Natural-Hair Entrepreneurs Cash In on Guidance

For these black women, styling expertise plus the Internet equals a profit.

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Maeling Tapp (the New York Times)

The New York Times' Jamila Bey reports that as more black women decide to wear their hair natural, many are heading to the Internet for help. For entrepreneurs with expertise in beauty and technology, this means there's money to be made. Check out the endeavors of three black women cashing in on their styling savvy.

Maeling Tapp: A 25-year-old Ph.D. candidate in materials science and engineering at Georgia Tech who was tired of searching YouTube for inspiration for her newly natural hair, Tapp decided to create her own channel, Natural Chica. "I thought, 'Why don't I just document my own journey to help keep track of what's working for me?' " she said. "I wanted to contribute to the wealth of information that's out there." She says the channel's corresponding blog, NaturalChica.com, attracts enough page views that she has sold advertising and made more money through that venture than she would earn with a typical work-study program.

Alicia Nicole Walton: Three years ago Walton, a psychotherapist, launched CurlyNikki.com. She wanted to create a place for women to gather online and chat about their hair issues, and to be an advocate for women who feel social pressure to have their hair straightened. "My career as a therapist is very important to who I am, and what I do even with my persona as CurlyNikki," she said. "It's called hair therapy." She has since added a mobile-phone app, and made as much in 2010 from advertising on the site as she did from her therapy work.

Kim Love: This 34-year-old left a six-figure management-consulting career to devote her energy to creating how-to videos on natural hair and selling tools and accessories through an online store, LuvNaturals.com. One video, about how to make hair conditioner with castor oil and aloe vera juice, got around a million hits. Now sales for products she recommends go through the roof. "I decided that if I'm becoming a brand, I'm going to control my image," she told the Times. "And I'm going to earn money doing it."

Read more at the New York Times.

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