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With a Tool That Removes 8 Braids at Once, a Mother-Daughter Team is Transforming $60b Beauty Industry

Natasha Anderson and her daughter, Khadija Imara, created the Original Unbraider, a special double-sided comb designed to unravel six to eight braids at a time. It instantly removes the braids and detangles the hair, making braid removal considerably easier and less time-consuming.

Anderson had the idea for the Original Unbraider while having to remove her own braids and those of six other girls in her family. Frustrated with her rattail comb, she reasoned that there has to be a faster and more efficient way to remove braids.

In 2004, a mother of five discovered drive and vision to improve hair care for minorities. Anderson worked with engineers for nine months to create a comb model that could remove numerous braids at once without causing hair harm. She collaborated with a friend whose family owned a Taiwanese plastic manufacturing company. Anderson travelled to Taiwan with her family to observe how she came up with her innovation after a friend connected her with someone else in the same plastic manufacturing business. She claimed her spouse agreed to let her borrow money from their home in order to do so.

She eventually succeeded in creating the Original Unbraider after testing different prototypes. She launched the product in 2005, initially selling it in California through mall kiosks and beauty salons. Unfortunately, the company suffered a setback when Anderson’s mother was diagnosed with and died from breast cancer.

Years later, in 2021, Anderson’s daughter, Imara, was appointed CEO of The Original Unbraider. The corporation had an official makeover nearly two years later. Imara moved forward to resurrect her mother’s vision and bring the Original Unbraider back to life, aligning with the revival of Black hair, companies, and cultural movements.

The Original Unbraider was a huge success, selling out in less than a week and garnering millions of views on social media. It even drew the attention of celebrities such as Tamar Braxton.

Thanks to Imara’s support in getting it to Black families and Black-owned businesses around the world, the Original Unbraider is now a standard, right alongside the hot comb and the bonnet.

According to statistics, more than 11% of all beauty clients are Black; nonetheless, Black brands account for only 2.5% of the $60 billion beauty industry. Anderson and Imara hope that their tool will inspire other Blacks to enter the profession and launch their own enterprises.

Written by PH

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