CRWN Magazine exists to create a progressive dialogue around natural hair and the women who wear it. Lindsey Day, Founder, tells us about CRWN, what beauty means to her, and how she enourages other women to become entrepreneurs.
How do you think we can encourage more women to become entrepreneurs?
One of my favorite quotes is, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” So many talented young women and girls are encouraged to follow more traditional and so-called “secure” career paths as a first resort. Media plays a huge role in sparking dialogue about entrepreneurship and celebrating success stories – whether that’s in the form of a magazine, TV show, digital campaign or other medium. Beyond that, I believe entrepreneurs (male and female) have the responsibility to reach back and share their experiences and resources with promising young women who may never have considered entrepreneurship as a viable career path. No “program” can be expected to catalyze this shift in thinking. It starts with making ourselves available as mentors, and sharing the principles of ownership within our personal spheres of influence.
How has new media changed the marketing strategies used by your company (or other beauty companies)? What are some examples of really unique ways that you’re seeing people engage with their audience?
Digital marketing has completely revolutionized the business landscape. In the past, there was so much guesswork involved in marketing campaigns. Decisions were made based on gut feeling, intuition and personal preference; whereas now we can systematically test everything – creative, copy, product/market fit, etc. Marketers can drive traffic through a variety of paid marketing channels and make data-driven decisions in a fraction of the time it would have taken in the past. We also have so many free tools at our disposal, in the form of social media. If CRWN had existed even ten years ago, our direct-to-consumer business model just wouldn’t have been possible. So many brands are also effectively employing influencer marketing which brings products to life and allows consumers to experience them in a more organic context.
What does beauty mean to you and how did that impact how your product enhances the lives of women?
I have always been a girly girl when it comes to beauty. As a kid, there was nothing I loved more than playing dress up, playing in my mom’s makeup and rocking a mean side ponytail (it was the 90s!). I noticed early on, however, that my curly/frizzy hair was not considered “normal.” There were no beauty tips for me in magazines. My mom and I bought hair products from a very small “ethnic” section in the hair aisle, and it was literally impossible to purchase a product that defined my curls without being greasy and weighing them down. The products designed for Caucasian hair would turn it into a frizzy mess. Everyone in my family with very kinky hair opted for chemical relaxer to make it more manageable and “presentable.” However, this had a huge effect on lifestyle choices – taking a swim in the summer, going on a water ride at an amusement park, working out regularly, or even leaving the house when our hair wasn’t done. One can imagine the effect that has on a person’s daily choices over a lifetime.
We are now fortunate to live in a time when products and services for black hair are plentiful and women and men are embracing their natural textures. However, so many of us are now adults who are just now learning how to manage the hair that God gave us. CRWN exists to celebrate and edify black women, celebrate our diversity and immortalize this beautiful journey in print. CRWN serves as a reminder that our hairstory matters just as much as anyone else’s. We want to change the beauty standards for black women – for good.
What’s your favorite beauty trend right now?
I have to say the natural hair movement, although I see this phenomenon as much more than a trend. I think it’s more of a coming-of-age for the black community and a true acceptance of our innate beauty and strength as a people. It excites me that natural hair is now part of the pop culture conversation – as evidenced by recent mainstream magazine covers, Viola Davis’ Emmy speech, Beyonce’s recent Super Bowl performance, and more. I’m happy the media at large is finally shining a light on this part of black culture; and the CRWN team is devoted to representing our hairstory in the most authentic way possible.
What're some of your favorite products right now? (Makeup, hair, skincare, etc)
I have always been a Lancome girl – their mascara is the best! I’m into natural, DIY beauty; and have recently gotten really into coconut oil for my skin and hair. I also rotate between Mixed Chicks and Miss Jessie’s Multicultural Curls product for frizz-free, weightless curls.
Do you have a role model in the beauty industry? or who is your role model in entrepreneurship?
I’m a huge fan of Tristan Walker of Bevel (Walker & Co.) and Miko Branch of Miss Jessie’s, both entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. They both saw the severe lack of diversity in products available for people of color and laid the groundwork for entirely new product lines in mainstream retailers. They are revolutionizing an industry – Walker in a young, techy way and Branch with a traditional, methodical and more conservative approach. I really admire people who have the guts and vision to imagine what could be – then put in the blood, sweat and tears to prove the concept’s viability. Miss Jessie’s and Walker & Co. have paved the way for entrepreneurs of color who want a stake in this industry by serving our unique beauty needs.
What challenges are facing your business right now?
CRWN is a print magazine in a digital age. Many potential partners and advertisers immediately think, “Why print? Print is dead! It’s all about digital!” My partner, Nkrumah, and I are both digital strategists by trade, so we see CRWN as an ecommerce offering that just so happens to be a quarterly print magazine. CRWN was born in the digital age, and the digital tools at our disposal are far from an afterthought. Sales of niche indie magazines are actually on the rise, so it’s our job to consistently deliver content that best represents and serves our reader.
What is one thing you want women to take away from your company/brand?
We convey a beautiful aesthetic and celebrate the visible diversity of black women, but showcasing the beauty of our minds is even more important. We want to tell the world the truth about black women and dismantle the negative stereotypes that are often associated with our people. Our thoughts and perspectives are incredibly valuable, and our CRWN (hair) is simply the starting point for this dialogue.
What is one piece of advice that you can give to women who’d like to start their own business?
Start now. Today. Create the simplest iteration of your idea possible and figure out a way to get paid as soon as you possibly can. A great idea is a great idea, but a viable business is one that produces revenue and is scalable. Don’t get caught up in the notion that the money will come once you’ve built an empire – it can easily create a mental roadblock that is harder to conquer once time and energy have been invested. Create value, capture value, be insanely persistent and the rest will follow.