Student Spotlight: Alexus Edmonds-Haynie, Founder of Made Gentle
Brand: made gentle®
Training: Pro Natural Hair Care Formulation Course, year 2022
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Hero Product: Signature Hair & Scalp Oil
About made gentle®
made gentle® is a natural hair care company helping modern, eco-conscious people obtain healthy hair by providing natural and high-quality products. Our products are cruelty-free, vegan and lightweight — providing a luxurious experience with visible results after each use. Crafted gently enough for all hair types. Perfect for wash day, blow outs, silk presses and protective styles. Made Gentle allows hair versatility without the hassle.
“For your hair, crafted in our kitchen.”
What inspired you to make your own products?
My commitment to creating gentle and clean hair products is deeply rooted in my passion for helping individuals regain their confidence, particularly during challenging times when they lose their hair due to circumstances beyond their control. This personal dedication was ignited in 2010 and 2015, when my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Her2 Positive Breast Cancer. Witnessing her battle with cancer and the subsequent loss of her hair had a profound impact on me.
These experiences fueled my determination to merge my scientific background, passion for hair and love for helping others. I recognized the need for hair care products that are not only effective but also safe and nurturing for individuals facing similar challenges. This led me to pursue and obtain my Cosmetic Formulator Certification.
Through this certification, I gained the expertise and knowledge necessary to create hair products that meet the highest standards of quality and safety. My ultimate goal is to empower people to feel their best and regain their self-assurance, no matter the circumstances. My grandmother’s journey was a powerful motivator, and I am dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of those who use my products.
What was the hardest part of starting your business?
The most challenging aspect of embarking on my entrepreneurial journey was undoubtedly taking that initial step. Making the decision to transition into entrepreneurship full-time, especially as a new mother, was a monumental leap of faith. It came with a multitude of uncertainties and required careful consideration, both personally and professionally.
The prospect of venturing into entrepreneurship meant navigating uncharted waters. There were numerous questions swirling in my mind about how my business would be received in the market, whether I could secure the necessary capital, and how I would balance the demands of motherhood with the demands of building a business.
The process was not without its moments of self-doubt and hesitation. However, I ultimately decided to take the plunge, driven by my passion for my business concept and a deep belief in its potential. It required a great deal of faith and prayers.
Looking back, I can say with confidence that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The journey has been transformative, both personally and professionally. It has pushed me beyond my comfort zone, forced me to adapt and grow, and allowed me to witness the incredible power of determination and perseverance.
Overcoming the initial hurdles and uncertainties has not only strengthened my entrepreneurial spirit but also provided me with a profound sense of fulfillment. I am proud of the progress we’ve made and the impact we’ve had, and I am excited about the journey ahead. It’s a reminder that sometimes, taking that first step, no matter how daunting, can lead to the most rewarding adventures.
What equipment or ingredients did you first start out with?
When I first started formulating, I began with basic equipment like beakers, vitamin E, a thermometer, pH strips, and a lab notebook. I also sourced essential oils and butters as my primary ingredients. My kitchen served as the initial space where I experimented and honed my formulations.
How did your training at Joan Morais Cosmetics School help your business?
Joan’s class has played a pivotal role in equipping me with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the business landscape. This comprehensive course provided a well-rounded education and thorough explanations on a wide range of topics, including product development, safety, and regulations.
One of the key strengths of the course was its ability to bridge the gap between theory and practical application. It addressed the theoretical aspects that were previously missing from my knowledge base, allowing me to develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. This newfound knowledge instilled in me a high level of confidence in my ability to formulate products and successfully bring them to market.
Moreover, the course provided essential tools and resources that are indispensable in the field of product development. These tools not only streamlined the process but also enhanced my efficiency and effectiveness in tackling real-world challenges.
Overall, enrolling in Joan’s class has been a transformative experience for me. It has not only enriched my understanding of product development but has also empowered me to approach the business world with confidence. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have taken this course, as it has undoubtedly contributed to my preparedness and success in the business arena.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the remarkable progress my business has achieved within its first six months since its launch in March 2023. This journey has been nothing short of exhilarating. We’ve managed to accomplish several key milestones that reflect the strength and potential of our business.
One of our significant achievements has been the opportunity to participate in major events. These events not only provided us with valuable exposure but also allowed us to connect with a broader audience, fostering brand recognition and trust.
Another major milestone that I’m particularly proud of is our ability to sell our products cross-country. This expansion has been a testament to our business model’s scalability and adaptability to different markets. It demonstrates our commitment to meeting the diverse needs of customers across the nation.
However, the most thrilling aspect of our journey so far is the overwhelmingly positive reviews we’ve received from our customers. These reviews not only validate the quality and value of our products but also signify the trust and satisfaction we’ve been able to cultivate within our customer base. Their feedback is a driving force for us to continually improve and exceed expectations.
What advice would you give to other hair entrepreneurs?
Starting a hair or skin care business is a rewarding but challenging endeavor. My top advice would be to start with a genuine passion for the industry because it demands hard work and dedication. Educate yourself thoroughly about your products and competitors. Stand by each ingredient choice and its benefits, as customers often inquire. Confidence in your product is infectious, and honesty should be your guiding principle. With these qualities, you can navigate the journey successfully.
“I wholeheartedly recommend Joan Morais’ Natural Hair Care Formulation Course to anyone serious about delving into the world of hair product formulation. Joan is exceptionally knowledgeable, backed by years of hands-on experience in formulating a wide range of products. Her weekly Q&A sessions are incredibly valuable, offering direct access to her expertise.
Joan’s passion and dedication to her course are evident in the wealth of knowledge and skills you acquire. It’s an enriching experience that I believe would benefit anyone looking to expand their understanding of hair care product formulation.”
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