The CEO and cofounder of Alikay Naturals was a 22-year-old college student when she first earned her Beauty Boss title. Eight years later, Rochelle Graham-Campbell’s empire continues to expand with her award-winning products, available at Target and CVS. Named a “black beauty pioneer” by the media, this wife and mother is shattering gender stereotypes and changing the beauty game around the globe.
Having earned both a loyal following and a social media stardom that have led to various TV appearances, Rochelle debunks the negative connotations associated with words like “kinky” or “coarse” by helping women to love and embrace their natural hair. Here, we chat with the boss about her rise in the natural hair movement.
Hype Hair: What are the top challenges for black female entrepreneurs?
Rochelle Graham-Campbell: Dispelling expectations set by others. Traditionally, we have been expected to play stereotypical roles in business that I am not afraid to challenge. I find myself constantly having to push more in corporate boardrooms to have my voice heard.
HH: You started as a beauty influencer. What did that experience teach you about beauty?
RGC: Embracing our own beauty begins with telling our own story and painting our own picture of real beauty. Which includes making the right hair-care decisions and getting to know your texture so you can identify the right moisture system and regimen for your hair type.
HH: While you have received numerous awards for your achievements, what is the most rewarding part about being a beauty boss?
RGC: Being able to use my platform not only to educate women on the importance of natural ingredients but also to show that we are beautiful the way we are.
HH: You have been an important part of a movement that continues to challenge the beauty industry. Did you know you would have so much success when you launched your first YouTube video in 2008?
RGC: No. I created my first product out of a personal need. My big chop is what initially lead to me documenting my journey. But after vowing to care for my hair natural- ly, I couldn’t find any chemical-free products that addressed the needs of diverse hair types, like my kinky hair. Following in my Jamaican herbalist grandmother’s footsteps, I began researching organic ingredients to help.
HH: Alikay continues to change the beauty landscape. How do you source your natural and organic
RGC: Standing by our promise of beauty without compromise, our family-owned business advocates for fair trade. Our formulation and ingredient-testing process at our Florida manufacturing facility ensures that there are no hidden substitutes.
HH: With 15 million views on your award-winning black-onyx77 YouTube channel, how has your background in influenced the brand’s growth?
RGC: As one of the first hair-care brands to connect with consumers through social media, our transparent approach encourages them to join our brand’s journey. Experiencing social media as an influencer and a brand owner gives me a unique perspective on the value of connecting directly with our community so that our brand evolves with their needs.
HH: What’s next?
RGC: Continuing to do what God leads me to do—and we’re using the same high-quality approach to develop a variety of new products.