Meet Vanessa Martins Lopes. She is a Finnish-Bissau-Guinean entrepreneur based in Spain. She ventured into entrepreneurship after struggling for years to find hair products suited for her fluffy ‘fro. She resorted to making her own products from her kitchen due to a lack of better options. Eventually, what started as a side hustle became her full-time job.
At the time, she was living in London but decided to move to Spain in the middle of the pandemic. According to her, she had to decide whether to keep working for someone else or pursue her own project. This was when she decided to commit 100% to The Wild Curl, a natural hair care line dedicated to curly hair, with her partner.
“Running my own hair care company, and going self-employed really helped me to find my purpose. I have always felt sad there were never services for us, and now I am trying to contribute to the change,” she told comingtospain.com.
Although she is based in Spain, The Wild Curl is a UK business and according to Lopes, running your own company and being self-employed in Spain is a bit harder, citing bureaucracy.
“In London, everything is digitized, if you want to form a company, you just go to Companies House, and everything goes very fast. Here it’s more traditional, so in that aspect, I am happy that we’re still a UK-based company,” she said.
Lopes’ father comes from Guinea-Bissau, and her mother is from Finland. She spent most of her life in Finland. Growing up, she was mostly the only Black person in school, at work, at the gym, with friends, and almost everywhere.
She started practicing rhythmic gymnastics when she was 4 and later joined the national team of Finland, traveling almost every month abroad to international competitions. “This awoke my curiosity about different cultures, languages, and people. Since then one, I was always dreaming to live abroad, I was just waiting for the right moment to do so,” she said.
Before settling in Spain, she dreamt of going to Brazil but she chose to go to Spain instead, purely for love. She met her partner, Albert, at the university and this made her abandon her dream to move to Brazil. She and her partner stayed in Spain for three years, then moved to London for work. However, they ended up moving back to Spain, Tarragona, in 2020.