Pro IQRA News Updates.
Ciara Imani May is ready to revolutionize the hair care industry, one package at a time.
Kansas City, Missouri, is the brains behind the plant-based permanent hair extension brand Rebundle. Poetry is his name cue Available in seven colors and growing in, it steers clear of the toxic hair plastics commonly found in beauty supply stores. Instead, the biodegradable brand uses repurposed biopolymers and naturally extracted banana fibers for its hair, making its strands slightly thicker than the alternative.
May stressed that this is not only a concern for the environment, but also for the health of the scalp. Prior to 2019 when she started the brand, Mae had similar problems that many black women with synthetic braided hair face — her scalp was so itchy and irritated that she was afraid to get the protective style. However, she was initially skeptical that the hair was the reason for her upset until she confirmed that she had no problems with the hair products she used to take care of her braids — the hair was the problem.
So, after a few years of her journey with her natural hair, she decided to find a healthier approach.
“In those experiments, having my hair braided, I knew I was going to itch. It would be uncomfortable. But I didn’t personally wear braids as much in the summer of 2019. It was like, anyway, I take them off in so many weeks and forget about it.” “. “But in [that] The point is, I had my first full time job and just wanted to keep my hair in braids and I was struggling because of how uncomfortable it was.”
Mai had just finished her master’s degree in social entrepreneurship from USC and had a different understanding of problem solving. You have learned to lean towards ideas that directly address problems you have encountered. Between being inspired by the zero waste movement and wanting a more comfortable and sustainable hair braiding experience, she had enough fuel to start looking for Rebundle.
She began her early research by answering her questions about plastic hair: “Who was making it? Where was it made? What was it made of?” Then, at the onset of the pandemic, she quit her job and devoted her work to talking to subject matter experts, applying for grants, and learning what it takes. to create a product.
“I immediately realized that any product I ended up developing either could not be made of plastic at all or had to be natural, biodegradable fibers,” she said. “So that was my standard. It can’t itch, it can’t contribute to contamination.”
After many tests, I landed on Banana Fiber. Launched in January 2021, Rebundle is headquartered in St. Louis, with the first batch of products shipping in late spring of that year. May later relaunched it with a patented version of the product.
Rebundle claims to be the first vegan hair extension company in the United States. To add to their environmentally conscious mission, they’ve also created a plastic synthetic hair recycling program for people to send in their old hair. As a result, they’ve recycled over 335 pounds of tissue to date.
“If you think about where the future of beauty is going and kind of in products in general, there’s a huge need for products to be more sustainable and not pollute — never less,” she said. “We need to get to a point of being carbon neutral…and that’s kind of the case across the board.”
She added that black people should be included in this conversation.
“The other piece is: we’re kind of sitting at an interesting inflection point for beauty and sustainability. In a place where there hasn’t been a lot of innovation or intersection about how black people and women and gentlemen more specifically contribute to pollution through our usual routines and taking care of ourselves, taking care of our hair,” she said. “It will become clearer how important it is that we take these things into account or that brands are responsible for the ways in which we contribute clean and sustainable products to the market.”
Overall, May has gotten a mixed response from the hair braiding community and those who wear braids. Some are grateful and excited to try a new product, while others are a little hesitant and want to stick to what they know.
“It will become clearer how important it is that we take these things into account or that brands are responsible for the ways in which we contribute clean and sustainable products to the market.”
– Ciara Imani-Mae, Founder of Rebundle
For the month of May, it is important to build that relationship with the communities. You can’t find Rebundle at beauty supply stores, and it’s priced ($50 per 22-inch bundle) than most synthetic hair. But May emphasizes the care, consideration, and attention each Rebundle customer receives compared to the often lackluster customer service of many local beauty supply stores.
“We get a lot of questions. We get a lot of engagement. A lot of people are happy that something better is available and a lot of compliments and positive reviews of what their experience was like wearing and experiencing peace of mind wearing braids either for the first time in many years without worrying about itching, or even Thinking about how to get rid of them after that,” Mai said.
Her brand has also created a course for braiders wanting to learn the intricacies of braiding and caring for Rebundle hair. They also brag Online guide With 42 stylists in multiple US cities who know how to braid vegan hair. The strands are a little thicker than the synthetic hair strands. However, they can be heat styled and hot sealed like the more common weave.
Rippondel also caught the attention of basketball guard Chris Paul and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during their investment in Mae. To date, Rebundle has raised $2.1 million in funding.
As May and her team continue to work on improving their products and brand, they are creating new colors, becoming more established in the braiding community and establishing new avenues for growth, possibly including other products in the future. In addition, she hopes to change the hair extension industry on both a consumer and legislative level.
For the future of black hair care, May wants to see “cleaner, safer, and more sustainable options.”
She added, “I think it’s very possible. A lot of the products are handmade, but I think it’s very doable.” [Right now], we’re growing as fast as we can internally to make sure that the girls who braid braids this summer can do a better job of braiding. “