Hair issues are not just a Black woman thing, it’s a Black thing. From birth, we’re blessed with a crown of glory, an attribute that we use for self-expression and an inheritance that is tied to a lineage of deep-rooted culture and history. Our hair is our pride and should be treated as such. When father Stefan Miller was in search of a product that tends to the needs of his baby boy, his discovery led him to take matters into his own hands. Meet the duo behind Young King Hair Care, whose goal is to redefine male grooming by encouraging boys with textured hair to celebrate and love their crowns.
Please explain why there's a need for visibility of Black boys in the beauty industry?
The beauty industry has always been female-focused and centered. And as a result, there has been the unintentional consequence of leaving males behind within the industry. Only in recent years, have adult multicultural males started to become a focus to the beauty industry. However, this new focus has excluded Black boys.
For us, we believe that representation is so critical for Black boys to see the best version of themselves when the walk-in store and use products that feel made for them. For so long, boys have been subjected to using either female-focused products, from packaging to the scents, or stealing their mother’s products.
That’s why my wife and I created Young King Hair Care because our Black boys deserve natural hair products that were tailored specifically with them in mind!
Let's talk about branding, what message are you advocating for within your packaging and promotion towards Black families?
As a marketing professional with over 10+ years of experience, I’ve spent my entire career building brands while authentically trying to connect to consumers.
First and foremost, we want our boys to know that despite what or how the world portrays them, that they are royalty. That’s why we named the brand Young King because we wanted to uplift and celebrate our boys.
Secondly, we wanted our packaging to be something that screamed boy forward. When we frequently walk down the hair aisle, all we continue to see is all the pastel-colored packaged that is feminine smelling. The aisle is so intimidating for a young boy who is passionate about their appearance but doesn’t see themselves on the store shelf. So when you see our packaging, you know that is something new and different to the aisle which invites both parents and boys to engage and learn more.
Lastly, authenticity is a core pillar of our brand and we want people to know that we started this journey to create a solution for other black families. We want to use our brand to celebrate and elevate the positive image of black boys across the globe. We want boys to know that they don’t have to conform to a certain look, but rather can freely grow out and style their hair as they please
What are some steps that parents can take to develop a routine with their sons to instill the importance of grooming?
As parents, we are all busy so keeping the routine simple and fun is critical. For us, we started with not defaulting to what was simply easy- meaning not going to the barbershop every few weeks for a fresh cut (all for a crisp line up though!). With my son Kade, we introduced and integrated grooming into our morning routine.
Here are our 4 tips to success:
Let your sons know it’s cool to grow out their hair and embrace their curls
Reinforce positivity into how they look and show up
Teach them that regardless of hairstyle, they should always appreciate and celebrate their crowns
Let them participate in the process, establishing early habits on what it means to take care of and maintain their hair.
Our son Kade won’t leave the room now without first confirming in the mirror that he looks good, feels good and that his #curlsarepoppin.
What's more important for maintaining healthy hair, understanding hair porosity, or the curl pattern?
Let’s be honest, as black people, we love to always talk about curl patterns. But hands down its hair porosity. It’s important to understand and know how to keep hair properly moisturized which in turn helps with healthy hair growth. We developed our products to follow the LOC (liquid, oil, cream) method so that it works with a range of hair types and porosities.
Once you understand your hair porosity, you’ll unlock the code to set up your hair for success. Regardless of curl type, you’ll achieve that result of growth, moisturizing, and of course poppin’ curls.
What is one experience you've encountered on your journey that prepared you mentally to pursue entrepreneurship?
Looking back on my life, I’ve been pursuing entrepreneurship since elementary school when I sold chips, honey buns, and Capri suns at school and on my long bus ride home. At an early age, I saw a need (kids like me being hungry in the afternoon) and decided to fill it by selling the junk foods I loved the most. Through those early experiences and my formal marketing career (working for brands such as IBM, Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, and Coca-Cola), one thing has always remained constant -- it’s been the ability to see a whitespace, and quickly take action to fill it.
People spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, but more often than not, the story stops there. Being action-orientated is what has helped my wife and I take what started as a random late-night conversation on the couch when struggling to find a solution for our son’s needs, to an emerging and growing beauty business in less than 14 month. When you can move with action and intent, you can maximize a white space opportunity. Just like my snack business filled a need for afternoon hunger before dinner, we took it as a directive to fill the gap in the beauty industry that our Black boys were suffering from. The number one thing I tell entrepreneurs is “don’t wonder what if,” but rather find out “how to” to begin the steps of turning ideas into opportunity and ultimately, action.
What does buying black mean to you? How should people support Young King Hair Care?
One of the things not celebrated enough in the world is the creativity that comes from within our black community. From the past to the present, our people continue to create and develop solutions for both our specific community needs and the world. For me, buying black is a celebration of supporting the manifestation of this creativity - from ideas to outputs. When I buy from someone that I know put their all into making a product, it makes me feel amazing to know I supported their journey and growth. I hope that Black Wall St. isn’t a concept we only talk about Tulsa in the 1920s, but how we turn the world stage into Black Wall St. for the entirety of our future for multiple generations.
We started Young King Hair Care to solve a problem that was personal to us, but one that many other parents with black sons deal with every day. We wouldn’t be where we are today as a brand without the support of our community. We hope that people will join us on the journey of redefining male grooming, starting with the next generation. Support comes in many ways and paths:
Follow us on IG/FB @youngkinghaircare and twitter @YoungKingHair. Share with your networks and friends with boys in their lives
We are sold exclusively online so shop with us at www.youngkinghaircare.com