Keep your routine simple. Take care of your hair as you would a plant. You wouldn’t move a plant from spot-to-spot each day. You wouldn’t water it 3 gallons one day and 1 gallon the next and not water it again for weeks on end. You find a spot where it’s happy, water it on a schedule and leave it alone. You prune it when the leaves turn yellow and fertilize it when it needs it. Our hair should be treated similarly. Find products that work from you and continue using them. If you are frequently switching products, you’re not giving your hair a chance to acclimate and you can’t identify the products that are working and the ones that are not. Be consistent. Water your it (wash and condition), fertilize it (protein treat), prune the yellow leaves (trim it when needed) and leave it alone! It’ll thank you!
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Adria Marshall.
Adria Marshall is the founder and CEO of Ecoslay, LLC. Ecoslay hand makes environmentally-friendly, plant-based hair products for textured hair. Marshall is a wife and mother of 3 daughters in Scottdale, Georgia.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I started Ecoslay because I was unable to find hair products that worked well for my hair type. At the time that I went natural, the only products available that could possibly work for me were those for white curly hair or black relaxed hair — my hair type doesn’t fall into either category. So, I created Ecoslay to fill that gap
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
There have been so many! I think the one that takes the cake occurred a couple of years ago after we released our Banana Cream deep conditioner. The response to the conditioner was insane and we were shipping out Banana Creams like crazy. We had finally caught up on orders — I went to bed at a decent hour — life was good. The next morning, I walked out of my bedroom and noticed that a Banana Cream wasn’t sealed properly — it had spilled out of the jar. Then I noticed another one. And another one. (In my best DJ Khalid voice). I looked in the box where we had packed about 100 of them — they were all seeping out of the jar! Fortunately, we hadn’t shipped out any of them — THANK GOD! After a quick conversation with my chemist, we discovered and resolved the issue.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
Ironically and without question, our company reached its tipping point when we quit focusing so much on our own success and instead began paying our success forward. When we started donating to our church and the homeless in a sincere effort to improve the world around us, we in turn, were blessed beyond measure. This real life, “You Reap What You Sow” moment has given us the freedom to be even more generous.
In your experience what were the most effective ways for your business to generate leads and sales? Can you share a story or give an example?
There are a few things that have helped us out here.
- Outstanding customer service. I really underestimated how unique it is these days to actually answer each email and DM, respond to social media comments, replace products without question, etc. I honestly did these things because they just seemed like the right thing to do. Turns out, this quality has separated us from the pack.
- Digital advertising. I quickly realized that I wasn’t going to master the Facebook algorithm on my own. So, when I scraped up enough pennies, I hired someone to manage our digital ads. This has turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made.
- Producing outstanding products. When you truly believe that your products are the best on the market and your customers truly believe this as well, it begins to catch fire. Our primary method of generating leads is still word of mouth.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Sooooo many. One that immediately comes to mind is my oldest daughter, Sydney. She was my second hire, so she’s been with me since the beginning. For several months, it was just she and I in the kitchen, whipping up products until 2am then packing them up and taking the trip to the 24hr post office! 6 employees later and she’s still my “Ride or Die”. Not only is she passionate about the company, she has the most amazing hair! It’s an honor that she only trusts Ecoslay products to grace her gorgeous locks! I, sincerely, would not be where I am without her physical and emotional support.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?
Start small. Your initial goal shouldn’t be to become a millionaire and quit your day job. Create small, attainable goals and build upon that momentum. When I first started Ecoslay, my goal was to create a product line for my own hair. This goal was great because it wasn’t contingent upon me making a single sale (which was fantastic because the sales were few and far between!). As long as my hair was loving my concoctions, I felt like a winner! Then, when I started to get some wind in my sails, my next goal was to be an example to my 3 girls — that they could achieve whatever they put their minds to. Once that goal started to manifest itself, I then decided to take the final steps to make Ecoslay my primary source of income. I truly believe that if I had made this goal my first, I would’ve failed. After all, I was 4 years in until this became a reality.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you please share “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
The good stuff!
1) Learn your hair type. This is not simply a number and a letter — that’s your curl pattern. Your complete hair type consists of your curl pattern, porosity, density and diameter. Getting a complete picture of your hair is key when determining the best products and techniques for your hair. I wrote a blog series on the topic: https://www.ecoslay.com/blogs/blog/whats-my-type
2) Deep Condition weekly. Regardless of your hair type, it;s important to incorporate a moisturizing deep conditioner into your routine. Your hair type will determine how type of ingredients the conditioner should contain, the duration in which the conditioner needs to remain on your hair, whether or not you should use a heat cap to allow the conditioner to penetrate. But a weekly deep conditioning treatment is a must.
3) Protein treat regularly. Much like a moisturizing deep conditioner, every head of hair needs a periodic protein treatment. Again, your hair type will determine the type of protein you need, how frequently you need to use the treatment and how long it should remain on your hair. But since our hair is made up of protein (keratin), it’s important to replenish it.
4) Keep your routine simple. Take care of your hair as you would a plant. You wouldn’t move a plant from spot-to-spot each day. You wouldn’t water it 3 gallons one day and 1 gallon the next and not water it again for weeks on end. You find a spot where it’s happy, water it on a schedule and leave it alone. You prune it when the leaves turn yellow and fertilize it when it needs it. Our hair should be treated similarly. Find products that work from you and continue using them. If you are frequently switching products, you’re not giving your hair a chance to acclimate and you can’t identify the products that are working and the ones that are not. Be consistent. Water your it (wash and condition), fertilize it (protein treat), prune the yellow leaves (trim it when needed) and leave it alone! It’ll thank you!
Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)
1. Take some time for yourself. I’m a big believer in self care. I take long, hot baths regularly while listening to Audible. Women are constantly taking care of others — our spouses, kids, companies, friends. Who is taking care of us? I firmly believe that it’s my responsibility to keep myself emotionally balanced and self care is a big part of that.
2. Likewise, being physically active is an extension of my self-care routine. I run 3 miles 2–3 times a week to keep myself in good physical shape, but most importantly, to relieve stress and keep myself balanced. It’s amazing the number of times that I feel like I’m at my wits end before my run and come home laughing it off.
3. Keep a simple beauty routine. If your beauty routine contains 20,000 steps, you’re more than likely not going to keep up with it. My routine is simple enough that I can squeeze it into 5 minutes in the morning and before bed. Yet, I can add in some extra steps if I have a bit more time.
4. Stay hydrated. I keep a water bottle on me at all times so that I can mindlessly sip. I’ve noticed that I sleep better and have more energy when I’m hydrated. My skin also glows from the inside, which is an added bonus!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
You know, I noticed while driving that I’m a lot more likely to let a car in front of me when another car has let me in front of them. That’s gratitude in action. Sadly, that feeling only lasts a couple of miles and then I’m right back to road-raging! If I could inspire a movement where that gratitude could extend itself by half a mile, and then another mile, and then maybe 5 more miles, and then perhaps into the night, and who knows, maybe into the next morning, and even the next week…If we could all remember the good that has been done for us and pay it forward, what an incredible world we’d have.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“She believed she could, so she did” — R. S. Grey. I’ve had many people along the way tell me that my dreams were too ambitious, remind me that I’m not a chemist, that I don’t have a business degree, that I have a great job working in Corporate America. But, “she believed she could, so she did.” And that’s on periodt.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂
There are so many hard-working women of color that I admire. From Michelle Obama to Beyonce to Cardi B — their honesty, drive, attitude and charity is inspirational. I’d be honored to pick their brains at any time.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for this. This was very inspirational, and we wish you only continued success!