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Conversations with the Inspiring Jennifer Oshikanlu

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Oshikanlu.

Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am Jennifer Oshikanlu, a full-time Bioengineer, the Founder and CEO of Hair CraQ (the #1 Hair growth system for Kinky, Low Porosity hair) and per my husband, “the baddest wifey in the game”, lol!  

To be honest, I did not intend to start my own Hair Care Company, especially with my full-time job, family and hobbies keeping me on the go.  It just kind of just happened as a result of a long, drawn-out war in finding a solution for my own unmanageable natural hair. In a nutshell, I suffered with brittle, short, unhealthy hair for over 9 years.  During that period of struggle, all I wanted was a solution; so, I depended on advice from outside sources (hairdressers, you tube, other naturals). Unfortunately, they did not understand how to help my hair and in result, it would experience further damage and stunted growth for nine years. 

Pulling from my background as a Bioengineer, I eventually found the solution and formulated quality hair care products as well as a proven fool-proof hair care regimen.  Soon after, I created Hair CraQ and began providing hair care solutions for women, men and children within Houston, TX and soon after across the United States and in West Africa.

Currently, Hair CraQ products are in select stores in Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and growing. Find our products in a store near you by looking at Store locator online.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road of entrepreneurism has not been smooth, but it has been rewarding! Being a CEO at times means being the “Chief EVERYTHING Officer” and that can take its toll on you. In my opinion, the top struggle areas that new entrepreneurs face are:  

  1. Overcoming Steep Learning Curves: Unless you have significant funding to outsource skillsets you don’t have, it’s not enough to be great at your product or service offering. You must also become well versed in how to run your business as well. This learning curve can include areas you have no former training in (such as: accounting, marketing, sales, IT, communications, etc.). Do your best and learn as much as possible, take trainings, read, research…aka do what you can. Overtime, your skill set will become increasingly well-rounded. 
  2. Dealing with Burn Out: Balancing Productivity, Rest, and Time for loved ones is not easy! Especially if you include working a full-time job as well. It is very easy to burn the candles at both ends that’s why it is important to take breaks and to recharge. Remember, you can do it all, perhaps just not all at once. 
  3. Asking for help: This is an area of constant struggle for me. I feel more comfortable helping than being the recipient of it. If you need it ask. Friends and family are almost always eager to help and surprisingly even other entrepreneurs.
  4. Keeping Your “Why” in Mind: The best advice I can give is to always remember why you started your business in the first place. Who is it that you want to help and why? In the times you breakdown, want to quit, or can’t figure out why you are purposefully putting yourself in stressful, exhausting scenarios, your why will pull you out of that negative head space and will give you the needed energy to overcome that current obstacle and the ones to follow.

What should we know about Hair CraQ? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
What we do:

Hair CraQ is a company that makes growing and retaining healthy, vibrant, full, long, manageable hair EASY and ACHIEVABLE for struggling naturals, no matter the hair type! Hair CraQ is the answer for Kinky, Curly, Difficult-to-Comb, Low Porosity hair and any other porosity and or hair types that are experiencing issues involving hair growth, retention and overall hair health! We service hair porosity, NOT the curl type which means that whether your hair is kinky, coarse, curly (4c Hair) or loose, fine, wavy (2a hair) your hair will THRIVE using our products!

What we’re proud of:

In addition to providing real hair health and growth solutions to multitudes across the U.S., Hair CraQ is involved in the community through: serving on the Women’s History Month Panel at Texas Southern University which highlighted local women champions in business and gave the platform to share our experience with the future generation of entrepreneurs; presenting as a black-owned, women-owned business as well as investing time and donating resources at a local high school to support their black history month event. We’re also proud of having repeat sell outs on Hair CraQ products with the various retailers across the U.S. including Impulse beauty -Houston, TX, Manny’s Grocery – Chicago, Il, Curl Bible – Pennsylvania, PA.

What sets us apart. 

Most natural hair care brands service focus on curl pattern or the texture of hair, but Hair CraQ does not. We focus on porosity. Our products are light, non-greasy and work to maximize the moisture and nutrients that your hair absorbs which allows your hair to remain moisturized and shiny for days without reapplying product. Further, using our products consistently promotes optimal hair health and boosts strength and elasticity.

Do you feel like there was something about the experiences you had growing up that played an outsized role in setting you up for success later in life?
Growing up my family and friends played a major role in my life. We did everything together. It taught me the value of healthy relationships, the effectiveness of working in a group and the power of community. These principles have helped Hair CraQ significantly throughout the years. At Hair CraQ we do our best to empower everyone we come across and in turn the community does their part to pay it forward. In some cases, we’ve been selected for great opportunities because a friend or a customer has recommended us on our behalf. These principles, though simple, are what I believe will continue to propel us forward.

It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Truthfully, there isn’t one particular book, app or podcast that I’d say help me do my best. My favorite tool is networking. I would advise attending conferences, meetups, and/or events tailored to your type business. This practically serves as a 3-in-1 because it gives you the opportunity to learn tips specific to your business, to make contacts with those that can directly help your business and gives you a platform to promote your business.

Pricing:

  • Visit www.HairCraQ.com for more information on products, pricing and where you can find our products in a store near you.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hair CraQ

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