Molebogeng Mangoale founder of Black Queen Hair, chats to us about the journey to loving her hair and entrepreneurship
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My journey starts in Limpopo, Leboakgomo. I moved to Pretoria to study International Relations and Sociology at University of Pretoria, it wasn’t my first choice but the knowledge I acquired opened my mind to a lot that I’m thankful for. When I finished my degree I wanted to study entrepreneurship, it didn’t work out and I’m glad it didn’t because later I learned that the greatest entrepreneurs didn’t study entrepreneurship, they were dedicated to learning about their businesses through experiences. And now I’m in Braamfontein, working for Ndalo Media.
The journey of Black Queen hair
My hair journey in High School is a series of experiments in pursuit of a manageable afro, tried Step One experienced a lot of shedding, learned my lessons but never gave up. Out of frustration, I went bald for the first two years in varsity, I met Tebogo Tshwane who has an amazing Afro that she loves and cares for. Having Tebogo close to me inspired me to care for my hair and understand it better. She took me through her hair regime and using that knowledge I researched further, applied the knowledge and found a good online source for Shea Butter, and after countless experiments my hair started popping. Learned a lot, attracted a lot of positive compliments and people started asking me to share what I’m using. Due to the demand and more knowledge of the business I decided to sell Shea Butter, so more research went into place with aims to create a customer experience that will fill the gaps that I felt were missing as a consumer.
What inspired the name Black Queen?
(Laughs) Well, sleepless nights and inspiration from music. After a lot of possible names when I finally wrote down Black Queen, I knew that I had found my product name. I felt inspired by it and that it represented the woman that I want to inspire. And it also has something to do with the song QUEEN by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu. I love it!
What challenges have you faced so far?
People look at the results of your hair and expect you to have all the answers, so my challenge has been one that is helping me to grow, for every time I come across a question that I can’t resolve entirely on my own, I learn something new too. Putting a tag on my products was challenging, I want my products to be accessible and affordable but also I have to make a profit to keep the business going.
How do you handle having a full-time job and running a business?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart, and always had the drive to equip myself with skills that can help run my own business, so selling came out naturally. My main challenge is to manage my time to make sure that the two don’t clash.
What are your most memorable hair moments in childhood?
Last year of primary school, my mathematics teacher made me stand in front of the whole class and said “meriri ya gao ya shishimisa” and that’s because I was wearing my natural hair, she made me swear that the next morning I’ll have neat, relaxed hair. I’ll never forget the pressure I put on my mom to buy a hair relaxer to fix my hair that night. And it’s still an issue, there are people who still think that an Afro is a symbol of a bad hair day, transition to a new hairstyle or that you’re too broke to afford a hairdo. There is still a long way to go in spreading the word about the beauty and health of our hair.
What can people expect from Black Queen Hair
My goal is to educate black women about their hair. Purchasing Black Queen Hair products should be the beginning of a journey that we take with you towards loving and understanding your hair. So the goal is to have a unique and personal customer experience.
Black Queen’s all-purpose oil is infused with natural oils that are good for hair and skin. It can be used in a deep conditioner and as a hot oil treatment. Black Queen Shea Butter is available as unrefined, for those who want to experiment and for those who just want to sooth an irritated scalp, protect and soften their hair we have refined Shea Crème Moisturiser.