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April 11, 2013

The Woman Behind the Business: NoScrunchie

I’m at that stage in life where I am looking to push forward on all the things I love doing. One of the things I have found that just encourages and inspires me to keep following my dreams is when I speak to other women who have done just that. So I thought it would be great to start a new series called “The Woman Behind the Business” where I speak to fantastic women who have set up incredible businesses and are chasing their dreams.

My first woman in this series is non other than the very talented and beautiful Leillah Sekalala. I met Leillah a few weeks ago and I have a little confession to make, whilst we were being introduced, I wasn’t really listening and instead I was thinking OMG! I love her hair and lipstick and I really need those details (just to break it down and excuse my rudeness, she was rocking a gorgeous afro twisted look with a lovely hot pink lipstick) fast forward a few weeks later, I find out that not only does she have great style but she is also the woman behind the fantastic business concept called NoScrunchie.

NoScrunchie is an afro salon rating website, which allows you to find out what salon to go to and which salon to run a mile from.  The best bit, is that the salons are rated by people just like you. 

  1. Tell us a little bit about Leillah – The woman behind NoScrunchie

I am a Ugandan living in London and loving it.
I am really shy if I do not know someone. I need to warm up to people before I get comfortable and then you can't shut me up.
I love food and I hate cooking. I love beauty but I hate doing my makeup. I love my hair but hate doing it myself. For these reasons, I am all about customer service.
I am a qualified accountant and also a mum of one.

    2.  Tell us a little bit about your business 

  •          How did NoScrunchie begin/What’s the story behind it?

I moved to the UK from Uganda in 2004.  I have been in search of a good salon since then. I like to change my hair up often, so I am always looking for a progressive hair dresser, someone who will do a weave today, braids next week, a cut a few weeks on etc.
I worked with a friend of mine, Alex (who is a co- founder) and every other Monday I had a salon story. When I told her tales of salons with no bathrooms, or of hair being done by unqualified stylists amongst other things, we slowly realized that we had a way of changing this. We talked about it for a while, did some research, wrote a business plan and the rest is history.

  •           How did your business get its name?

We were looking for something catchy and hair related. I originally came up with scrunchie and then I was reminded of the episode in ‘sex and the city’ when Carrie said no disrespecting woman would wear a scrunchie, and no scrunchie was born.

  •          What steps did you take to get NoScrunchie to where it is today? 

I have put in many hours. I have a full time job (to fund NoScrunchie) and a 3 year old so any work has to be done after hours. This has meant very late nights, early mornings and virtually no weekends. I miss lounging and watching TV or reading magazines.

  •         What accomplishment are you most proud of since starting NoScrunchie?

The fact that the website exists.  That probably sounds silly, but it was an idea for so long that just getting feedback from people who have found a salon from our site is really amazing to me.

  •         What was your biggest “AHA” moment with NoScrunchie?

This was while we were still speaking to developers and trying to figure out whether we really wanted to do this. I saw a lady on the bus with really nice hair. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out whether to approach her and then I did. I asked where she got her hair done. She started to explain but it was my stop. I decided to stay on the bus, missed my stop and the next few trying to get an exact location for this salon. And that was it! I realized that there had to be a better way of finding a salon that does afro hair well.

  •         What’s the best part about running your own business and the most challenging thing?

The best part is realizing my dream at the moment.
The most challenging thing is that I do it in my free time which is after work and after my daughter is in bed. The lack of time is really a challenge. We are self- funded so none of us can give us our jobs yet.

  •         In what ways would you like to see NoScrunchie evolve?

I would like to see NoScrunchie as a source of information for afro hair, not only on salons but also on products and information both for relaxed and natural hair. There is presently a lot of afro hair information on the internet but a lot of it is US based referencing US products and we hope to provide a UK base for information.

  •         What advice would you give to other women who are looking to start their own business venture?

First of all start. Just do it. Don’t wait for the next gap, after children after a project, there is no time like the present. Start.
Secondly, when choosing someone to marry, choose a partner. Choose someone who will support your ambition, and pick up the slack when you can’t. This is from one of Karren Brady’s books and I believe it whole heartedly.

   3.   Beauty

  •         What are your beauty and hair secrets? 

Drink water. At least a litre a day. Your hair, skin and body will thank you for it.
Find a salon where the stylist listens to you. At the end of the day, it’s your hair.
Aveeno luminous moisturizer.

  •        Must have makeup/tips

Aveeno positively luminous moisturizer.
Lipstick. The brighter the better.  One of my favourites is Revlon colourburst Fuschia. Number 30
I buy Revlon because it is not so expensive so I can have a good number of colours. One in each bag.
If you hate mascara, (like me) get eyelash extensions. They are expensive but you don’t have to buy mascara and you save 5 minutes of your day every day.

  •         Beauty Icons/Inspiration

Kelly Rowland. Her hair, make up, clothes, body. Everything!

  •         Beauty Scents

Gucci Rush

     4.    Leillahs Favorite things

  • ·      Favorite Book

    Things I want my daughters to know by Elizabeth Noble.
  • ·      Film

Crazy, Stupid Love (and not just because of Ryan Gosling’s abs)

  • ·      Music

I like anything catchy so I would say pop. Any song that I can sing along to

  • ·      Food/Restaurant

Pie: sweet pie, savoury pie. Any pie. So any restaurant with good pie

  • ·      Things in life

My family and my handbags 

 To find out even more about NoScrunchie, have a look at the site here NoScrunchie and get rating on your salon experiences. 


Unknown said...

So there I was telling Segun all about life and it's mysteries and she was thinking, "lipstick? hair?"
Thanks for the interview!

lotionspotionsandme said...

It was an absolute pleasure and what can I say your lipstick and hair had me at hello! Thanks again. x

Unknown said...

This is the 2nd time this month. I am hearing of Leillah Sekalala.
1st was through another blogger
Well done on the site. It would av been been fab if I can just put in my postcode and get the saloon sorted in nearest first.

So tbh that was frustrating to me that I couldn't search to my needs.

All the best and God bless

Unknown said...

Hi ContactLucy Lu,
Thanks for the kind words.

You can actually search by postcode on the site on the find a salon page, link here:
Input the first part of your post code and you will get salons closest to you.
Do let us know if you have any other queries as we are trying to make it as easy to use as possible.


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