Hi curl friend! I'm Donna, The Curl Next Door™.
Grassroots curly girl turned curl specialist, curlpreneur, stylist educator, and curl products retailer & ex-wholesaler.
If you’re a curly girl, this 2 minute read could change your life...
In 2018 a few things happened.
I decided enough was enough; I had to make peace with my own naturally curly hair.
Because I'd often blow-dried my hair straight in the past anytime it was over a few inches long, by the time it reached shoulder length the curls I hoped to reconnect with weren't the broad bouncy ringlets I'd had as a youngster.
Instead, they were disappointingly lank, ratty and thin, or dry, flyaway and frizzy.
Over the years I've shared the same tears and fears that many curlies have had - frustrations with frizz, triangle tangles, disparaging comments, cuts designed to 'make my hair curl', wistful imaginations of styles found in hair salon magazines (only to mean that 'life' had to be avoided at all costs to maintain that false veneer), and relative estrangement from the mainstream hair industry.
Unable to find professional guidance from anyone who really knew curls, I’d take the pixie dive all over again.
On July 11th 2018 I took a deep breath and made a personal declaration to embrace my curls, naturally.
I was a grassroots curly girl at the time, looking around the internet for help...like many of us do, or did at one stage. But instead of following untrained curly hair influencers, my interest was piqued around the huge worldwide shift in conversation where the natural hair movement, The Curly Girl Method and the rise of desire for authenticity were converging, cross-pollinating and creating a grassroots swell of demand for better natural texture experiences.
It became clear to me that there was an emerging niche internationally, of curl specialist stylists, curl specialist educators and curl product manufacturers answering this grassroots demand.
And I saw that neither this niche, nor it's offerings, were being embraced here in Aotearoa, NZ.
I decided to so something about this.
Since then I've been a curl on a mission.
Bringing together life experience, entrepreneurial skills, a background in education, customer service and performance, combined with my passion for inclusion and excellence, my mission has been to to build a curl infrastructure in NZ in a way that would make a lasting change for the generations of curls to come.
'The Curl Next Door™' was born. I began a Directory showcasing educational opportunities available in this niche, and a space for listing any stylist in NZ who had done these. I sparked conversations with educators, asking what would it take to bring them here to NZ, and began posting about the 'curl specialist' niche to get stylists to see the demand from the grassroots.
Seeing that more social proof was needed to gain attention from the salon industry here, I began answering the demand for Curl Lessons and initiated Curl Workshops all over the North Island, which in turn also served to empower curlies with their own curl care.
In 2019, I opened Curls Naturally™, NZ's first dedicated online shop for a variety of internationally-grassroots-trusted curl products used in the curl specialist niche.
The grassroots demand for the niche continued to grow, and what I was doing began to draw attention from hairdressers.
Then one email later and Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook" and The Curly Girl Method, suggested I learn under her at her CurlyWorld Masterclass, to cut curly hair. (#lifechanging)
I came back to NZ and began to be swamped with demand to cut curlies' hair, all over NZ.
Since then I've been running... with scissors.
Now I have my own private curl studio in New Plymouth to which curlies from all over NZ travel for their curl cuts, I work as a curl specialist educator comprehensively training stylists and salons, I have recently completed my time as wholesaler for Clever Curl and EverEscents products in NZ, I continue my work in my Directory, and I run Curls Naturally in between.
In addition to having been trained in person by Lorraine Massey, I have completed the Curly Hair Artistry Mastery Program by Curly Hair Artistry (USA), Level 2 Rëzo Cut education under Nubia Suarez, and Level 2 Education in tight curls through Cut It Kinky.
Just like curls - growth was bound to happen!
And only the best will do when it comes to curls, right!