Photo Credit: Be Kekoa
This month is all about the #GirlBosses that inspire me. Up next is Brandie Kekoa of Be Kekoa.
Brandie Kekoa is a Healthy Hair Artist and the founder of Be Kekoa Hair Studio, and she is a 3rd generation hair care professional. Brandie has years of professional experience and continually educating herself on industry changes. Brandie is very passionate about her company’s mission to empower women to exude pride and confidence in their naturally curly hair. She focuses on bringing out each client’s natural beauty. Brandie and her company Be Kekoa are also developing fair trade products, as well as offering education and services with this mission at its core. I got a chance to interview Brandie and asked her a few questions.
Why did you start Be Kekoa?
Brandie: “I am a third generation stylist. I was drawn to the profession because of the creativity that’s involved. I love changing people’s attitudes with a simple hair cut or a new style. It’s therapeutic in many ways when you look in the mirror, and you like the image that’s staring back at you. After starting my natural hair journey, I became very frustrated as I was unable to find styling products to enhance my textured hair. It seemed like everything I tried worked well for one thing but disagreed with something else. That frustration was channeled into action when I started researching healthy hair ingredients. Through trial and error, I began mixing products to make simple things such as souffle, experimenting on my daughter, myself and a few loyal clients. Recognizing that my experience was the same as millions of other textured hair women, I decided to invest the needed time and money in developing the product line into what it is today.”
What makes Be Kekoa unique?
Brandie: “Be Kekoa is unique in the fact that we give back. We share a very special relationship with the island of Huahine, Tahiti where our signature product Be Kekoa Tamanu Oil is made. I have been granted the first and only exclusive distribution agreement to supply Tamanu Oil to the world. By engaging in fair trade practices with the farmers, we allow them to be able to afford commodities such as food, shelter, and electricity things which we take for granted. I believe that supporting their business and allowing them to live with dignity is the right approach. Too often companies go into developing countries and exploit them for their time, work and resources without adequate compensation. In addition to investing in the farmers, I work in conjunction with a Tahitian owned company that works directly with the people. I believe that by telling the story of my special connection to the people of Huahine, this encourages others to want to visit this untouched paradise. Tourism always means revenue to the airlines, hotels, vendor and so much more. We take our visitors on a tour of the Tamanu Farm, so they get an intimate look at the authentic way in which the oil is made. Another thing that makes Be Kekoa special is our mentality that there is enough out there for everyone. The natural hair industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, and I treat everyone with whom I come into contact, with that kind of respect. I make alliances with influencers as it benefits us mutually. I turn my fellow stylists on to things which I think would benefit them, rather than craving it all to myself and my company. I prefer to build people up rather than tear them down. Looking out for each other and collaborating for the greater good is the way to go. I’ve seen impressive growth in the Be Kekoa brand by using this approach.”
What is your favorite product from your hair care line and why?
Brandie: “I simply love our sun- dried, hand- pressed Tamanu Oil and Essential Tamanu Blends. This Tamanu Oil is my baby. It’s a healing oil that is 100% organic and packed with vitamins A and E and omegas 3,6, and 9. This anti- oxidant rich oil benefits the hair and skin. It has been used for centuries by the Tahitian people in treating a myriad of skin conditions ranging from eczema and psoriasis to dermatitis. It also reduces scars and stretchmarks, has a natural SPF of 30 and is used as a natural sun block. The Tahitian people rub the heads of their babies with Tamanu Oil to encourage hair growth. Our clients have seen tremendous improvements in their thinning and balding areas when this oil is massaged into the scalp on a consistent basis. Ladies with damaged edges brought on from the excessive wig and weave wearing have been using and loving the product as it gives them a second chance at having full beautiful hair.”
We love the fact that you are a stylist who specializes in healthy hair care. How do you connect with your clients? What is your favorite part about being a hair stylist?
Brandie: “I think I connect best with my clients by being real with them. I’m a healthy hair stylist before anything else. I’m not going to follow a fad and cause damage to your hair in the process. Now that said, I love the fun stuff that we can do with our craft, but it should never detract from the health of your hair at any cost. Don’t expect to have thriving, beautiful hair if you won’t invest your time in doing healthy things which will foster growth and repair. I believe in getting ends trimmed regularly and receiving hydration treatments to add that much-needed moisture which we textured girls sometimes struggle to maintain. I emphasize the fact that the foods which we ingest daily and the products which we choose to put on our hair have a direct relationship to the health of our hair. I discourage coloring if hair is unhealthy and have lots of unhappy campers when I refuse to administer a color on damaged hair. It’s easier for me this way than to knowingly cause damage to someone who trusts me to help them make the right decisions for their hair care needs. I love the transformation of one’s mood and that extra bounce which every last client gets when they feel good about the service they just received in my salon. By service I mean, the mood they experienced from the time they step into the door (I want you to relax and feel like you’re at an old friend’s house) to value of the service, to finally the finished product. If I do my job correctly, I can uplift your spirit on any given day.”
Brandie, Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story with Happily Ever Natural.
Read all about the Be Kekoa Tamanu Oil.
This post was sponsored by Be Kekoa. Thoughts and opinions are my own.