Dallas County judge doubles as beauty entrepreneur in line to make history

Abu Mubarik October 25, 2022
Photo Courtesy of Shequitta Kelly

The beauty hair industry is one of the most lucrative in the world. According to conservative estimates, Black women spend up to $500 billion annually on beauty purchases, including hair.

For many Black women, the beauty industry is a big business attracting investors from all walks of life, including Dallas County Criminal Court judge Shequitta Kelly. If Judge Kelly is not in her court gown, she is a beauty entrepreneur.

She is the brains behind the Hair Shield, a patent-pending invention designed to help beauty consumers protect their weaves and wigs, according to Texas Metro News. The hair shield, according to Kelly, is a satin-lined protective case.

She ventured into the hair industry while trying to piece together her extensions that were falling apart. In doing so, she searched online for acceptable ways to save her hair pieces. After sewing her first shield, it inspired her to make a second.

When a couple of friends in the industry told her that there was nothing in the market like her invention, she was encouraged to start doing it as a side hustle. According to her, she had no intention of being an entrepreneur but she got convinced by the feedback of her friends.

She then invested in a lawyer friend to file a provisional patent for her invention pending full certification. After securing her patent, Kelly will become one of the few Black women in history to ever hold a hair patent. In between her work and working on her provisional patent, Judge Kelly got exposed to the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

“I’m a book-smart person. If you give me the book, I will read it. I can apply it,” said Kelly. “Entrepreneurship isn’t like that. It’s really trial and error — and there’ve been a lot of errors!”

For instance, she faced challenges in designing her logos and teaching herself how to make a pattern. Finding a manufacturer and selling her product at an affordable rate was another challenge she had to confront.

“To get the price that I wanted, I had to up the quantity,” she said. Kelly ended up with 1,000 Hair Shields and no customers. “I just had way too much because people didn’t know what the Hair Shield was. So, it was me trying to just get them to buy it. First, you’ve got to explain what it is. Then, you’ve got to convince them that they need it. And, I’m not a salesperson. I’m a judge!”

With the support of her husband, who happens to be in sales, she was able to mitigate the challenges, and today, her consumer base is one of the fastest-growing in the industry.

Judge Kelly said she wants her hair shield brand to become a household name not only in America but across the world. She also wants to expand her hair shield brand to be more of a haircare product not only for extensions but for one’s own hair.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 25, 2022


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