“Shop Small” is a series where we speak to founders of small businesses discussing how their products and services address the needs of the members of the communities in which the founders identify.
Hair discrimination has been around for longer than most people know, and unfortunately, it’s still happening today. That’s why Dominican American stylist Sherly Tavarez created Hause of Curls, a hair care brand on a mission to change how people feel about their natural hair.
“I started Hause of Curls 2 years ago because I honestly just didn’t see enough representation and I didn’t find anything merchandise-wise that really told my story in very few words,” Tavarez says.
Tavarez explains that she simply woke up one day and decided to make a T-shirt with the words “pelo malo, where?” Translated, “pelo malo” means “bad hair” in Spanish, a phrase Tavarez often heard while growing up.
“Growing up in a Latino household, you always had to go to the hair salon every single weekend,” Tavarez explains. “You’d get your hair straightened because if your hair wasn’t straightened, your hair wasn’t beautiful.”
Hause of Curls was born to flip the script on the negativity. When Tavarez first start her the company, she didn’t even have a website to sell her curl-empowering products. Instead, she went the modern route and took orders via DM on social media, emails and even text messages.
Shop: “Afro-Latina Y Tu?” T-shirt, $30
“It literally just came to my head and I was like ‘I’m going to make one T-shirt, that’s going to be it,’” she says. “But to my dismay, we had 179 pre orders of our very first T-shirt, and it was mind-blowing to me.”
“Our main mission is to encourage everyone to embrace their natural hair,” Tavarez says. “Women go through it, men go through it, kids go through it, and it’s hard to envision yourself the way you were meant to be when you have so many different people and media telling you the way you’re supposed to look.”
Take a peek at some of Hause of Curls curl-friendly products below.
Shop: Hause of Curls Coral Collapsible Diffuser, $16.50
Shop: Silk Hair Ties 3-Piece Set Greens, $4.99
Shop: Pelo Malo Where Rhinestone Bobby Pin Bundle, $35
If you liked this story, check out this air force veteran who turned her grandfather’s secret sauce into a booming business.
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