Frustrated with the surge of new natural hair care brands entering the market and limited retail distribution to easily purchase them, Beauty Entrepreneur and Founder of natural hair blog, Textured Talk, Charlene Walton decided to take matters into her own hands. Her online beauty store, TEXTURES Natural Hair Care is a “Sephora-inspired” beauty haven for women with multi-textured hair that promises a tailored shopping experience where consumers can discover the best natural and organic brands in one convenient location. We recently chatted with Charlene about her plans to open up a brick and mortar location, recent FedEx Small Business Grant nomination, and what it takes to build a beauty business from the ground up. Check out our interview below:
UB: How did you develop the concept for your beauty blog, Textured Talk?
CW: I’ve always had a passion for hair; in fact, I was obsessed with natural hair. I technically began my blogging career in 2008, but stopped because I didn’t think people wanted to hear what I had to say. In 2014, I decided to give it another shot. When I reintroduced myself to the blogging space, there was so much information online; it was time-consuming. I wanted to create a place where women could read great educational and relevant articles, shop, and watch the best videos.
UB: What impact has the success of your blog, Textured Talk had on your career within the beauty industry?
CW:Textured Talk was my introduction into the beauty space. I used it as an opportunity to build an audience and gain some clout behind my name. I launched the blog in 2014 and had an amazing year blogging. During that time I became a contributor for NaturallyCurly.com and CurlyNikki.com; I also earned a curlBOX award for blogger “ON THE COME-UP.” I always knew that I wanted to have an eCommerce option to purchase products and I always knew I wanted to own a beauty store. I launched the eCommerce site in 2015 and TEXTURES Natural Hair Care was born.
UB: We love the concept behind TEXTURES Natural Hair Care, what can consumers expect from your brand?
CW: TEXTURES Natural Hair Care provides consumers with access to top-performing brands with quality ingredients, in one location. All the brands that I carry are intensely ingredient focus. They are all about moisture and healthy hair; they are hand-selected by me. Consumers can conveniently purchase as many hair care products as they want for one shipping fee! We are currently online only, but are looking forward to opening our brick and mortar location soon!
UB: How long did it take for you to build your followers and what was it like when you realized that this was more than a hobby?
CW: In 2014, I was starting out in a new space and literally had zero followers. I didn’t know anything about blogging or that people were making money from blogging. I just tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could. I sought out NaturallyCurly.com and asked if I could write for them as a contributor because I’ve always loved to write. The editor emailed her back with the rate, and I was shocked that I would be paid. That was my “ah-ha” moment. Gradually, after producing unique content, working with other brands, and networking with other bloggers in the industry, my following began to grow. Before that it was zero.
UB: Let’s talk social media. What’s the secret to building a loyal social media following?
CW: Visuals and consistency. Instagram is totally visual, people go on Instagram to see something beautiful that they don’t really see every day. Schematics are equally important; I really focus on this aspect. I used a combination of great photos, hashtags, brand collaborations and giveaways to grow our following to over 16.5k. Engagement is also very important. You have to engage with your audience and others.
UB: What additional advice do you have for “newbies” entering the blogging and social media world?
CW: If you want to be taken seriously and if you want to make money, you have to look at it as a career. Continued educational resources such as webinars are awesome. Best advice I’ve received is to never work in real time. I schedule EVERYTHING! I never work in real time; everything has to be scheduled. I invest in apps to help me manage my time effectively.
UB: We love the attention to detail that is displayed in your branding. Who is responsible for this?
CW: I do everything! I take this very seriously. I study brands that I love and their aesthetic and what they are doing. I was inspired by something that CEO & Founder of CURLS, Mahisha Dellinger said in relation to building a brand, which was, “You don’t have to look like where you are right now.” Although I’m just starting out, I study brands that I love and focus on how I want my brand to be perceived by others. I want to ensure that everything I do is of quality and excellence. When developing your brand, it’s critical to know what you need to invest in. I use Canva to create graphics and images for my brand. I make sure everything is consistent; down to using the exact color code for my graphics. For areas where I need an expert, I invest. Thank God I have a best friend who is a professional photographer!
UB: You were recently nominated for the FedEX small business grant, how can our readers show support?
CW: Vote everyday and share to your social media outlets. You must have a Facebook page to vote. Voting ends June 13th. I really encourage people to share because reach is EVERYTHING in the social media community. VOTE HERE
UB: You are building this business while working a 9-5, how do you balance life and career?
CW: The fact that I don’t have children affords me more flexibility with time. With my current job, I am able to get most of my work done by noon, which allows me the rest of the day to work on what I need to. In regards to fitness, I decided to get a personal trainer, I needed something that was efficient so that I could get in and get out. I workout 2-3 times a week at 6am. I don’t really go out or party, but I do attend networking events. As far as life goes, I have a partner that forces me to turn things off so that I have time to rest and relax. He is definitely a part of my balance. As women entrepreneurs we are always on the go. It’s important to take a break.
UB: What are your top “must-have” beauty products?
CW: I actually just got into makeup this year, but as far as makeup goes I am really into NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer, BECCA Foundation, and LIP FETISH Cosmetic’s Tom Boy nude liquid lacquer lippie. I really enjoy the products from the Obia Naturals hair care line. The owner is Dallas-based and her products are all natural, ph balanced and vegan friendly. They are also extremely moisturizing. I really love Camille Rose Naturals as well; the deep conditioner is amazing. For skin, I love African Black Soap.
Be sure to connect with Charlene online and via social media:
Textured Talk: TexturedTalk.com
TEXTURES Natural Hair Care: TexturesNaturalHairCare.com