As a Black woman going to the hair salon is a part of self-care. Whether you go once a week, month or year, it is an experience that has probably been ingrained into your routine since a child.
For Natanya Montgomery, the first time she remembers visiting the hair salon was at seven-years-old and according to TechCrunch, she’s been going once a month for 18 years. Now, she’s the founder and CEO of Naza Beauty, what Megan Rose Dickey referred to as a “Drybar but for women of color.”
The salon — which recently secured $1 million in funding backed by Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital — offers 25 variations of five different protective styles including crotchet, sew-ins, twists, blowouts, and braids. Although the salon does not offer any coloring services, chemical treatments or hair cuts, they do promise to have you out of the chair in either four hours or less.
“More and more people are seeing that these styles are valid, real and beautiful,” she said. “A lot of times women with textured hairs are made to feel ashamed when they go into the salon setting or even out into the world. We’re creating community around valuing coily, kinky and afro hair.”
The Initialized Capital-backed startup’s software serves as a booking and payments platform and makes product recommendations based on learning the customer’s style.
“We are reimagining the end-to-end beauty experience for black and brown women starting at the salon,” Montgomery told TechCrunch.
While Naza Beauty also makes products specifically with people who have kinky, coily, and afro hair textures in mind, according to TechCrunch, up to 10,000 people can participate in the idea phase and testing phase of developing those products. Participants who join Naza Labs will be able to help hands-on by testing and reviewing products.
“We center this type of hair in a world where our hair is usually an afterthought,” Montgomery told TechCrunch. “For people with self-proclaimed difficult hair, a lot of products that come out for everyone ignores people at the tightest end of the texture spectrum.”
Montgomery will be opening her first location in San Francisco, CA, a place that — although it may not seem — has a “history of blackness.”
“It was really important for me to make space for blackness in San Francisco again,” the founder told TechCrunch. “Also, the black women who are here are really looking for a solution to this problem.”
As more and more states implement bills to eliminate the discrimination of Black hairstyles, we wish startups like Naza Beauty the best of luck at effectively solving the problem as well.