By Nadine Matthews
Special to the AFRO
Though she’s only in 10th grade, Maryland’s Lexi Proctor is both an accomplished author and seasoned entrepreneur. Proctor’s Curlanistas beauty line, which she started just a few years ago, has made over $90,000 in sales and moved over 100,000 units of products.
A hair care line was the perfect fit for the 16-year-old Oxon Hill High School student, who is part African-American and part Native American. The self described “STEM girl” decided, after numerous inquiries about how she cared for her own hair, to use her love of and knowledge about chemistry, to create her own product line. “I constantly got asked about what products I put in my hair, how I do my hair and all that good stuff,” she told the AFRO
The line includes The Curlanista Magic Curl Defining Custard, Magic Frizz Fighting Detangler, Magic Curl Cream, and Detangler Brush Set. Proctor also has a line of ponytail extensions that include 4c-4b Kinky Curly, 4c Afro, 3b-3c Curly Curl, and Kinky Blowout.
In association with her product line launch, Proctor also ran the social media campaign for girls with 3x and 4x textured hair called, #embraceyourtexture. She explained in a statement that the hashtag was, “to help girls realize that all hair is good hair and we are entitled to celebrate our beauty.”
Prior to launching her hair care product line, Proctor wrote and distributed books for young girls. “They were books about self-love, and when I thought about the hair care line, I felt that it ties right in to self love, so I might as well do it.” Proctor is also confident in the practical good she does with her product. “Hair care products are always needed and go to a good cause,” she states.
Proctor counts Michelle Obama, Oprah and particularly Beyonce as major role models. “I really look up to Beyonce since she started out at a young age as well,” said Proctor. “She proves that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything that you want.”
Like the top-selling recording artist, Lexi’s family has also been very supportive. “My parents were very supportive from the start.” she shares. “My friends have also been supportive. Of course there are always people who will talk down to you, but I never really listened to them because at the end of the day what I’m doing is very much needed.”
Apart from being a business person and accomplished student, Proctor is also an actress and competitive dancer. When she isn’t doing any of these things, she confesses, what she enjoys doing most is hanging out with friends. “When I can, I like to just be a regular teenager. Ultimately, you only get to be a teenager one time so I want to enjoy that and live my life as much as possible.”
Proctor has definite ideas about the type of college she would like to attend. “I absolutely want to go to an HBCU because going to an HBCU is more than just going to college: it’s a whole experience. I grew up with people who look like me and want to go to a college with people who look like me as well.” The historic D.C.-based Howard University is her first choice. “I would love to go to Howard because of the culture and amazing people who have come up out of there.”
For anyone thinking about perhaps following in her footsteps and launching their own venture, Proctor offers some advice. “I would say go after what you want. Try to find people who are going to support you because that is really necessary. You also never know where a business idea will come from.”
Proctor also cautions prospective entrepreneurs to lay the proper groundwork before embarking on a business venture. “You have to do your research and find out if you have a good idea, or you’ll start a business then get to a point where you’re stuck. Find out how much things will cost. [Ask yourself] how much money will I make if I sell a certain amount? Basically, anything connected to running the business, you should find out the cost beforehand.”
The multitalented teen also thinks that one thing that seems simple but is often overlooked by those wanting to start or maintain a successful business is having a good attitude. “You want to be nice to people. You want people to want to invest in you.”
Curlanista products are available through the Curlanistas website or via Sally Beauty.