Cora Miller, along with her husband, Stefan Miller, used to spend countless hours searching for products to style their son Kade’s natural hair. When they were constantly left with limited options, they realized that there were no clean, natural hair care products specifically designed for curly-headed boys. They started thinking about how there was an unfulfilled need and opportunity to reshape the beauty industry, which has traditionally focused on women and girls, by creating unique offerings specifically for Black and brown boys.
So, inspired by their son and leveraging their combined 20+ years of corporate experience across marketing and business development, they sought out to fulfill that need. In 2019, Young King Hair Care was launched — the first multicultural beauty and wellness brand for young men. At the core of Young King Hair Care is representation, which Cora and Stefan believe is critically important. They seek to use their brand to celebrate and acknowledge the young boys who look like their son, and help groom the next generation of Black and brown men.
Young King Hair Care’s line of products range from leave-in conditioners, curling creams and oil sprays to shampoo & conditioner, and even hair sponges. Their all-natural, vegan, sulfate and paraben-free products are free of any harmful ingredients, which makes them safe for anyone – from babies to adults. Young King Hair Care can be found online at their website, and also at over 350 Target stores.
Since its creation, Cora and Stefan’s brand has been adored by parents and children everywhere, and even highlighted by massive media outlets like Good Morning America and Essence. The couple’s impact is being felt on a massive scale as they trailblaze through their journey of elevating and empowering Black and brown boys across the globe.
Our team at Buzzbassador interviewed Cora about Young King Hair Care, her and Stefan’s startup story, and her experience as a Black business owner. Read along below for the full interview.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What inspired you to start Young King Hair Care?
We started Young King Hair Care because we were inspired by our son Kade who was born with a head full of hair. As a new mom, I was searching for hair products to help me style his hair, but I quickly realized after doing some research and talking to other boy parents that we are all in the same position – we couldn’t find tailored hair products for Black and brown boys. So, to fill a void in the natural hair care market, my husband and I launched Young King Hair Care in December 2019. Each of our products were created with boys in mind – from the ingredients, to the scent and overall packaging design – with the goal of redefining male grooming and self-care for the next generation. We want to inspire parents and encourage young men with textured hair to celebrate and love their crowns.
It’s February, Black History Month. Why is this month important to you?
I believe it’s important to take time to celebrate and recognize the powerful Black narratives, leaders and heroes who have come before us. I am forever grateful to those who have paved the way for me to build a legacy for my son and impact generations to come.
In what ways would you like to see the community show up for Black businesses this month (and always)?
I love celebrating others’ successes, so I will always root for other Black founders (as Issa Rae famously said, “I’m rooting for everybody Black!”) or female-owned businesses that are simply doing the damn thing – and that’s what I hope our community will do for one another. As a community, we need to fill each other’s cups with support, love, encouragement and appreciation and have a mindset of wanting to see us as a people, as a collective, as Black business owners WIN together. It’s this notion of community first that will help move our culture forward.
What are some of the biggest challenges Black and brown communities must overcome to launch their own businesses, and what advice do you have for them?
It takes a village of support to create and launch a business, and often times Black and brown founders don’t have access to the right resources (both capital and strategic support) to help launch and grow their businesses. It’s critical to seek out support for areas where you need help and to continue to learn and grow throughout the course of the building phase.
Who is a Black entrepreneur or public figure that you look up to — dead or alive — and why?
I admire Black entrepreneurs like Annie Turnbo Malone & Madam C.J. Walker who were the first to create Black hair care products, reminding us that Black is, indeed, beautiful. Their spirit of hustle, boldness and creativity despite all of the odds stacked against them as Black women living in the post-Civil War era is truly remarkable and admirable.
Last question, specifically for the Buzzbassador community: in what ways has your brand ambassador program helped to grow your business?
Buzzbassador has been a great platform to help us launch our brand ambassador program. It has helped us create a turn-key rep program and given us a system to use to easily engage our growing Young King community! We look forward to continue the growth of our ambassador program in the months and years to come.
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. History. Our Buzzbassador CEO, Calvin Waddy, says Black History Month is a great time to reflect on his favorite topic — entrepreneurship — and how it intertwines with the trailblazing done by generations of Americans from Black and brown communities.
“Black entrepreneurs are a crucial part of Black history and American history in general,” says Waddy. “Black Americans have been defined by a spirit of creativity and innovation since the beginning of our time in this country, because we as a community have time and time again been forced to break down barriers and find our own way out of difficult situations. Black entrepreneurs have invented some of the world’s most cherished products and most powerful companies.”
That entrepreneurial spirit is not only a part of Black history, but also a part of the American story still being written today, evidenced by the growing number of amazing Black-owned businesses that are a part of our economy. In fact, the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs in America is Black women. Even here at Buzzbassador, we have the privilege of working with many Black founders daily as users of our app.
We wanted to celebrate this special month by highlighting some of those founders and their companies, while encouraging our readers and social followers to support Black-owned small businesses, both through shopping and sharing — not just this month, but always!
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