Registered Nurse Alexis Stanley Launches Haircare Brand UniQurl To Suit Unique Kinks And Coils
Alexis Stanley doesn’t come across too many women like her atop beauty companies, but she’s out to change that. She’s launching haircare brand UniQurl with an ambitious mission to rectify stubborn strand problems and show the old beauty order can be challenged.
“My brand is a reflection of me. I want to highlight women who are curvy, who are darker-skinned and who have really textured hair,” she says. “I want to put my face on my brand. I want people to see me, even if I have to be a little bit outside my comfort zone, and see that beauty is more than just what people are used to.”
For almost 15 years, Stanley, a 33-year-old mom of three and registered nurse, shelved her dream of starting a beauty brand. She went into a practical profession and became a busy parent. But hair issues popped up – when she was a college student in 2005, her hair refused to grow past her neck, for example – and compelled her to research remedies (diligent attention to the ends proved effective), a preoccupation she enjoyed so much she began giving hair advice to other women on message boards.
In 2016, Stanley had an unfortunate visit to the salon that ultimately led to the creation of UniQurl. A stylist fried her hair in an ill-conceived attempt to straighten it. “It wouldn’t go back to curly and, after having long hair, it went back to neck length again,” recounts Stanley. “The products I was using weren’t suiting my needs, and I wanted to develop products that would suit my needs.”
“My brand is a reflection of me. I want to highlight women who are curvy, who are darker-skinned and who have really textured hair. I want to put my face on my brand. I want people to see me, even if I have to be a little bit outside my comfort zone, and see that beauty is more than just what people are used to.”
The next year, Stanley dove into haircare recipes. She tried a dozen formulas to arrive at the ideal one for UniQurl’s debut product, Supreme Moisture Leave-In Conditioner, which is currently on sale for pre-order at $14.99. Its concentrated formula contains water, conditioning agent behentrimonium methosulfate, aloe leaf juice, vegetable glycerin, honey, coconut and sweet almond oils, and marshmallow root and flax seed extracts, to name a few of the ingredients.
“The first formulas weren’t stable. They didn’t work. They mixed together well and, an hour later, they were separating. I would put it in my hair, and it would feel great, but it didn’t look right in the bottle. You couldn’t put it on the shelf,” says Stanley. “I was pretty adamant about using this group of ingredients, but I needed to put it together in a way that made sense, was stable and worked in your hair. I wasn’t about to put anything on the market until I got what a wanted.”
She finally achieved what she wanted by tinkering with ingredient measurements. Stanley touts the Supreme Moisture Leave-In Conditioner formula for ridding nasty knots while boosting hydration. “I wanted to create a double whammy that would do both of those things,” she says. “The formula is really clean, and that was another one of my focuses. I wanted to deliver a high-quality product with no harmful ingredients.”
“What makes my brand different and stand out is the fact that it is customer-centered. I put tips on Instagram, and I want to help women who may not even want to buy the product. They may not have the money, but they still need help with their hair. I’m not going to 100% focus on telling them to buy my product, and I think that will help me understand my customer better.”
Stanley envisions UniQurl’s core customer as a woman moving away from relaxers and seeking easy products for her hair. “She may not be 100% comfortable with her hair. She hasn’t 100% embraced her texture. She’s trying to figure out what makes it look right,” she says. “I want to make her feel comfortable with her texture and embracing her uniqueness.”
Speaking of uniqueness, Stanley thought of that quality as she considered names for her brand. The name she settled on is a mash-up of unicorn and curl spelled with a “q.” The colors incorporated into the packaging – predominately purple, pink, blue, white and orange – are associated with unicorns. Stanley was thrilled to give the brand levity amid its quest for serious results.
She plans to increase UniQurl’s assortment to six products by January. At that time, she expects to pursue professional beauty retailers such as Sally Beauty and mass-market chains such as Target. In a year from now, Stanley’s goal is for UniQurl to reach $200,000 in sales. In its second year in business, her goal is for the brand to hit $1 million. “I’m being conservative with that number. I know I can do more than that, but I just want to make sure I’m focusing on the right things,” she says. “Sales are great, and they’re a big priority, but, if I make sure everything is right, the sales will come.”
In discussing the right strategies for her brand, Stanley emphasizes her interest in staying connected to consumers. “What makes my brand different and stand out is the fact that it is customer-centered. I put tips on Instagram, and I want to help women who may not even want to buy the product. They may not have the money, but they still need help with their hair,” she says. “I’m not going to 100% focus on telling them to buy my product, and I think that will help me understand my customer better. Even if they don’t buy the product today or next month, they will remember that I helped them for free and, hopefully, one day, they’ll buy it.”
Feature photo credit: Short Stack Creative LLC