Presented by Her Campus x Youma’s Beauty
ICYMI, Youma Wague is one of our Aussie Business Plan winners. Youma is the founder of Youma’s Beauty, a natural hair brand empowering Women of Color and all women with curly and coily hair through quality hair products. Her personal hair journey is what inspired her to create her brand, launch products, a comprehensible Natural Hair Education Workshop and a documentary to create a beauty world that is inclusive of all hair types. Read on to learn more about Youma and how you can get involved as an intern or natural hair model.
Her Campus: What inspired you to create Youma’s Beauty?
Youma Wague: “My natural hair struggle inspired me to create Youma’s Beauty. Growing up, there was very little to no representation of my afro hair on TV so naturally, I felt my hair was ugly and unacceptable. On top of getting bullied at school for natural hairstyles, I literally hated my hair. By the time I got to high school, the first thing I did was get a chemical straightener, and blonde highlights. That plus faithfully straightening my hair each morning severely caused damage. Hair Bloom Deep Conditioning Oil is the first product I launched under Youma’s Beauty after creating and using it to restore my own hair, that was in 2016.”
HC: What is the inspiration behind your business name and branding?
YW: “The branding of Youma’s Beauty addresses natural hair discrimination. Natural hair discrimination is a form of anti Black racism on the basis of hair textures which represent Black people. Natural hair discrimination includes going for a job interview with your afro or natural curly hair and not getting that job because your hair is labeled as “unprofessional”. As a professional fashion model with natural hair, I constantly am paired with hairstylists who avoid me because they have little to no skill in styling curly and afro hair textures. This is due to the fact that beauty schools do not include proper curriculums covering natural hair, again another form of natural hair discrimination. Hair types that are straight and wavy (commonly associated with white/ non-Black people) are included in the beauty school curriculums, but natural hair is mysteriously not…
HC: Who would you say has been your support system through your entrepreneurial journey?
YW: “My support system through the ups and downs of building my brand has been Allah. Praying has helped me keep the vision alive even when at times it seemed blurry. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong but I am still here standing and my brand is continuously growing all thanks to Allah who oversees and guides me in my journey.”
HC: It’s wonderful how real women can get involved in your brand at all levels, from jobs to modeling and stylist classes. How can people get involved, now and in the future?
YW: “Currently I am looking to establish a solid team with people who have the same passion as I do, Currently accepting applications for interns! I am also reachable with any comments, ideas, or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
HC: Could you tell us a little bit about your natural hair model casting process?
YW: “We are currently accepting applications for women and men with natural hair interested in becoming a natural hair model. No experience is necessary. You can apply now to enjoy the soon-to-come perks: casting notices, complimentary natural hair products, access to fashion and beauty shows + more to come soon!”
HC: Could you share a little about the classes you’ve developed?
YW: “We’ve introduced a new service called “Youma’s Natural Hair Workshop” to address the lack of Natural Hair education amongst hairstylists with comprehensible Natural Hair education courses. We hosted the first Youma’s Natural Hair Workshop on July 21st 2019 at Okay Africa and the positive feedback from the crowd was unforgettable. One of the proudest moments of my life thus far.”
HC: We heard you’ve been working on a documentary, could you share a little about this? When is it launching?
YW: “The documentary film I executive produced is about Natural Hair and Fashion. The film will be available on major streaming services very soon!”