In what started out as an uncomfortable situation in the form of scalp psoriasis, Mitchka Leon, a 32-year old entrepreneur has built a natural hair care brand that seeks to help her customers resolve issues with dry hair as well as growing and maintaining hair length.
Leon, a fulltime mother and entrepreneur, is a resident of Florida in the United States (US). She was born and raised in Jamaica and lived here until early adulthood after completing her bachelor’s degree.
She had no intention of venturing into the haircare industry as she studied hospitality and tourism management at the Moneague Community College in St. Ann. “I figured that I would be working in the hotel industry or a restaurant or something like that. Haircare was never on my mind. The only thing I was passionate about within hospitality was the ability to communicate with and connect with people,” she shared in an interview with Our Today.
“My journey into natural hair care started when I came to the US and my hair started to fall out and I didn’t understand why,” she said. Leon then stated that for years, she chemically straightened her hair and that contributed to the damage she witnessed. “That’s where my research started and I learned about natural hair,” she said.
To add to her hair woes, after her hair breakage, she realised that she had scalp psoriasis. It was at that point that she put more effort into taking care of her natural coils without chemical manipulation.
“My research sparked my love for haircare and using natural products to solve my problem with scalp psoriasis. I was obsessed with understanding how natural ingredients work and tried quite a few natural products to see what worked best for me. I then decided to create my own products that wouldn’t cause my scalp to be severely irritated. During that time, based on my product creations, I was able to kind of resolve my scalp psoriasis. It has not been as crazy as it once was because I figured out what worked for me,” she said.
THE CATALYST FOR JUNE ROSE
Addressing that issue later blossomed into her natural hair care brand, June Rose Kurls. Though it started with fixing her own problem, June Rose Kurls products are not targeted for people with scalp psoriasis. “The products are targeted for people with dry hair, for people who want to resolve their dry hair issues, grow their hair and retain hair length. That’s what the business is all about,” stresses Leon. “The products also target dry scalp. I have two oils that are great for dry scalp. There is a hot oil treatment and also a daily scalp oil,” she added.
The aim of June Rose Kurls is to create products that use natural ingredients in the form of herbs, plant oils and plant butters. “I really believe that the best products are created from nature. That’s what I want my entire brand to be surrounded by and not using a bunch of chemicals,” she emphasised.
The brand name pays homage to Leon’s late mother whose middle name was June and alias was Rose.
In 2020, Leon gave birth to her daughter and went through postpartum depression. Shortly after that, she also gave birth to June Rose Kurls. “After I had my daughter, I told myself that I have to start a business. I needed something for me.
THE JUNE ROSE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Leon, who once created YouTube content for natural hair care credits ‘YouTube University’ with teaching her how to create natural hair care products. She watched YouTube videos from the natural hair care community and learnt the tricks of the trade.
“Initially, I did not know how to create hair products. I had ideas in terms of DIYs but when it came to the chemistry and mixing part, I had to teach myself and that is something that I love to do. I did my research and taught myself. So, my spouse and I, taught ourselves how to create the products. Once we learned how to make the products, we then tested them out on ourselves as well as family members and friends.
Some of her products from the ‘moisturiser and retain hair length collection’ include:
– a honey green tea moisturiser
– a honey green tea deep conditioner
– hair conditioners, a leave-in conditioner
– varied hair and scalp oils
– hair butters
THE FUTURE OF JUNE ROSE KURLS
“I want my brand to be bigger and better. I envision my products on the shelves of Fontana Pharmacy and other places in Jamaica. I want to be able to say that I have products in other countries as well. My hope is that brand awareness takes off so that June Rose Kurls is not a secret.
Leon also hopes to venture into more product development for hair types such as locs. Her mother wore locs and she shares that she wants to create a product line for that hair form and dedicate it to her mother.
“Some research and a trial phase is needed as not every product can be used on locs. So, I have to figure it out,” she said.
Leon expressed that she used to ship internationally to countries like Australia and Canada, but she paused that service to get some issues straightened out. She hopes to resume international shipping in the near future.
SUPPORTING KURLS AND A CHARGE TO BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS
As an entrepreneur and mother of one, Leon says that life has changed for the better. “I won’t say life is upside down but it has for sure been shuffled. I have gotten more comfortable with the change and it has better equipped me with things like time management. Battling postpartum and taking care of my daughter, plus running a business was very difficult but I had to find something that works for me,” she said.
She credits the support of her spouse and her older sister in the journey. “My sister, Kimone, is one of my product testers and she helps me with designing my marketing tools such as my logo among other design related items,” she said.
Leon also highlighted that the support of her clients keeps her going. “Though the company is young and I am currently the only one doing everything for the business operations at this point, I must say that my customers support me. People within the near-to-reach community also supports my business,” she said.
To budding entrepreneurs, Leon has this to say: “Do your research. Not everything requires money. There are many options to gain free and useful information online so that you can gather knowledge and start a business. If you are afraid, feel the fear and do it anyway. Don’t even think twice.”
“All you have to do is try. It’s either you will fail or you will succeed but you’ll get something from it either way. You will learn why you failed or why you succeeded. So, just try,” she said.
You may learn more about June Rose Kurls on Instagram at @junerosekurls.
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