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Hidden Gems: Meet LaTresha Ellis of Hair Jikoo

Today we’d like to introduce you to LaTresha Ellis.

Hi LaTresha, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My story began over six years ago when I decided to come up with a solution to ease wash day tension in my home. I have three little girls with lots of hair and wash day at my house was truly a nightmare. The girls would argue and bicker about whose turn it was to go first, they would kick, scream and cry. I would have to struggle through the hair wash process all while trying to comfort the unlucky child who was reluctantly chosen to go first. It would cause so much negative energy in our home and create tension that would last the remainder of the day. I could never find a way to ease their discomfort and anxiety. By the time we were done, everyone in the house was frustrated, including my husband. My husband and I knew that something about this needed to change, so we began to seek to understand why this experience was so traumatic for our girls.

I reflected on my own experience as a young girl and remembered some of the awkward and uncomfortable positions that I would have to be in while getting my hair washed. I remembered that I didn’t like wash day either. Actually, I hated having to lean over the sink and was always nervous about soap getting into my eyes. I also remembered the way my mother would try to comfort me by talking me through the process, which was the only thing that made it bearable. I find myself doing the same thing for my girls and although it helps a little, the biggest problem I needed to solve was improving their level of comfort. I tried everything from a rolled-up towel, a pool noodle, leaning them over the sink and nothing worked.

I finally decided to step up and design a product that would make my girls more comfortable and would hopefully ease wash day tension in my home. I enlisted my husband who is a licensed Physical Therapist to assist me with this endeavor. During the designing phase, we focused on comfort and proper support. We went through countless prototypes and finally came up with a design that met all of our requirements.

While using the final prototype, we noticed a great decrease in the stress level in our home on wash days. We were absolutely convinced that we were on to something the day my baby girl happily volunteered to go first to get her hair washed. The girls were so relaxed they were falling asleep while getting their hair washed. This was a huge win for our family. I also found that my back was no longer hurting when I was done. I was able to easily work on washing their hair, all while maintaining proper standing posture.

At the time we came up with the original design, there was nothing out there like it. We felt that so many other families with small kids and similar wash-day struggles could greatly benefit from our creation. This product has truly helped our family wash day struggles and we hope it can help others as well.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I cannot say that this journey has been smooth at all. Throughout this process, I have experienced tremendous highs and lows and have endured many setbacks. I can honestly say that I have learned so much about myself that I did not know before. The patience, determination, and focus that was necessary to see this vision through to the end were very tough, to say the least.

One of my biggest struggles was not giving up and remaining determined despite things not working out the way I thought they should. This forced me to question if I truly believed in my dreams. I finally came to the realization that all things happen in due time and that I had to continue to be patient and focus on making the best possible product I could. I am proud of myself for all that I have accomplished on this journey. There are many more lessons to be learned, mistakes to be made, and obstacles to overcome. At the end of the day, I have learned to accept and embrace the struggles because they have not only inspired me to create a better product but have also made me a stronger person.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Hair Jikoo?
Hair has always been a focal point in African American homes. Getting our hair done by our mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin or friend is the foundation for how we feel about ourselves. In most cases, it’s the time where we are affirmed and told how beautiful we are. Whether you were getting hair pressed for Easter Sunday or going to the hairdresser with your mother (waiting for what feels like days to get your hair styled), hair is a pivotal way we connect. It’s our bonding time and I deem it to be sacred.

The word Jikoo is an African word that means to bond or to connect. Hair Jikoo is all about creating lasting positive memories with those you love. While these moments are very precious, if we aren’t careful, they can also be traumatizing times for our kids. I want to build a community where we are intentional about creating healthy bonds with our kids surrounding hair care. I understand that comfort is the number one reason both mom and kids struggle through wash day so I created The Shampoo Pillow to specifically address this issue. I wanted to offer a solution to guarantee ultimate comfort and support for everyone.

A lot of research went into our product design. From its ergonomic teardrop neck roll that provides support and proper spinal alignment to our choice of memory foam – for maximum comfort, we left no stone unturned. Other special product features include the soft high quality waterproof vegan leather, mesh pocket for storing, handle for easy – carrying, and the ability to fold and store away easily. In addition, our shampoo pillow was designed with love by a licensed physical therapist, no assembly required, just unfold and go. You get all this value at such a reasonable cost.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
Since this is a fairly new market, I see a ton of growth potential. I’m proud to be part of the group of African American women stepping up to create solutions to solve this age-old problem. Our girls don’t have to suffer through wash day the way we did.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Bold as a Lion Stuios DJeromeSmedley

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