Walker’s Legacy Profiles recognize unique women of color in business who embody the legacy of Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire. In this installment, meet Vecoya Greene.
When scrolling through Vecoya Greene’s Instagram, one phrase comes to mind: #hairgoals. If you don’t already know Vecoya from her modeling or acting portfolio, you may recognize her brainchild, Love the Hair You Wear, an annual summertime event in Washington, D.C. targeted to the natural hair community.
Through creativity, leadership and social media engagement, Vecoya has intersected her journey as a naturalista with her journey as an entrepreneur. We were fortunate enough to sit down with Vecoya and get insight on her path to success.
What is Love the Hair You Wear?
Love the Hair You Wear is campaign and annual event that encourages the natural hair community to come together to learn more about their hair. It promotes self-esteem and creates networking opportunities for young professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs. Every summer, I host Love the Hair You Wear at the Blind Whino in Washington, D.C. The event features vendors, hair models, natural hair tutorials, panels featuring bloggers and hair stylists, an amazing DJ and all around good vibes.
What inspired you to use your natural hair journey as a platform for entrepreneurship?
After going natural in 2009, I became inspired by the versatility of natural hair. I took risks with my new look; trying different styles, colors, and cuts. As I spoke with friends and family who also transitioned to natural hair, I realized many of them were not enjoying the journey or fully embracing their natural hair, so I wanted to do something about it. Everyone’s hair is different, and that’s what makes us beautiful. It’s important to me that women understand that.
For many women of color, hair is inevitably linked to self-image. If women of color are uncomfortable or unsatisfied with the way their hair looks they may suffer from low self-esteem which negatively affects mental and physical health. How do you think Love the Hair You Wear can change how women see themselves?
My hope is that my campaign can promote positive self-image and self-love. I was inspired to develop a platform that would not only encourage others to love themselves but also foster collaboration in the natural hair movement. Gathering naturals in an upbeat environment gives us a chance to have fun, exchange best practices and appreciate our individuality.
Some may argue that “going natural” is no longer a movement because it seems like being natural way of life. Even the recently crowned Miss U.S.A., Kára McCullough who is from Washington, D.C., rocked her natural hair while winning the title. What are your predictions for the future of the natural hair movement?
Natural hair has definitely taken over, but even after eight years, I am still learning. When I first went natural there were a few unhealthy things I did to my hair, that I definitely wouldn’t do now. The future of natural hair is not just about being natural but understanding how to have healthy hair.
Love the Hair You Wear boasts partnerships with companies and beauty lines like Lotta Body, Oyin Handmade, and Sweet Air Cosmetics. What’s your secret to creating a successful event and forging relationships to support its visibility?
My background is in project management and partnership cultivation. I used those skills to create a specialized movement for naturals in the Washington, D.C. metro area and beyond. After a year of planning and brainstorming, I hosted the inaugural Love the Hair You Wear in 2014. I developed partnerships by reaching out to businesswomen in the beauty and wellness industry. I kept seeing these same individuals at mixers and networking events, and our relationships grew organically. The hardest part about creating an event with my name on it is putting myself out there. It’s a vulnerable place to be but my passion for Love The Hair You Wear overcomes my fear of putting myself in the open for judgment.
You partner with other companies for giveaways and prizes that are distributed during the event but does Love the Hair You Wear have any merchandise or products of its own for purchase?
Love the Hair You Hair You Wear is next month, do you feel like giving a shameless plug?
Absolutely! With 150+ attendees and a feature in Essence, Love the Hair You Wear has been wildly successful over the past two years. I’m optimistic this year will be the best one yet! Join me and hundreds of other naturals and entrepreneurs at the Blind Whino in Southwest D.C. on Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM to embrace your natural beauty, support women in business and love the hair you wear. See you there!