Avoiding Corporate Buyout For The Culture
Corporate buyouts are making black consumers nervous as beloved brands are getting cashed in. Mielle Organics, Carol’s Daughter, and other black-owned brand buyouts are making people of color nervous about the quality of the products. Black-owned products are typically made with people of color in mind. Historically, melanated skin, hair, and health have been overlooked for too long. Products created and owned by people of color typically keep the unique beauty issues that the community faces in mind.
The decade old Georgia based company, Fro Butter, is an example of a company committed to keeping the brand black owned and operated during the 2023 expansion. While having to slow down the manufacturing of the products due to the pandemic, operations are now back in full motion after almost three years.
Being a black woman-owned and LGBTQIA+-owned business, the founder notes the importance of pushing forward for the community despite adversity.
THE FACE BEHIND THE BRAND
At 25 years old, CEO & Founder of Fro Butter, Susana Walas started braiding hair to make ends meet for her and her four children amid a divorce. During her time behind the chair, she recalls identifying a hair breakage cause firsthand, stating, “I discovered that many of my clients suffered from major hair concerns as a result of toxic hair products.“
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, the Jamaican-born businesswoman learned lessons on the medicinal benefits of using natural herbs and oils from her grandmother. These teachings inspired the ingredients behind the haircare line and her first product, ‘Fro Butter’.
10 YEARS OF SUCCESS AND TRIALS
Many products on the market targeted at the Black community have often resulted in class action suits due to harsh chemical use. There are also many complaints regarding the mistrust of companies that start off black-owned but earn non-black investors that often force the brand to incorporate harsh chemicals to get up to federal standards. The federal standards often do not take regard to what is best for black bodies. This can either be due to miseducation or dismissal of the facts.
Until changes occur at a federal level to acknowledge that certain ingredients can not be included in products made for melanated skin or hair types, it is important to acknowledge companies that have products safe to use for black hair and scalps.
Since opening in 2013, the brand has expanded to over 25 different products that are beneficial for textured hair and melanated skin. Fro Butter is determined to keep melanated skin and health in mind. The brand being independently owned with no investors, allows the company to tailor its products based on what Susana Walas knows is best for the community she serves.
A DECADE OF BLACK HAIR LOVE
Fro Butter is one of the original 2010 brands that helped women of color embrace the natural hair movement. No one makes it to the 10-year milestone without trials.
Like many business owners, Walas experienced a shift in the pandemic, causing Fro Butter to scale down and almost shut down. Walas states, “I had to look at the brand in a different light during that time. If we were to close, it would be one less company advocating for healthy hair and skin for people of color. Black hair is no longer an enigma, but there are too many companies seeking to capitalize without understanding the science behind black assets.”
The science that the Fro Butter founder relates to is about how black skin, hair, and scalp react to natural or man-made ingredients. On a surface level, this can be the difference between a lack of moisture and being properly moisturized. In depth, this can be the difference between health and sickness.
The company’s decision to move the brand forward by any means necessary allowed them to make a comeback in 2022.
Fro Butter has expanded its reach online by making products from the brand available with online retailers. Beyond Walmart.com, the company hosts a store on Amazon. If you are searching for hair butter on the platform, Fro Butter is listed as Amazon’s choice for “fro butter” after the well received ratings.The company has also re-opened their wholesale option for retailers.
A SPACE FOR BLACK INFLUENCERS
Over the last ten years, Fro Butter has been more than a company providing hair care products. Many black women and men have been left out of the mainstream influencing spaces. Companies like Fro Butter have provided an avenue for men, women, and children of color to exercise their influence.
Hoping to become the stepping stone for future Tabitha Brown’s and Zendaya’s of the world, the company announces plans to revive the affiliate program starting in early 2023. “We want to show the world how beautiful black hair can be without risking our health. Despite our name, the products can be used on all textured hair. It’s our mission to find every curl and scalp type to inspire more people to embrace their natural state.“
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