Since founding NaturallyCurly 15 years ago, I’ve noticed some unique things about the curl market.
It was largely ignored until recently, despite a world where more than 60 percent of the population has curls, coils and waves.
It exists primarily because of the grass-roots efforts of a small but growing number of passionate entrepreneurs who have worked to fill the voids they see.
The latest example of this ingenuity is Curly Hair Artistry, a 1-year-old group of curl experts who have banded together to provide education and support to other stylists who have made waves, curls and coils their niche.
“We as hairstylists have come to realize that curly hair should not be treated the way we are taught in cosmetology schools across the globe,” said Scott Musgrave, a curl specialist in Cary, N.C. with 3b ringlets himself. “A simple fact emerges – wavy, curly and multi-textural hair is not treated with respect for what I is but is treated as something to fix.”
Musgrave said he was working on some unique business models with his own and started receiving questions from other stylists about how he was doing what he was doing. He began working with a small group of stylists, and decided to pull together a group of the best curl stylists in the industry – a group that could help each other in this specialized niche.
Curly Hair Artistry was born. The original 20 has grown to more than 85, hailing from all over the globe. Their gathering place is their own gathering place.
“We at Curly Hair Artistry make the art, methods, techniques and the business of working with curly hair a priority,” Musgrave says. “We can influence not only the artists working with curly hair, but more importantly the more than 65 percent of the population who has some form of wave, curl or multi-textural hair who sits in our chairs every day.”
“It’s a natural draw – a passion that creates connections. You see, we are a rare breed and require certain attributes that need nurturing and vision to draw out and improve.”
Dianne Nola of Nola Studio in San Francisco is an enthusiastic member of Curly Hair Artistry, and traveled to the first training symposium in October in Atlanta, where 30 stylists gathered to train with Lorraine Massey, one of the founders of Devacurl.
The members provide each other with the unvarnished truth. Common topics include new product discoveries, the most effective cocktails and the nuances of cutting and coloring curls. They have discussed the cheapest place to buy microfiber towels as well as the most comfortable shoes to wear when you’re doing a 2-hour curly dry cut. They often share stories about difficult clients and business challenges. Stylists post before and after photos, showcasing styles they’re especially proud of.
She said it’s a very supportive community, where the goal is to help each other grow their businesses. They often refer clients to each other.
“It’s completely empowering,” Nola says. “My eyes just keep opening.”
The sky’s the limit for Curly Hair Artistry. Training sessions are coming up in Washington D.C. in May as well as Los Angeles in October. There’s even the possibility of creating a Curl Academy one day where stylists from around the globe could come to learn about latest cutting and coloring techniques for curls, coils and waves.
For me personally, it’s shocking that in 2014 beauty schools don’t address texture in their curriculum, and this isn’t likely to change dramatically in the near future. Most discussions about texture focus on how to chemically straighten it.
I was thrilled to hear about Curly Hair Artistry, which is filling a void.
“Beauty schools may teach about it, but antiquated requirements make it difficult to take the necessary time to really understand all the different curl types, porority, chimstry and what makes curly hair do what it does,” he ssays. “I believe it should be pursued after school, because you can’t make someone like working with something they don’t care about. Not every stylist cares about wavy, curly and multi-textural hair.”
Musgrave’s own obsession began with the corkscrews on his own head, and his frustration with an industry that “mistreats and misinforms those with curly hair.”
While working as a stylist, he read “Curly Girl: The Handbook” by Lorraine Massey.
“Ever since then, I started tweaking my cuts, doing things differently than other stylists,” he said. “It was working. I developed a service experience that changed the way a client is treated and gave them the best information to help them embrace their hair even more.”
For more information on curly hair stylists, check out our website CurlStylist.