Quantcast

How Founding Curlkalon Hair Led This SHEeo To A Seven-Figure Business

Meet Shavone Riggins of the crochet curl brand Curlkalon.

Meet The SHEeo

With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.

In 2014, Shavone Riggins was in search of a protective style that matched her naturally textured hair. As a mom of six, it was important for her to have a good quality product that was both time-saving and convenient without sacrificing the look and style. She decided to take matters into her own hands, and within a year she launched her crochet curl brand Curlkalon— a natural-looking synthetic hair that delivers "effortless curls in a box" to women looking for textured hair protective style solutions. As the first brand of its kind, Curkalon quickly amassed a large following and seven-figure sales within months of its release. In December 2018, the company was acquired by True Glory Brands.

In this week's feature, meet Shavone Riggins of Curlkalon.

Courtesy of Shavone Riggins

Brand: Founder of Curlkalon Hair/SHE Everyday

Location: Atlanta, GA

Year Founded: 2014

# of Employees: 10+

30-Second Pitch: "Curlkalon Hair answers the call of delivering 'effortless curls in a box' all around the world to women looking for textured hair protective style solutions. In becoming the first company to market, I like to think I revolutionized the once tedious process of creating crochet curls at home into a high quality time-saving solution without any sacrifice of look and style. As a mom of six, I recognized the need for convenience in protective styling and how it could meet the look of naturally textured hair while struggling with my own natural hair routine 2014. I thoroughly enjoy helping women find effective and time-saving solutions by taking the stress out of protective styling, business and life."

What inspired you to start your brand? 

My inspiration for Curlkalon came about in 2014 after 11 years of being natural and wanting to find a natural-looking protective style that matched my texture of hair. Upon coming across the crochet braid method, I was pleased on having the look I desired.

What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality? 

My a-ha moment happened in the kitchen at my stove as I was cooking up curls that there has to be a better way. My light bulb came on and I knew I had to build the brand. I hit the pavement running with my talent and skills as a digital marketing designer in creating everything from the curl prototype, the logo, the website to the product design.

Who is your ideal customer? 

Curlkalon's ideal customer is a woman who is looking for a quality textured hair solution and wants to add a time-saving ease to her daily hair routine with a "effortless curl" protective style that lasts 6-8 weeks.

What makes your business different? 

Curlkalon is different in the hair space because we're the first crochet curl brand to the niche market of synthetic hair with use of high quality fibers that gives a true showing of textured hair as that of African-American women. Plus, we have a great story behind the brand!

What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand?  How were you able to overcome them? 

One of the first obstacles I faced with launching Curlkalon was keeping up with the fast growth. Upon launching Curlkalon in May 2015 on Mother's Day to mid-2016, I found myself as the Founder and CEO of a seven-figure brand. The next obstacle was staffing the brand to keep up with the demand. In which, I grew the team to a 12-member team from executive level, customer service, along with shipping and warehousing.

What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey? 

The defining moment in my entrepreneurial journey was when I was able to employ others and see their lives expand into being able to buy a home, purchase that new car, and have health insurance, on top of seeing women all across the world confidently rocking Curlkalon with smiles and joy from ear-to-ear.

Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?

I see Curlkalon as a community brand that will continue to meet the need of women who are looking for a quality textured hair solution and wants to add a time-saving ease to her daily hair routine with a "effortless curl" protective style. Alongside helping women

Where have you seen the biggest return on investment? (i.e. marketing, ads, vending, social media)

Curlkalon's biggest return is on marketing. In knowing our idea customer, we're able to deliver them awareness through ads, influencer marketing, and partnerships.

Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business? 

The biggest lesson in business I've learned is knowing when to pivot. As a CEO of a new and growing brand comes with the wearing of many hats, you can find yourself in a loop of what you know that works and be stuck there. However, things change; the market changes, numbers change, and honestly you change too. There comes a true point of evaluation that needs to take place so that key changes can be made at pivotal points.

Anything else you would like for people to know, or take away from your entrepreneurial story? 

In December 2018, I released my title as CEO with an acquisition of Curlkalon to True Glory Brands. I knew that I wanted Curlkalon to make it to greater heights and my vision had evolved to being more supportive to my brand with carrying my founder title with works on expanding the brand's audience with communications, education and strategic marketing.

Follow Shavonne on social media: @curlkalon and @shavone_riggins.

The more Saweetie prioritizes her mental health, the more gems she drops in the process. The “Icy Chain” rapper has been open in the past about her mental health struggles due to being overworked and not properly taking care of herself. After having a few mental breakdowns, she has been on a mission to put her health first and focus on self-care.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Black women have been redefining what wellness looks like since the beginning of time. (I even have a real-life, sassy, still-walking-signifying-driving-gardening example of this via my own 92-year-old Granny, who is the epitome of manifestation and self-preservation, as she has always defined wellness on her own terms.) We continue to shift the narrative, especially when it comes to what "wellness" actually means as a Black woman in a world where it can be so hard to simply exist in fullness.

Keep reading...Show less

We all know what it is to love, be loved, or be in love – or at least we think we do. But what would you say if I were to tell you that so much of the love that you thought you’d been in was actually a little thing called limerence? No, it doesn’t sound as romantic – and it’s not – unless you’re into the whole Obsessed-type of love. But one might say at least one side of that dynamic might be…thrilling.

Keep reading...Show less

Idris Elba and Sabrina Dhowre Elba are gearing up for the second season of their podcast Coupledom where they interview partners in business and/or romance. The stunning couple has been married for three years but they have been together for a total of six years. During that time, they have developed many partnerships but quickly learned that working together isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Keep reading...Show less

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Jay Ellis Shares ‘Full-Circle’ Moment With His Parents & His Self-Care Ritual

Staying grounded is one of the actor's biggest priorities.

Latest Posts