By Demi Vaughn
MEET VICTORIA DAVIS. she’s the founder and creator of Make it Classy, a do-it-yourself (DIY) beauty box for women from all backgrounds and ethnicities. Davis developed the idea based on the high demand for cleaner and sustainable beauty products. Davis is a firm believer in plant-based beauty and understands the need for healthier products in the beauty community.
Indiana Minority Business Magazine: What is Make it Classy? And how did you come up with the idea?
Victoria Davis: I started my blog ClassyCurlies in 2010, at the time it was a way for me to show my hair journey. I was starting to become very particular about what products I was using for my hair and skin. I like to know the ingredients in everything, whether it’s beauty care products or food, and I turned everything around. The more I got into that I found out our beauty products are full of trash. And we wonder why we have different skin conditions and cancers down the line, and it’s because we’ve been using these products for years and it catches up to us.
From there I started doing a lot of DIY recipes on my blog and it blew up over time. It was just a way for me to write everyday, and talk about plant-based beauty. I started having a few readers here and there, and then I started getting 80,000 readers. I had a lot of women asking me about my DIY recipes and wondering how they could make it and what was in it. I think it’s really easy for people to develop a hair care line that’s already finished, because you can just tell people to go to the store and buy it. But, for me, I really want people to know my process of it, and to know exactly what’s in it.
Make it Classy came about because I had so many women asking me what’s in the recipe. I would tell them I got my aloe vera from Whole Foods or this ingredient from another place. And there’s also ingredients I use like nettle leaf and tulsi (also called holy basil) and women would ask, ‘What’s that?’ Women would not know what these things are. So, it’s another way to expose people to different herbs, and things that can help your body not just internally but for beauty purposes, too.
I started wondering how I could get these ingredients to people. Some women would say they didn’t have a Whole Foods or Target in their area. And, some would say they didn’t have any time to go get the ingredients. At first I was going to just ship it to them in boxes and envelopes. But I’m very particular about presentation, and I wanted this to have its own personality and its own flair, and I obviously wanted to tie it back to ClassyCurlies.com because that’s what started this whole thing. So that’s how I got Make it Classy and the pink colors because it goes along with ClassyCurlies.com.
IMBM: Do you think products in the Black community are targeted with chemicals and cancerous products the most?
Davis: They could be, but I don’t think only Black brands are targeted. There are some brands that are understanding that there’s a need for clean and sustainable products. Some people are catching that wave, but the traditional hair and skin care brands don’t care. They just want a cheap label on the front of it. They’ll say it’s all natural, and they’ll even make the colors green and leafy to look earthy, but it’s full of stuff. I do think it could be a situation where they do target minorities, but it’s a problem across the board.
IMBM: What challenges did you face starting your brand?
Davis: One challenge was explaining the concept to people. Because, it’s such a new concept and there aren’t a lot of products out there like this. A lot of people don’t understand it, and they would ask if the products were already put together or if they would have to put it together themselves. The easiest way for me to explain it to people is to compare it to Hello Fresh and Blue Apron because those are the same concepts. You get ingredients and an instruction card, and then from there you create it. Another challenge was trying to figure out what would be the first three recipes I made for people. So, it was difficult trying to choose which ones met their demands. I have a Facebook group and podcast for my blog, and I asked them what DIY products would they want to make, and the most requested one was a hair conditioner. And, another challenge was warming this up to people and explaining to them that this is a box for all women.
My ClassyCurlies blog was born off of the fact that I’m a Black woman and my hair journey. And that’s fine. It’s still going to remain that but while I was doing all the DIY stuff on my blog I was also teaching classes around the city. From those classes, I learned that this is not for a particular hair texture. Women from all backgrounds were able to use my products.
IMBM: What are the three recipes you decided to start with?
A: There are three different boxes, and they all look the same on the outside. Each box is named after a woman. There’s a herbal hair rinse (Herbal Ebony) lavender rose water (Romantic Rosie) and clay hair and face mask (Loyal Leah.) Each box includes a recipe card and a QR code to scan to watch video tutorials and also an audio track of me talking more about the ingredients, and why they’re important for you to use. You also get a welcome card that’s like a personal note from me. The ingredients are individually packaged. That’s done purposefully just in case you get a box and it includes an ingredient you’re allergic to you can easily get rid of it and not have to worry about if it touched other ingredients.
IMBM: What advice would you give someone who wants to start their own business or blog?
Davis: I would tell them to make sure they researched their market to understand who their audience is. If you don’t understand that you will waste so much money and time. Really find your tribe of people who will understand your content, product or blog and find out what they want and cater to them. A lot of us try to guess what our audience wants, but the best way to find out is to just ask them. I