Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of CurlShoppe
Hey, it's Nat! Officially named Natasha Courtney Sheppard, a girl who loves all things curls, fitness and business! Eldest of 4 to my younger siblings, and Godmother of 2. I've started 3 businesses so far, starting with CurlShoppe, and now also Hustl Works. You can say I've always been somewhat of a "serial entrepreneur" and always had a passion for both technology and business. I'm super outgoing (like honestly, I'm 98% extraverted) and love being outside of "the norm". Fun fact: I'm a certified Project Management Professional (aka I get sh*t done and solve problems).
Now let's talk hair.. Brace yourself, this is a long one!
I struggled with achieving my true curls my whole life (until CurlShoppe). Being raised by my British-born Jamaican mother, the easiest thing was a puff and twists until I got older and my Mom relaxed my hair to make styling easier. I always thought my hair was straight, and at most a "wave" since whenever I tried to wear my hair "natural" (or so I thought), it never turned out right. Through many relaxers and weekly wash-blowdry-straighten routines, my hair was truly damaged. In 2009 I cut my hair off in hopes to look like the always trendy Rihanna. Instead of going edgy, I wanted to go natural but without the plethora of YouTube videos, blogs and information there is available today, I just didn't know how to take care of my natural hair properly and fell back to the "creamy crack".
As the years went by, the natural hair community grew rapidly and with a new found confidence, in September 2013, I decided to start transitioning (by growing out my relaxer aka letting my natural hair grow in). Twist outs, braid outs, bantu knots, flexi-rods, you name it! However when my new growth came in, I started to see actual curls coming through, even though my Mom said I didn't have curls and never would (she definitely knows how much of a lie that was LOL, and now loves my curls and her own).
It honestly all started when I decided I simply couldn't resist the urge anymore to just cut all my hair off (aka the "big chop"), in June 2014, so I could be a true “curly girl” (after having been 8 months post-relaxer). After countless hours of watching youtube videos, reading blogs, and researching sites, I got my healthy hair on track and finally discovered my curls (this was after thinking I didn’t have any because I straightened my hair so much for so long, I didn’t know any better). I started sharing my journey (via blogging, YouTube and Instagram) and continued learning until I became more confident in myself and embracing my new found natural hair. To be honest, I started off by selling another company’s hair pills and imported them into Canada. One of the first things I did was register the business, start building the website (shoutout Shopify - still holding CurlShoppe down 5 years later), start the social media presence and off to the races! But after playing around with ingredients myself, researching science blogs and forums and making my own formulas, I realized that people were buying my products and that gave me so much confidence! I knew I was onto something.
I just wanted to be able to pick up a product, look at its ingredients and actually understand what was in it. I wanted others to know that the company they were buying from understood the natural hair community and what they go through to take care of their hair. Something both Row and I take pride in. The original goal for CurlShoppe was to simply provide Canadians the same great quality products at affordable prices. That’s when I asked Row to partner with me in the business and we got to work! Even though the strategy took a pivot - from selling other company products to making and selling our own - the goal remains the same :)
Chief Visual Officer and Co-Founder of CurlShoppe
Hey, it’s Row here! My full name is Rowan McAnoy, but Row is what my close friends and family call me and if you’re now a part of the CurlShoppe family, feel free to call me Row as well. I’m a proud biracial woman known for my big curly locks, but hair is only one of the things I’m passionate about!
I grew up in Toronto, Canada and truly love my city. There’s something for everyone - Toronto represents just about every culture from around the world - from a growing art and music scene, popular sports teams, city-wide festivals, world-class dining and everything in between. Growing up, I loved the art scene, often visiting galleries and museums and dabbling in different art fields myself. I enjoy painting in my spare time (although that’s rare these days) and have explored photography, art direction and graphic design. I’m currently learning about Web Design and can’t wait to add that to my skill set. My love of art and design was a huge influence when it came to the creative for the CurlShoppe brand from the website, social media accounts and product labels to photoshoots and videos.
When I’m not happily in creative mode for CurlShoppe, I can be found at my 9-to-5 (yes, I still work full time….for now), working as a Business Analyst for the Royal Bank of Canada. Hey, it surprises me too! But I really enjoy using the analytical side of my brain in addition to my artistic side. I was literally the kid in high school that WANTED to take AP Calculus (math class) and yet, also making sure I could take Visual Arts so I could paint on giant canvases. Once work is done I enjoy hanging out with my friends and family, or squeezing in some “me time” to binge-watch my fave tv shows (right now, obsessed with Game of Thrones). While my life right now is pretty hectic, I love every part of it, plus I get to work with Natasha, my friend and now business partner at CurlShoppe.
Now let’s talk hair! I love changing things up and trying new looks, which can often be harmful to curls so I’ve learned to slow it down over the years. I’ve had blonde, orange, red, deep purple and black curls (and that’s just within the last year - Lol!). I’ve had my long natural curls, relaxed wavy hair and even a extremely short tapered curly look. My hair journey has had lots of ups and down as I didn’t always love my curls, but now I wouldn’t trade my curls for any other. Growing up I had no idea how to style or take care of my hair other than to slick it back into a giant ponytail. I eventually started to dislike my hair since I didn’t know how to properly style it or what products to use. Additionally, almost all of my friends had either wavy or straight hair, whether it was naturally straight or permed straight so I was the oddball out most of the time. It was in high-school when I finally made the decision to relax my hair so it would become those loose waves I had always dreamed of. After relaxing my hair, I thought my waves were perfect... until it started to grow out. My tighter natural curl pattern wasn’t mixing well with my new loose waves and apparently my hair felt the same way, as eventually the relaxed hair started to break off.
Most people probably would've been devastated, but I have always been very carefree when it comes to my hair. So what does a carefree person do when their hair starts to break off? Chop it all off, obviously. Growing out my hair was a long and tedious process with what seemed like an extremely long "awkward phase", but it gave me a fresh start and a chance to really learn the best way to take care of my curls and to in turn, love my curls.
I met Natasha in University and we became instant friends. Nat was slowly creating what would become CurlShoppe today but at that time, she began by re-selling other products that were hard to get in Canada. Seeing a gap in the marketplace, she began trying to formulate her own products and would often ask me to test them out for her. She stopped re-selling other products and started to think about selling her own line. At first I was happy to just test the products and offer my opinion but it didn’t take long before Nat and I realized we were a perfect fit for working together - Nat could focus on running the company and I could take care of all the creative elements. I officially joined the CurlShoppe family as partner, co-owner and Chief Visionary Officer in 2016. Shortly after we launched our first collection of hair products “Coconut Is Everything” in July 2016 and the rest is history.