Can it be all be smooth like shea butter? by: Sage Wallace-Williams

Brittany+Bygrave+holding+one+of+her+whipped+shea+butter+products+at+Twins+Beauty+Store
Brittany Bygrave holding one of her whipped shea butter products at Twins Beauty Store

Brittany Bygrave holding one of her whipped shea butter products at Twins Beauty Store

Brittany Bygrave holding one of her whipped shea butter products at Twins Beauty Store


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Blended, mashed and whipped with the hands of time, Shea Butter has always been a principle multipurpose product in black beauty. From being used by ancient African queens like Cleopatra or Queen of Sheba to now being used by the Black queens of today, shea butter is one of the many tools used by naturalists to maintain, moisturize and to style the kinks, curls and coils of natural hair.

In an industry dominated by large companies like Shea Moisture, junior Brittany Bygrave is breaking into the natural hair industry with her whipped shea butter company, Noia Brittany.

With the word “Noia” being the suffix of words like “metanoia” and “eunoia,” the company is not only rooted in promoting well-thinking and great mindedness but is a motto reflected in Bygrave’s lifestyle.

“It was initially my blog’s name, so I just kept it as my business name,” Bygrave said. “I really love it and I have it on my wall. Those are just words I really keep close to me.”

Finding a need to bring natural hair products to more a convenient location for students, Bygrave knew natural skin and hair care was underrepresented in the surrounding Greensboro community. Her solution to this problem involved intensive research on YouTube and several experiments.

“I definitely knew there was a need in the market surrounding A&T, I didn’t have a car or anything,” Bygrave said. “My skin care products were coming from Rite-Aid, and I did not like that at all. I needed to change that and I did.”

Bygrave’s goal was to alter the naturally harsh texture of shea butter so that it would be easily compatible with many skin types. Besides having moisturizing benefits, shea butter can help reduce acne scars, stretch marks and psoriasis.

However, the process wasn’t always smooth like Noia Brittany whipped shea butter, but was a process that required extreme amounts of patience and resilience. Especially, when it came to selecting the right strand of shea butter.

“Finding different kinds of butters was the most frustrating part because I would have to buy them in bulk, and I would literally have 50 pounds of shea butter in my room at a time,” Bygrave said. “Also, just working with different shea butter companies and getting samples was hard too.”

These small lumps in her shea butter journey were just minor setbacks for Bygrave, and she knew optimism was the best mindset to adopt when managing a company.

“Be patient. It’s times where I could have been okay with just being okay, and also I would say stay consistent with your vision,” Bygrave said. “There are a lot of people who try to taint your vision but if you are really set or comfortable with it you should do your best.”

Especially in an industry that has statistically marginalized black women, the message of patience and perseverance is needed for those pursuing entrepreneurship.

Based on the 2017 State of Women-Owned Business Report, “African Americans owned 19 percent of all women-owned businesses.” On top having the highest rate of owned business out of any other minority racial group, black women “average more employees and revenue than the typical women-owned business.”

Although these are promising numbers, black women spend roughly $7.5 billion annually on beauty products supplied by beauty stores, but black women only own less than 1 percent of the actual market. Factors like economic influence, competition, and manufacturing contribute to the slow market growth.

Nonetheless, Bygrave has already started to defy and break barriers. Her products are sold in a black owned beauty supply store called Twins Beauty Story located at 4616 W Market St, Greensboro, NC. Plus, it’s only a five-minute drive off campus.

“One day, I literally just went in there to buy some black soap,” Bygrave explained. “Then I asked them about working with small businesses, they told me the steps and then I gave them samples.”

Noia Brittany was in the store for a week and sold out within four to five days. After this successful run, Twins Beauty Story created a full-time partnership with Bygrave.

Bygrave is grateful for the selling space in Twin’s, but this isn’t the last stop for Noia Brittany. She has dreams of a storefront.

“I say it everywhere I go,” Bygrave expressed. “I am just trying to put it in the universe. That is my ultimate goal. Something I can look at every day and say I did it.”

Bygrave also hopes to expand her business by hiring brand ambassadors and establishing partnerships with nonprofit organizations.

With extreme zeal and passion like Bygrave’s, it is only a matter of time before her dream becomes a reality, and Noia Brittany is a world-wide name.

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Can it be all be smooth like shea butter? by: Sage Wallace-Williams