FAREWELL BAD HAIR DAYS!

WHAT IS ZURI LUXURY?
Zuri Luxury is a company that aims to boost African women’s confidence by building a global platform and brand which brings together leading hair and cosmetic products, expertise, technology and a community of passionate customers. The goal is to enable African women around the world to feel and look their best in all circumstances.

TELL US ABOUT ZURI LUXURY PRODUCTS
Our main products are top quality virgin wigs and hair extensions, which we have been supplying across Africa and internationally since the company’s inception. Zuri Elixir de Brilliance was our first hair care product, which came out in 2016. This is a serum that we specifically made to help our clients take better care of their extensions and keep them much longer. We then launched our Zuri Auto-curlers that allow curling hair of any texture in less time and with less risk of damaging the hair or getting burned.
In 2017, we launched our line of matte lipsticks of which the colors were specifically chosen to compliment all shades of black skin. In 2018, we are hoping to launch a line of liquid and powder foundations as well as concealers; once again, mainly focusing on the black skin.

THE BUSINESS BEING NEW IN RWANDA, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU HAVE FACED?
Other than various administrative challenges to set up new entities and work in different African countries, the greatest challenge we have faced so far has been financing. The lack of equity and debt financing in Africa for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) makes it terribly difficult for young business people like myself to make the required investment in the supply chain, IT and marketing and so to build the right brand and product line. SMEs are by their nature unable to provide the required collateral that large firms have in obtaining formal banking sector loans. This means that banks consider companies such as Zuri Luxury to be riskier to lend to and so make them more financially constrained.
In Rwanda particularly, it has been challenging to introduce lace hair systems to customers, as there seemed to be a misconception that wigs and weave damage our natural hair. Very slowly, people are starting to understand that; well installed and taken care of, they serve an entirely opposite purpose.

I UNDERSTAND HAIR EXTENSIONS ARE QUITE COSTLY, HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF THEM AT HOME?
How well you take care of your hair extensions will have a direct influence on how they will look and how long they will last. Firstly, depending on the texture of the hair, most hair should be brushed gently daily, starting from the bottom to untangle the knots, brushing higher and higher towards the root to avoid shedding. Curly textures should be kept moisturized using a serum such as our Zuri Elixir de Brillance or any leave-in curl activators to avoid drying, frizzing and tangling. Never brush curly hair unless it is wet and contains conditioner. Secondly, avoid putting excessive heat on the hair as this causes split-ends and breaks the hair. It is highly recommended to shampoo and condition hair extensions at least once a week. At Zuri Luxury, we recommend deep-conditioning in order to have even more healthy, heart-melting hair extensions.

ARE THERE ANY DISTINCTIONS WITHIN THE HAIR EXTENSIONS?
Hair extensions come in different qualities, textures, colors, installation systems etc. Firstly, there are synthetic and real, unprocessed human hair (commonly called Remy’s hair). Remy’s hair is the best type as the hair cuticles are intact, facing one direction and consist of cuts, which are the same length. This provides a smooth texture and allows the hair to last longer and style more naturally. Unlike synthetic hair, Remy hair can be styled using straighteners or tongs without damaging the hair and last much longer. Remy hair textures mainly depend on the origin of the hair. For example, Chinese hair tends to be straighter and silkier. Hair extensions also depend on the way they are to be installed on one’s head. Some come as weft, clip-ins, lace frontals, wigs, and closures etc.

WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I GET EXTENSIONS?
The basic things to know include the texture you want to get, the length, and the color.

HOW ARE EXTENSIONS APPLIED?
There are various methods to apply for hair extensions. The most popular methods in East Africa are weaving and ready-to-wear wigs but other methods include clip-ins, gluing, and Keratin bonds. It all depends on the look that the customer is going for and what is right for their hair.
However, the most important thing to know is the quality you want as this will be directly related to the price you will have to pay. Synthetic extensions are the most affordable, but they tangle easily and have a super high shine, which makes them look obviously unnatural. Non-Remy hair means it’s been processed either dyed or treated to change its texture so it’s also not ideal since it’s more damaged. As explained earlier, Remy or virgin extensions are the highest quality. They’re the closest to real hair, so they’ll hold styles and texture the same way and won’t shed as much as the cheaper options.

ARE THERE SPECIFIC EXTENSIONS DESIGNED FOR A SPECIFICOCCASION?
Not necessarily. This depends entirely on the look that the customer chooses for the occasion. That said, at weddings, for instance, most customers tend to go for lace wigs as this gives the most flexibility to change hairstyles between the day ceremony and the evening ceremony. Most brides are even starting to veer away from the traditional up-dos and taking more advantage of the flexibility that wigs provide in terms of length, textures, colors, etc.
Similarly, celebrities tend to go for wigs as their performances often require them to have at least three different hairstyles in one night. On the other hand, people who have activities that don’t allow them to change hairstyles often, weaves are advised as this is a semi-permanent installation system that usually only requires one trip to the hairdressers a month.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST?
How long extensions last depend entirely on how well they are taken care of and how they are applied. If one follows our advice on hair care, they can see them last for over a year. Hair extensions that are applied with glue will not last as long as the glue tends to stick to the extensions making them less re-usable.

ARE EXTENSIONS BAD FOR MY HAIR? WHY WEAR HAIR
EXTENSIONS?
Whether hair extensions are bad for one’s natural hair mainly depends on the method of application. Many protective hairstyles have been developed to enhance natural hair growth underneath extensions. For example, instead of leaving relaxed hair out at the front, there is a growing trend of using lace frontals and closures or even wigs to make sure that fewer chemicals and pressure are applied to one’s natural hair.

IS WEARING HAIR EXTENSIONS A WAY OF DENYING OUR NATURAL HAIR/ PREFERRING WHITE PEOPLE’S HAIR TO OUR OWN?
I beg to differ! The variety of textures of hair extensions available today shows that the need to wear hair extensions today is not linked to denying or rejecting one’s natural hair. In fact, in Africa, one of the most popular textures is Kinky hair (a best-seller at Zuri Luxury) which very much resembles afro hair. So in our experience, it is more about adding volume and length while growing one’s hair underneath the extensions.

RWANDA BEING A FAST GROWING ECONOMY IN THE WORLD, MANY YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ARE EMERGING, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE FELLOW WOMEN WHO WISH TO BECOME ENTREPRENEURS LIKE YOURSELF?
Five words: Belief, Care, Risk, Action, and Team! The first advice I’d give is to believe in oneself. If you believe that you can succeed, you’ll always find ways to do it! You also have to care about what you do. Considering the amount of time that it takes to run a successful business, the only way to find satisfaction in your work is if you truly care about it. The only way to know the outcome of one’s efforts is to take the risk to actually do it. There are many people out there with great ideas but only those who actually take action succeed! Finally, who you’re with is who you become. Always surround yourself with people who are the way you want to be and your common effort will boost your success.

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