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The financier turned haircare CEO celebrates mega milestone

GIRL BOSS: Jamelia Donaldson, founder of TreasureTress

THIS MONTH, Treasure Tress - a monthly subscription box service which offers products catering to kinky and curly hair - will celebrate its third birthday with a special event.

The Treasure Tress Pop-Up Shop in conjunction with Pempeople - an established organisation that works to empower, cultivate and highlight talent of those from disadvantaged backgrounds - will bring together loyal fans of the brand and natural hair lovers together, as they socialise, shop and learn all about the service and the sisterhood they’ve created.

Ahead of the two-day extravaganza, which takes place November 23-24, we spoke to CEO Jamelia Donaldson about hair care, black businesses and what to expect from the the Treasure Tress Pop-Up Shop.

Q: Tell me a bit more about how Treasure Tress came about?

Jamelia: When I was at university, I discovered the natural hair community at its infancy. However, when I was trying to access products that I would see online, I couldn’t actually get any of them or if I was, i’d be paying ridiculous fees on shipping.

So I spent some time in America and I noticed how big the subscription box industry was and I realised in the UK there wasn’t anything of a substantial size that catered to black women specifically. So when I got back, I launched it while I was working at my finance job, and then a year later I took it on full time. Three years later, we’re celebrating our third birthday and we have an office, a warehouse space and a team that helps pack our boxes.

Since your launch, how do you think Treasure Tress has helped redefine the black hair retail experience?

Jamelia: I think a lot of it has been to do with the experiential side of product discovery. One of the key points of the pop up shop is the fact that we’re revolutionising the retail experience for black women because for so long we’ve gotten use to a slack experience when purchasing products. So for me when people’s boxes arrive at the door I want it to be like a little piece of luxury. So you open your box, there's pretty tissue paper, new products for you to try – it’s like Christmas every single month and that’s a huge jump from going into a dreary hair shop where you’re being stared at or given really misdirected information.

Right now there’s this increased interest in celebrating and maintaining natural hair - Why do you think that is?

Jamelia: I think there’s an overall awareness of health and wellness for black women - especially within our generation. We’re making an effort to go to the gym more, eat better food and that translates to beauty and making the decision to stop relaxing your hair and go on a natural hair journey. I think everyone is going through a phase of self discovery and trying to be their best selves and for black women hair is so deeply ingrained in everything we do.

The Voice recently launched our first black business guide, as I’m sure you know. Do you feel there is greater importance and support placed on black businesses today then there might have been a few years ago?

Jamelia: I think so. A lot of work is being done by businesses to change the narrative surrounding black businesses and the distrust. I know for us one of the main things we pride ourselves on is "underpromise and overdeliver", because we know for so long that there has been some bad experiences within the black community when it comes to businesses. So I feel there are a lot of brands that we support that are black owned that are creating a new standard for black businesses and I think it’s a really great time to start a business as a young black person.

Where do you hope to see the brand in the next three years?

Jamelia: Definitely on a bigger scale. We feel there’s a lot of work to be done across Europe and globally because when we think of the natural hair movement we only think of America but through my own experiences I know there’s huge communities all across Europe, and we want to create the same presence there as we do here in the UK.

What should people expect from the pop-up shop on November 23-24?

Jamelia: A lot of brands! There will be a braid bar, nail bar, DJ’s including Born and Bread and Yinka Bokinni. There will also be T-shirt making with Pempeople, two business panels and a lot more.

Get your tickets for the Treasure Tress Pop-Up shop here.

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