, creating and providing luxury, high-quality products and building a safe community.