When Myleik Teele was in college, she sat in her hair stylist’s chair for what she thought was the last time.
The now 36-year-old founder of CurlBOX was suffering from depression and planning on dropping out of college, which she explained to the stylist, Brownie Sims. However, Sims had different plans for her.
“As she was doing my hair, she said, ‘What would you do if you couldn’t go home and if you didn’t have the option?’” Teele told ESSENCE.com. “I finished telling her all the things that I would do, and she was like, ‘Why don’t you do that?’ And so I did it.”
Sims gave Teele a job as a shampoo girl, and it was in that very salon that she discovered the wonderment that is Black women’s hair. As she began her career in public relations, she started going to hair shows, which only strengthened both her love of hair and her sense of sisterhood among Black women.
“Seeing all these women, all these styles, all these textures was just mind-blowing,” she said. “The relationship that we have about our hair, with our hair, it’s probably one of the strongest we have as women of color. You can talk to any Black woman, anywhere, and we are ready to talk.”
It was that appreciation (along with her own frustrations around how to identify the perfect products for her natural ‘do!) that led her to found CurlBOX, a monthly subscription service that gives Black women a handful of products to test each month.
Teele is an expert when it comes to curating the products—she has been natural for years and just Big Chopped again last month. In her new entrepreneurial shoes, she wants to help other Black women discover the magic of their own hair.
“I love that I can twist it, braid it, straighten it, she said. “I can comb it out, and it looks different. I can blow it out, and it looks different. I can flat-iron it, and it looks different. I can wet it, and it looks different…I feel like there is no other woman that has as many options as we do with our hair. It’s like a secret society…We can do anything.”