When she entered the Applied Entrepreneurship Program (AEP) at Ivy Tech Community College, Heather King had the goal of producing a line of hair care products that reduce plastic waste. However, once she interviewed over a dozen multicultural women and men regarding their hair care, she realized that the real desire of these individuals was to embrace their natural hair so it would grow longer and fuller. With the popularity of relaxers declining, she realized that most had no clue on where to start regarding caring for their natural hair. Using relaxers is a process that permanently straightens hair, but involves dangerous chemicals that can cause permanent damage to the scalp. Because of this knowledge, Heather decided to shift her business model to providing multicultural women and men with natural hair products, as well as teaching and empowering them to feel confident within themselves on how to care and maintain their textured crowns.
Heather’s product line, Grace Your Texture, was inspired by Heather’s own experience with natural hair, which began when she was 22. She decided to stop getting relaxers and have the “big chop”, which meant cutting her hair to a very short length in order to return to her natural texture. As a young woman, she had little knowledge of how to care for her natural hair because she had been using relaxers since the age of nine. This affected her confidence, but also gave her the determination to learn all she could about how to take care of her natural hair in a healthier way.
To begin, Heather watched numerous online tutorial videos and read as much as she could regarding the science and chemical makeup of hair products. She learned what products were natural and healthy, as well as the products that mixed well together and those that didn’t. Heather also learned the many different hair types, how each reacts to separate product ingredients and how every individual's textured hair is unique to them and must be treated as such.
As a student at the Garatoni School of Entrepreneurship, Heather was given the tools to learn and grow her business. Ivy Tech also connected Heather with powerful resources in her own backyard that helped fund her entrepreneurial spirit. First, she won $300 through the Notre Dame Ideas that Matter scholarship. She then won $3,000 additional dollars through the Awesome Foundation and the Proof of Concept Fund. Since Heather was working part-time, she could spend the money she earned on necessary bills, while also growing her business with the scholarship funds. This took a large burden off of her shoulders while she was developing her products.
Heather also praised the faculty at Ivy Tech Community College, like her advisor, Liana Legus. Liana provided Heather with another chance at success and helped pave the path to ensure she received all the credit hours she needed to graduate. Heather says Liana’s sympathy and understanding helped her graduate on time with all A’s. Another person who provided guidance for Heather was Matt Stackowicz. Matt offered countless resources and exemplified what it meant to be a small business owner by owning one himself.
Additionally, Heather stated that “Ivy Tech classes were set up great with the eight-week courses.” She never felt overwhelmed and was still able to finish sixteen credit hours per semester.
Heather said Ivy Tech was such a comfortable place because everyone around her was an entrepreneur. She stated that, “staying close to like-minded individuals helps affirm that no idea is too big or crazy. And, if you don’t follow through with your idea, someone out there will. You have to ignore those around you saying it won’t work and just go for it.”
Heather graduated in May 2022 and continues to grow her business. She hopes to provide multicultural men and women a safe place to learn and grow in their natural beauty revolution, as well as help them become confident in themselves and overcome the fear of stepping outside the norm and embracing their true selves.
To learn more, follow @graceyourtexture on Instagram and TikTok.