Hello to the world wide web! My name is Alyssa. I am a millennial who has finally taken the plunge into the world of being an entrepreneur. Hair has been a BIG pain point of my life and it has inspired me to ensure this is not the case for the future Curli Beautis!
As a “dougla” who grew up with my mom’s side of the family, I stood out significantly. She saw my hair as “unmanageable” and kept it cut short in what would be now known as a TWA (Teeny Weenie Afro). My dad’s side of the family often recounts a story when I was younger. It was a family get together and I playing with my male cousins, all of us are around the same age. When it was time to leave, we went to put our shoes back on to go home. It was only then they realised I was a girl when they saw my sandals.
The embarrassment and shame around my hair also echoed from my mother’s side of the family. Extended family members would always refer to my hair as “nugsy”, referring to it being tangled and curly. They would also make statements about my hair “breaking combs” because it was so “difficult to manage”. There were a lot of comparisons made between myself and other cousins who did not have hair like mine. This lead to feelings of being less than, and extremely self-conscious of my hair and appearance.
My mom barely used hair products, because she didn’t really have to. And unfortunately, because of her lack of knowledge on dealing with curly hair, I suffered immensely. When I got to high school, I learned a bit more about hair care from my classmates. At that time, popular product choices were laced with mineral oil etc but using something was better than nothing. My hair did manage to grow over the years, but wash days were always a hassle. I was conditioned into focusing on shampooing the hair to get it clean and not spending enough time replenishing the hair with proper hydrating treatments. So my hair was SEVERELY dry.
Form 5 grad rolled around and I made an appointment at a salon to get my hair styled. When I got there and told them what I wanted, basically barrel curls, I was met with total disappointment. The hairdresser said that the style would entail her taking hours to heat style my hair for it to “puff up” as soon as I left the salon and it “would not make any sense”. I was in LITERAL TEARS. The only solution she provided was that I chemically “texturise” my hair so she would be able to style it afterwards. She suggested she talk to my mom on the phone to get her permission for the chemical service. My mom agreed to it and it was done. I can’t even remember if she gave me any aftercare recommendations or an appointment for a future service. She most likely did not.
Do you know what’s worse than not being properly equipped to take care of natural hair? Not being properly equipped to take care of chemically processed hair. Things that I could get away with my more resilient natural hair were no more with weak, relaxed strands. My hair’s length, volume and density slowly depleted over time. And after 3 years, I cut off the dead ends and started fresh with chin-length hair. By this time, the natural hair movement was becoming more prominent. There was more information available online. You could make more informed product choices from what you had available. It was not perfect, but as a young adult, it helped me dig inside myself and find “me” all over again.
I registered my company in late 2019 but I did not really give it as much attention as it needed initially. When March 2020 rolled around, Trinidad and Tobago and by extension the world came to a grinding halt due to Covid-19. For once, it seemed like I was finally able to think. To quiet my mind from all the noise of the hustle and bustle of daily life and the routine we often get ourselves wrapped up in. I really began putting into perspective what I wanted for myself, my life, my company, my brand, my livelihood, my future.
The gears started turning and things started moving in the right direction. Just like a plant needs sunlight, water and pruning, ALMT Group Limited was being shaped into what I had envisioned it to be from the start. The concept, the vision, the calling. Making my ideas a reality. Settling on-brand imagery, product line up and sampling, product photography, content creation, registering for Cosmetology School, settling paperwork with Legal Affairs and Banks for legitimacy etc. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that one income is not enough. No one is coming to save you, you have to be your own hero. And ALMT Group Limited is my saving grace. Focusing my time and energy on positivity and things that will bear fruit. Becoming re-centred and taking being an entrepreneur seriously.
LABOUR OF LOVE
I want to create a space, a lifestyle brand, a movement where every person of colour feels included. Where you are beautiful, you are important, you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings, your point of view is valid, you are welcome and you are accepted. I do not want anyone looking in the mirror and detesting their reflection. We all have bad days yes, but we should grow to love the skin we are in or take the necessary steps to improve our feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. We are not in competition with one another but we can draw inspiration from each other. Striving to be a better YOU than you were yesterday should be your main focus.
I hope to change lives through more than just hair care and self-love someday. But this is where I am going to begin this journey as an entrepreneur. I hope you are along for the ride!