Put your hands together for two black entrepreneurs putting their heads together to cross-promote their newly patented personal care devices! Inventors Ceata Lash and Joshua Esnard are both trying to take the struggle out of haircare while Black: Lash’s PuffCuff—a hair clip specifically designed to be non-damaging to curly and textured hair—helps to create and hold in place buns and ponytails or simply push hair back off of the face. Meanwhile, Esnard’s creation, the Cut Buddy, provides the perfect guide for the at-home shape-up, working equally well for hairlines and beards.
These two smart inventions are riding the wave of the natural hair movement buoyed by the flood of DIY info on social media platforms. The cultural demand for natural hair products landed the two of them a feature on Shark Tank and verification as vendors on Amazon, the portal through which much of the world’s retail now flows at an estimated $136 billion a year.
Today, Mr. Esnard, 30, has a reported $700,000 worth of the online sales revenue stream in partnerships with eBay and Amazon. The three-piece Cut Buddy kit retails at $14.99, yielding a hefty profit margin for its owner. Juggernauts like this are rarely seen in the personal care arena; for Mr. Esnard, the blessing of mentorship from Shark Tank regular and serial entrepreneur Daymond John (founder of FUBU) propelled his business beyond his wildest dreams.
Mrs. Lash founded PuffCuff in 2013 with husband and CEO Garrett Lash. Despite a three-year head start, her strong but lightweight plastic clamps, priced from $16.49 to $49, have yet to reach the same heights as the Cut Buddy. So far, The PuffCuff has a robust social media following of 66k and a YouTube video rapidly approaching 250k views, but as she shared in PuffCuff’s official press release, “One of the biggest pain points about being a first-time entrepreneur is finding entrepreneurial mentors who …