Black History Month celebrates more than past African American leaders and heroes, and their achievements. It reminds us to also acknowledge those who are shaping the future. With product placement in 30 retailers and 20k followers on social media, Adria Marshall is one African American entrepreneur to watch this February, with her hair care brand Ecoslay.
The business owner, wife and mom of three strives to do more than offer a line of affordable vegan, no-filler formulas for natural hair. She plays the role of educator in two ways: by teaching consumers how natural, eco-friendly ingredients can transform their hair and by serving as a career mentor with the way she manages her brand.
“My long-term goal is to put mentorship into action, employing a hands-on approach to assisting women as they make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality,” Marshall explained.
Adria’s Story of Better Hair Care
Years before Ecoslay started receiving Instagram attention for its curl-perfecting Orange Marmalade or innovative Hot Sauce Pre-Poo/Hot Oil Treatment for a healthy scalp, Marshall began her own natural hair journey and discovered products like these didn’t exist on the market.
“I found myself becoming a ‘product junkie’ as I exhaustingly searched for my ‘Holy Grail’ products,” she said. “This trial-and-error got old very quickly, especially when I noticed the toll that it was taking on my wallet.”
As an avid gardener and tech enthusiast, Marshall began to educate herself on effective hair ingredients and to her surprise, the more natural they were, the better her hair looked and felt. What makes Ecoslay different from other natural hair care companies is the way Marshall pays all of her knowledge forward. The brand lists product ingredients and additionally explains their purpose.
The Side-Benefit of Employing Others
Despite her success, Marshall manages to stay grounded following four core principles that touch upon education, health and wellness, respecting the environment and respecting humanity. She also feels that it’s her responsibility to share her knowledge with others that extends beyond hair care, which is why she takes a mentorship approach to her business leadership. She feels if she can achieve the American dream, anyone can.
“I consider Ecoslay as more than just a job for my staff—it’s a launching pad for all of the wonderful endeavors coming their way,” Marshall explained. “I take every opportunity to share my wins and losses and encourage them along their own journeys.”
Founded by Adria Marshall in 2015, the hair line —based on homemade products for her own naturally, curly style—has grown to 30 retailers across the globe and has received quite a following from those with curly and wavy hair textures. No matter how much her business grows, one aspect remains the same. Each product is still handmade in her kitchen using carefully chosen and thoroughly-explained ingredients—no labs, no factories and no warehouses. The result is hair care that’s as innovative as it is natural and sustainable.
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