Nichole Ashley Moss founded a multicultural haircare store in the United States, which she opened after saving up for several months.
She started Soulful Strands in Corvallis, OR, as a result of the lack of diverse hair product offerings. She launched the business at the suggestion of her husband, according to Oregon Live.
The beauty supply business, which was opened in November 2023, is the only one of its kind in Corvallis based on the Linn-Benton County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Black-owned business directory.
“I went to Portland and spent $400 at Mid-K Beauty, because we have to stock up when we go out there; there’s nothing like this inward, nearby,” Moss said.
For Moss, the launch of Soulful Strands was just the beginning, adding that she was “looking to get way bigger than this.”
Starting her business did not come easy. She had difficulties sourcing loans for the business, thus, her store is a result of four months of savings, contributions from her husband, bulk buying, and storing all of her current stock until she found a location she could afford to rent.
She had just graduated from business school at the time and wanted to use what she had learned to start an enterprise. Her first idea was to open an indoor spa but she did not have the needed capital.
Considering the amount she needed, had she gone ahead with her initial idea, she would have been overwhelmed by the cost element. Her husband then suggested to her a store selling haircare products closer to home, and she first looked at Albany, OR.
Due to her credit history, the property owner was asking for three times the value of the rent. Although a huge obstacle, she did not allow it to affect her and she ultimately decided on downtown Corvallis.
“Obviously there is a college here, and there’s a lot of Black students here. We have a lot of African people and mixed-race people here,” Moss explained to Oregon Live.
Today, Soulful Strands offers several products, including hair extensions, conditioners, and accessories. And Moss plans to expand her offerings to include makeup, fashion accessories, and African prints, among others.
Of the more than 35,000 beauty supply stores in the United States, about 2,500 are Black-owned, according to a report. Soulful Strands is one of the few Black-owned beauty supply stores making a difference.