Mielle Organics products, including its Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening oil, are a regular part of hair care in my household. But the Black-owned line recently became the subject of controversy after a white TikTok creator bragged about how great it was for her hair.
Notably, a pinned post on the brand’s Instagram page notes that Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening oil is perfect for all hair types.
Reacting to the viral video, many Black women urged Becky and crew to leave their hair care products alone. Some may ask why the “drama?” But there are genuine concerns from Black consumers about Black brands chasing white dollars.
As Cassius noted in earlier reporting, similar concerns were raised Shea Moisture tried to make its product more appealing to white consumers. But a New Year’s Day post from founder and CEO Michelle Rodriquez made sure loyal consumers knew that she had no intentions of changing the line or marketing.
We’ve been together on this ride for awhile, so you know that my journey with Mielle started from a place of creating the product I wasn’t finding in the marketplace. We remain forever committed to developing quality, efficacious products that address the need states for our customers’ hair types! “ sincerely Queen of Hair
An article in Glamour recently named Mielle Organic’s Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Masque one of the best for natural hair. Whose hair is natural hair is another conversation that has grabbed the internets attention in recent years.
Even if white consumers find value in Black products, that sudden discovery shouldn’t shift the value and service provided to Black people. And Mielle Organics definitely seems to understand the value of being loyal to its base.
The story also highlights the challenges facing the owners of Black brands. Rodriguez has spoken candidly about the challenges to getting her brand off the ground. With the support of her husband and depleting her personal savings, Rodriguez was able to get her brand into Sally’s across the country.
During an interview with CNBC, the 39-year-old founder and CEO talked about how she turned tragedy into triumph after the loss of her son after a high-risk pregnancy in 2013. She launched Mielle Organics in 2014.
It took Rodriquez eight years before getting her first major funding. And she retains majority ownership and decision-making in her brand, a key to keeping it authentic.
“Being a Black woman starting a company, the banks don’t believe in you. You haven’t proved yourself so investors don’t really believe in you [either],” she told CNBC Make It. “You already have two strikes against you: You’re Black, and you’re a woman. That’s just the reality, especially when I started [my business] eight years ago.”
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