Hairitage is a welcome addition to the world of natural hair care and the polar opposite to the usual stores that offer hair products for black women.
As you enter the store, based in North-West London, there is definitely a welcoming environment and you are likely to be greeted by the owners, Jo Ferage and Catia Pinto. Two young ladies who saw a huge gap in the market and are passionate about helping women with afro or curly hair to embrace their natural texture.
It’s no secret that the black hair care industry rakes in billions each year and it can be an overwhelming experience when walking through the aisles of a “traditional” hair store that would offer an extensive number of brands. It is also apparent that most of these store owners have no knowledge of how to care for afro-textured hair and therefore it’s very likely they would not be able to advise on which products to add to your hair maintenance or styling routine.
Hairitage is NOT one of those stores.
Jo and Catia have been very specific about the products they offer and stock brands they have personally tried, tested and believe in.
At the time of this interview, Hairitage had officially opened its doors as a new business a few weeks prior and Jo and Catia were gracious to let me chat with them about their journey in bringing a new format of hair store to life.
When asked what their motivation was to open a hair care store, they shared different perspectives, but with the same frustration based on lack of representation. For Catia, she felt there was very little representation for her hair type in the retail sector and was not happy with the lack of advice available whenever she shopped at traditional hair stores. This meant she had to do much of her own product research.
Jo had previously worked in the PR industry, promoting well-known hair care brands to be featured in magazines like Elle and Vogue, however, these products were not designed for her hair type. This meant, like Catia, she had to do her own research on what products to use on her own hair.
On realising this lack of representation, the cousins came together and began building the Hairitage brand.
Initially, the ladies, considered whether to make Hairitage an online store, but Jo felt passionate that she wanted to offer a service where she could educate their customers about natural hair care, and so they decided a physical store would be the best way forward. They also agreed they wanted a welcoming environment and the store layout features authentic African ornaments and plants which helps them to tick that box.
What is also apparent is that some of the products are not the usual big brands you will find in the regular hair stores. The ladies of Hairitage stock hair care products by women of colour. YAASSSS!
Like any new small business, there have been some challenges and Catia shared that one of them is changing people’s mindsets. People are not used to a hair store with only a few brands, so they sometimes have to emphasise the specific products they stock are brands they know work on curly/coily hair.
Another added bonus to their service offer is they are able to advise their customers on how to treat and care for their hair, based purely on their own experience and research from caring for their own curls. They have even held hair care workshops at the store to educate and encourage those with natural or transitioning hair.
As a new small business in a thriving industry, Jo and Catia hope to make Hairitage a household name in the afro-textured community. They are also hopeful to unite with similar businesses, as they believe there are enough heads for everyone to offer specific products and hair care services. This is not a surreal concept when considering multiple traditional hair stores, hairdressers and barbers located in black communities.
Hairitage is definitely a breath of fresh air to the black hair care retail sector and hopefully the first of many to change the landscape of the industry.
Before we ended our conversation, the ladies were also able to give insight on their own hair care tips and influences that have helped them to care for their own natural hair:
What are your top 3 hair care tips for natural hair?
- Moisturise – Spritz your hair with a water/oil combo (Just a little every day).
- Don’t be lazy with your hair. (For example, twist it before bedtime if it has been out all day). Make it a part of your regime (Plan your wash day).
- Let your hair be happy and not let it be what it’s not.
- Moisture (Water is your friend) I see hair as a plant, so feed it.
- Massage your scalp (with or without oil).
- Don’t wear your hair too tight as it can lead to traction alopecia.
What is your favourite hairstyle you like to wear?
A Twist-out or French braids.
Out and curly with one side slicked up.
What are your favourite products?
Who are your favourite natural hair influencers?
For more information, you can find Hairitage via their website and social channels: