In 2013, author, and lawyer Chris-Tia Donaldson added business woman to her title, and developed Thank God It's Natural hair care products. She hasn't looked back since.
…. It was a problem that I felt I had to deal with personally. I was relaxing my hair, it was always looking crazy, spending a ton of money, and I was like...There has to be products for women to wear their hair in a kinky curly fashion, and still look professional, sophisticated, and polished. I found there was a lack of products on the market when it came to that regard. And I thought "Hey...what can I do to develop that?"
When perusing any new endeavor, there will be people who doubt you and will try to make you question yourself. Chris-Tia dealt with this first hand when developing her business from the ground up. In the beginning she made her natural hair products in her kitchen, and sold them out of her car. People made it seem that because she went to Harvard for economics and law, she was “too good” to be selling products from her car.
I had to just work through my own fear, in terms of not feeling like I knew enough to be running this company, or had the background in the beauty or chemical industry. And yes, there was a time when people looked down on me. Kind of like, “You went to Harvard and you’re selling Shea Butter at the park, like what’s that all about?” And so I had to just kind of focus on the small wins that we were getting: the customers that were sticking by us, that thanked us for creating these products, and that’s what motivated me."
While building her business, Chris-Tia worked as a lawyer for a couple of years which allowed her to invest financially in TGIN. Donaldson described her time working simultaneously as a lawyer and CEO as "intense", but appreciated the fact that it allowed her to be financially stable and expand TGIN. Allowing her freedom to invest in her passion instead of having to live off the salary and profit herself.
While growing her business, Chris-Tia had a major setback. A month before a scheduled meeting to expand her products to be sold in stores world wide, she was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer. She spoke of her battle with strength, and took a life lesson from the struggle.
I had an amazing team when I was going through treatment that was able to hold it down... It’s the kind of thing that has been such a part of me, our customers have been such a part of me, this notion of black beauty, this whole notion of natural products is what I do. And I had to learn that when I had cancer, I HAD Cancer I was NOT Cancer... Yes, it was a challenging point of my life and I refuse to let it define me…talking to people and prayer and what have you, it’s like okay, this hair thing, this is me, this is what I do, Cancer or no Cancer."
Thank God It’s Natural has a main consumer group of women of color ranging between 24 and 44 years of age.
Natural hair care company, Shea Moisture recently featured an ad that discussed hair hate. Many women of color had a problem with this ad, feeling Shea Moisture was ignoring their core audience and supporters of black women with kinky curls, and instead featuring images that reflect societal standards of beauty.
Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook were in an uproar after seeing the ad, and were very vocal about their opinions online. Shea Moisture took to social media to apologize for their ad, and to the many supporters they offended.
She urges they don't to fall into the trap of being active on many different social media platforms and get distracted by followers and likes, instead of focusing on making money and driving revenues. Her last piece of advice would be to hold yourself accountable by writing out your goals every 90 days.
Thank God It’s Natural has a bright future ahead with plans to expand to even more stores. They will be traveling around the country to visit natural hair communities while promoting their products. After returning from Paris in June, and the Essence Fest in late June/ early July, their next stop will be Vegas, Dallas, and Washington D.C.
TGIN is in the midst of working on new products, including a mousse, hair milk, and some new serums. Their main focus is making sure moisture is locked in the hair, so each new product will continue to place moisturizing the hair in the forefront. Some of the new serums will be dual skin and hair care products, able to be used for hot oil treatments, overnight deep conditioning, and even as a moisturizer to reduce dry skin.
Finally, Chris-Tia gives five pieces of advice to those women who have thought of going natural, but always let that little voice in their head hold them back:
You can keep up with Thank God It’s Natural on their website, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.