Meet Uju, the Founder of Rootz Hairdressing
As part of our celebrations for this year’s Black History Month, we’re dedicating our Member Spotlight series to the Black-owned businesses in our Tide community.
We’re excited to introduce you to Uju, founder of Rootz Hairdressing and Devinerootz. A former nurse turned businesswoman, Uju has multiple certifications and over a decade of experience in the field.
In this Member Spotlight, Uju inspires us with her story of starting her hair salon to have more flexibility as a mum of 6, and the achievements she’s collected along the way. She also talks about the importance of celebrating Black businesses and individuals, particularly during Black History Month.
Hi Uju! Can you tell us about Rootz Hairdressing and your top motivation for starting it?
Growing up, I always loved doing my friends and family’s hair. I became more interested in afro hair and decided to specialise in product formulation as well as healthy hair practices.
What were you doing before and what inspired the transition?
Before going full time into hairdressing, I was actually a nurse! As I am a mum of six and back then my children were still quite young, I needed something that gave me more control and flexibility with my time, so I thought it was the perfect time to try and make a living out of my passion.
You also create your own natural hair product range launching Devinerootz. Can you tell us more about it?
When I made the decision to pursue my passion in hairdressing, I undertook Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ certifications. However, these courses completely skipped over afro hair care which ultimately left me feeling a bit lost and disconnected from the market I aimed to serve.
Often customers would come to me feeling self-conscious and fed up about the condition of their hair. This really pushed me to learn and understand the complexities and beauty of our hair and how best to look after it. I started doing more independent research and also paid for one-on-one training courses with experts in the Black hair industry.
This journey led me to critically examine the hair products available on the market and it was really eye-opening seeing the use of harmful ingredients in some of these products. With a commitment to offer a better alternative, I decided to take on a course in product formulation, leading to the development of my range of natural hair products specifically formulated to address common issues faced by Black women without any of the harmful stuff. The response from our customers has been nothing short of amazing!
What do you love most about running your business?
I love the autonomy it gives me and the work-life balance. I have been self-employed for over 12 years now and I absolutely love it. I run my salon on an appointment-only basis which creates a personalised and relaxed experience for my clients which they really love.
It’s amazing to hear about your passion, especially during Black History Month. What does Black History Month mean to you?
The thing I enjoy most about Black History Month is hearing and seeing Black businesses and individuals celebrated and highlighted for their achievements across different industries and fields. It’s a reflective time of where we’ve come from and also a time of encouragement for what we continue to strive to achieve.
How do you think Tide and other corporations can amplify the voices of Black business owners and support their businesses?
It would be great to have events bringing other Black businesses that are Tide members together. It would be an encouraging experience to build a community within Tide!
Could you tell us your thoughts and experience about the cultural importance of Afro hair salons?
Afro hair salons definitely play a vital role in our community and have made significant strides in hair care. However, I believe that there’s still room for more regulations and training opportunities as this would increase the credibility of the afro hair industry and equip more people with the knowledge to better look after their hair.
This is why I now offer masterclasses teaching people how to look after afro hair and also about ingredients to look out for when purchasing hair products.
What does growing your business look like for you? What’s next for Devinerootz?
The future of Devinerootz is focussed on getting our natural hair product range on store shelves and teaching more Black women how to look after their beautiful hair through our salon, products and masterclasses.
What’s your top advice for someone who wants to launch their business?
Just start! I know people say this a lot but it’s true. It may never feel like the ‘right time’ to start your business but the right time is now and just figure it out bit by bit along the way.