Her name is Kelechi Yibo-Koko but you may be hard-pressed to hear anyone refer to her thus; for natural hair lovers and aficionados in Port-Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria and on Social Media, YellowSisi has become the brand name synonymous with incomparable natural haircare and its founder proudly sports her supple natural hair styled in bold, dramatic and attractive twists, loops, coils and buns.
How did she harness and spin something as basic as…caring for your hair into a fast expanding brand? Could it be her effusive passion for this whole business of promoting the beauty and awesomeness of natural hair? Well, read on and find out!
And when I said fast expanding? I meant it; from consulting and supplying natural hair products, Kelechi Koko has berthed the YellowSisi Natural Hair Lounge in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State which provides Natural Hair consultancy, care, products and styling.
Hair, sweaters, books, mobile technology, rabbit farming and a million and one other ideas; the world is your oyster…impact it!
KA: What’s in a name? Why YellowSisi?
YellowSisi originated from a brainstorming session between my husband and I.
KA: The natural hair movement is presently alive and well in Nigeria; what clued you in? Why and when did you decide to take the plunge?
I went Natural about 4 years ago and it really came from me wanting healthier hair and doing some research into how I could achieve that.
KA: Is this a fad? Is it something that is ‘in’ at the moment, but may soon become ‘one of those things?’
Well if it’s a fad, it’s certainly not slowing down just now! I think a lot of women are getting more curious and discovering this new found love for their hair. It’s like a new relationship… exciting with endless possibilities!
KA: What does the ‘YellowSisi’ brand represent now? What’s it vision and mission?
YellowSisi is primarily about promoting and supporting other women (and men) in caring for their hair. We hope that in showing others how we care for our hair, they can in turn be inspired to do the same for themselves and also for their children.
KA: What or where do you hope to have taken this enterprise in another 5 years?
That would be telling wouldn’t it [Laughs]. I’ll say this – the possibilities are endless and we are brimming with excitement!
KA: What are the challenges you have encountered thus far?
We live in a country that has completely embraced the ease of hair care with weaves, relaxers and extensions. It is sometimes not easy to make people see that other options are there especially because of the bad childhood experiences many will tell you about. It’s a constant challenge but we’re here to offer the information and of course the proof in our own hair.
KA: Clue us in- what really does it take to be an Entrepreneur? Especially in women and fashion related businesses?
Like with any business: Know your goals, identify your market, be realistic and do your research! Businesses don’t grow overnight. They are built… so be prepared for some setbacks but ultimately, know your goals!
KA: Has social media assisted in propagating the gospel of YellowSisi?
We have a Facebook page – www.facebook.com/yellowsisinaturalhair and a Twitter Handle @YellowSisiLive – and it has really been essential to connecting with other naturals as well as building our audience. It also serves as a place for people starting their hair journey to reference photos and articles we’ve written. So yes, Social Media had been helpful indeed.
KA: What is the best advice you would give to encourage a woman to maintain her natural locks?
Keep it simple and learn what works for you!!!
KA: Folks- men and women- tend to get aggressive in demanding that ladies hold on to their natural hair…is this your stance? Has a woman committed a mortal sin by fixing weaves or adding relaxers to her hair?
I’ve had weaves, braids and relaxers for years and years. It is a personal choice… so no; I encourage everyone to do what works for them.
KA: Women decry the time and energy expended in caring for natural hair as well as the expensive products and charges at natural hair salons; shouldn’t going natural make life easier and reduce the strain on the pockets?
It does take time and does require patience. As for the products like I mentioned, know what works for you. You really don’t need to buy every single product out there to get lush hair. There are a lot of locally sourced products that will save lots of money. Keep it simple.
KA: What’s going down at the YellowSisi Natural Hair Lounge?
The YellowSisi Natural Hair Lounge offers Natural Hair Consultancy, Care, Products and Styling from professionals who have been trained to handle natural hair with the gentle care it deserves. It will be the hotspot in Port Harcourt for Team Natural to connect, treat and style their hair in a cheery, welcoming environment.
KA: Sometimes, purpose is just about passion- you are obviously very passionate about what you do; what advice would you proffer to young women on how to discover their purpose and passion; and make money out of it in the bargain?
I’ve pretty much summed this up earlier on… Know your goals. Research and find people to bounce off ideas with. The spark could come from just having that one conversation and before long, you’ll be on your way!
KA: Life is…
Grand. Live it.
KA: Inspire young Africans in one sentence.
Work Hard and you will reap its benefits.