I started Pressed for many reasons, most importantly it was to action how I represent beauty to my daughter.
Growing up, I brushed my hair as one does, and would end up with a wonderfully poofy mess. So, I straightened my hair by blow drying, flat ironing or using chemicals to make it more manageable. I’m 40, and I just recently realised I had curly hair all my life! All those years of excessive heat and no protection caused a lot of damage.
As a side effect, I struggled with hair loss. My hair was thinning, I had random instances of alopecia areata (patchy hair loss) and the grand finale was postpartum hair loss.
It was around this time that I started experimenting with oils for my scalp, I became quite consistent with oiling my scalp but there were still a lot of other old habits that were stunting my progress.
After having my daughter, I began to question my understanding and appreciation of beauty. Was I embracing and accepting all of me, really and truly? I grew up in the times when dolls were slim with straight blond hair and Disney princesses never looked like me. The standard of beauty was never us.
Today’s representation of beauty tells a different story, my daughter is exposed to diversity in books and shows that my generation never saw. There were wounds that I needed to close, quickly. My first step, I took on “project healthy hair”. It wasn’t just about embracing my curls; it was about taking care of my hair. When you know how to take care of your unique self, magic happens.
This is what Pressed is about, embracing everything you are, experimenting as you please, and always being good to yourself.
In a space that is so competitive, what are the 3 things that set you apart from other brands?
- Producing our own oils:We cold press and distil our own oils and use mechanical filtration to guarantee the potency, freshness and integrity of our ingredients. This is very core to the brand, the quality of ingredients that we have been able to produce compared to what is in the market really shows value in taking this step. Not only that but doing this also allows us to have an impact locally whereby we are able to support farmers and traders alike.
- Ingredient transparency:Transparency is more than just a buzzword for us. It’s a deeply held core value. When we develop our formulations, it’s the value that keeps us in check. Why this ingredient? How will it help solve the problem? Can we source the highest quality? If we can’t explain the reason why an ingredient is in our formulation. Then it doesn’t belong there.
- Education:There are three main pillars within education. It refers to education of scalp & hair, education of ingredients and our CSR arm where we contribute 10% of our profits to education.
Why do users care about your product?
For two reasons, our clients want to know more. They want to understand the ingredients they are using and they want to understand how to better take care of their hair. This goes hand-in-hand with what we provide.
And secondly, they love that we produce our own ingredients. In a space dominated by contract manufacturing this is a huge differentiator for us which allows them to not only trust our formulations, but also the quality of ingredients we use.
What problem are you trying to solve?
Our products provide a solution for your healthy hair journey. The products work, I have no doubt. But the real problem we are trying to solve is education, understanding hair types and textures, understanding what your scalp needs and being inclusive. A safe space for all things hair and scalp for all textures and patterns.
What has been your most difficult lesson as a founder since starting Pressed?
No one cares. That’s the reality. And I faced that reality when I first launched Pressed. All those hours of work which included testing, producing, creative strategy, creative execution, product design. When I launched Pressed, I thought “GREAT!” I did it. But no one visited the website, there was no huge following on my social media, and barely any sales. It was a humbling moment. When I think back to it, it was an obvious lesson that was not obvious to me at the time because you’re so in your head and in your bubble. You could have the best product out there, but no one owes you their attention or their wallet for that matter. You have to spend the time to build a community, build your followers and build your cheerleaders. And I have to say, that has been harder to do than launching a product, because trust must be earned.