In an industry where Black people dominate as consumers, we are still finding that there’s still a small amount of Black CEOs. But have no fear; everyday an idea is hatched and a business that makes room for representation in the hair care industry is born. In 2021, we reported on college graduate Amber Byrd, creator of the “BraidAid,” a precision tool for hair stylists. This innovative tool was a total game changer, but what about when you’re ready to take your braids out?
Meet Natasha Anderson, the mother of five who decided to create The Original Unbraider in 2004. It looks similar to a small comb but can take out six to eight braids at one time while combing your hair out in the process!
Anderson worked closely with a plastic manufacturer in Taiwan and even got the opportunity to bring her family along to watch her idea come to life. Once the product was created, she began pushing them at hair shows, beauty salons, and mall kiosks.
Unfortunately, after Anderson’s mom passed away, she had to press pause. But in 2021, The Original Unbraider returned with new management: Khadija Imara, Anderson's daughter. Imara's strategy was to make a video on TikTok about the product, which gained millions of views until they were sold out!
@the_unbraider Who’s ready for “The Original Unbraider” ??!! 🤎🖤 • • • • • • #labraider #houstonbraider #knotlessbraids #naturalhair #4chair #4typehair #lemondebraids #braids #protectivestyles #braider ♬ original sound - The UnBraider
Imara told AfroTech, “The response has been amazing and I’ve had an amazing mentor to be able to follow in her footsteps and she provided me with a blueprint. It was just about utilizing today’s time and the resources and the tools that we have. And the lesson learned was how to approach with a systematic approach, the social media strategy.”
These two aren’t only working hard to make the braid takedown process easy, but they're also empowering the community and showing young Black women what ownership looks like in industries where there is little representation.
The Original Unbraider is next level and will prove its usefulness in many Black homes around the world. Imara shared there’s already high demand for the product in the U.K., the Caribbean, and Canada. Visit their website to see when they’ll be back in stock!
Photo: Natasha Anderson and Khadija Imara