By Marsha Nsiah
How it all began
I’ve always been very interested in hair. As a kid, I learned how to detangle, wash and style my thick Afro hair in mini plaits and twists (my mum's chosen protective style for me and my twin) when I was 9 years old. We’d use old school products like Motions, Blue Magic and Pink Oil.
As I got older and started shopping for my own products in the Black hair shops around London I noticed that they were all run by Asian men who had no real knowledge of the needs of Black hair. Not only that, but the spaces were often cramped with long, tall aisle of products, no natural light and dirty carpet. More like an uncared for warehouse than a regular high-street shop. This has been accepted as the norm and is still the standard hair care shopping experience for Black women. I wanted to change this.
In my teens, I became even more curious about how to care for my Afro hair and how to retain length. I started to discover the American YouTubers and blogs from women with Afro hair sharing their natural product recipes, styling tips & routines. And with the rise of influencers on Instagram & YouTube, I started seeing posts about new, healthier, Black-owned products gaining in popularity. Women were ditching relaxers and toxic ingredients, doing big chops or transitioning back to their natural hair. Many articles and videos I consumed talked about the high levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the traditional hair care products marketed towards Black women and also explained how big the Black hair market was. I thought, there needs to be more Black women controlling the market since we're the main consumers.
Black-owned online retailers, subscription boxes, a few brick & mortar stores, events and festivals started to crop up and become more well known. I wanted to do my bit by bringing all of these parts together with the knowledge I'd built up about hair care, into one dedicated space for Black women in the UK, especially. And that’s how The Spring was born.
Despite these advances, all the information we have at our fingertips and our “spending power”, I still feel that Black women’s hair and self-care is a deliberate afterthought in the Western world. I also realised that there was a gap in the market for a retailer solely selling ethical products, produced in a sustainable way to Black women.
My vision for The Spring is to create an oasis in the city. A beautifully designed wellness centre, where you can buy ethical self care products, socialise and enjoy the events on offer. A space where black women’s self-care & wellbeing is at the centre. It’s important to prioritise wellness from a holistic standpoint. Quality hair products that won’t harm our bodies or the environment is important but self-care extends to mind and body wellness and access to the right information. That's why we're building a wellness directory for Black women based in the UK and expanding into ethical skincare, hygiene products and more. I want The Spring to become the hub for all the incredible talent leading the way in ethical Black hair care, skincare and wellbeing, run by knowledgeable people providing the best service.
The Spring’s mission is to be a platform of information regarding Black women’s self-care & wellbeing. Connecting you with ethical products, certified specialists & wellness practitioners, salons, stylists and events.