Miss Rita's Hair Essentials

Miss Rita's Hair Essentials

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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When commercialised concoctions took its toll on her natural hair, Kellesah Thomas, on the recommendation of her mother, went back to basics with her late grandmother's hair serum. And just like that, Miss Rita's Hair Essentials was born!

Thomas, a teacher by profession — though her most recent gig is in the hotel sector — took an early retirement once the entrepreneurial bug bit. “Once I discovered my passion for entrepreneurship, I retired, and started my company Miss Rita's Hair Essentials, where I am the owner/marketing and sales manager,” she told Under The Dryer (UTD). The entrepreneurial bug only flew her way because of unfavourable experiences with her natural hair journey. “My hair was thinning from years of chemical processing and dyes. I tried a number of popular products; however, I did not notice any improvements. My mom suggested a remedy that her mother...used in her hair as a child. I was amazed at the results,” she explained. Her hair growth was so impressive she felt compelled to share the 'remedy' with friends and family who were having their own hair trials. Their results were so great, Thomas took her savings and went into full production mode.

The new venture — named after her late grandmother Rita Lewis — was an obvious choice. “My mother Caroline Thomas is the person that taught me about the unique combination of oils, that her mother (Rita Lewis) used in her and her siblings' hair, which worked wonders. Her hair is luminous and full...and she still uses this combination of oils diligently,” Thomas told UTD.

Now a full-time entrepreneur, Thomas starts her days at 5:00 am. “The first thing I do in the morning is check my orders and e-mail...then a conference call with my staff and PR person on how to proceed with marketing and product distribution for the day,” she explained. Eighty per cent of her marketing is done on social media. “Influencers on Instagram have been instrumental in advertising our product both locally and internationally. The greatest push for us came when Adriena Atkinson (from Instagram account @intended.beauty), who we sent a sample of... our growth oil... gave an honest review on her page along with before and after pictures showcasing her hair growth,” Thomas told UTD. That relationship, though nurtured during the seed and development stages of the business, has grown significantly and Atkinson is now the largest distributor, with operations in Montego Bay.

Miss Rita's Hair Essentials full product line (manufactured in May Pen, Clarendon) includes the Growth Oil, Growth Oil Extra Strength and Lavender Growth Oil “Extra Strength”, all available in 4oz bottles. The oils promote hair growth, treat dandruff, repair damage, revitalise dull/damaged hair, nourish the scalp, add volume, protect against environmental pollutants, safeguard hair breakage, seal moisture and give a luminous shine. Though she says she cannot reveal all her trade secrets, she did share a few with UTD. “Our base oils are Jamaican black castor oil and coconut oil. Both are sourced right here in Jamaica... both oils are fundamental in achieving... length and overall health of the hair,” she said.

Thomas, who was raised in Moneague, St Ann, is the second of three children for parents Michael and Caroline Thomas. Miss Rita's employs members of her extended family and they all are proud of Thomas's accomplishments. “This business has brought a great sense of pride to our family because of the legacy of our grandmother. This would have made her proud... and I hope to honour her,” she told UTD. Equipped with several local distributors, an Etsy.com shop, worldwide shipping and an outlet in New York and Las Vegas, Thomas hopes to become a household name in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom soon. UTD believes she has the formula to do so.

Local orders can be made through Instagram @missritashairessentials or by calling (876) 339-1950.

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