Curly and coily hair needs love and care to thrive. Many women appreciate guidance and support while developing an effective hair care regime. Victoria Smith, the founder of Make It Classy and ClassyCurlies.com, has built her brand around helping women cultivate healthy hair no matter their hair type. Smith sells plant-based beauty products, hosts educational classes and workshops, and has partnered with The Indianapolis Public Library to host a virtual natural hair care workshop on June 17 at 6:30 p.m. This event is for individuals with natural textured hair and those who help care for someone else’s natural hair. Free product samples will be available for the first 50 individuals who register for the workshop at attend.indypl.org.
We caught up with Smith to learn more about her natural hair journey and her workshop with the Indianapolis Library.
You launched the ClassyCurlies blog in 2010 to document your natural hair journey. Today, you sell plant-based beauty products and host live educational classes and workshops. What inspired you to turn your blog into a business, and what have you learned along the way?
Smith: When I first started ClassyCurlies, It was simply a place I could document my natural hair journey. The more I noticed the positive impact I left by helping women; the more serious I became about turning ClassyCurlies into a brand with different offerings like the blog, a (former) podcast, and events. ClassyCurlies is still my first business, and Make It Classy followed shortly afterward. Over the past decade, I’ve learned that you can’t do it alone. To be successful, you’ll need the help of others. Now, I’m balancing two businesses and a family. You’ll need a support system emotionally and physically to grow the business.
Going natural can be scary! The internet has helped so many women connect and educate each other on hair care. What have you learned from hosting virtual workshops and events and using the internet as a tool to grow your brand?
Smith: The internet can be an interesting place to play, but it also comes with a key that unlocks connections and relationships that may not have ever become. I love teaching workshops in person because I like one-on-one conversations best. I truly get to connect with women to hear their downfalls and their wins. Hosting workshops virtually is different, but you still get to form those connections in a new way. What I love most about them are the casual and informal conversations. I want you to feel as if your best friend is teaching you something new about your hair.
You teach women how to make beauty products from plant-based ingredients. What are the benefits of DIY products vs. store-bought hair care products?
Smith: Yes, Make It Classy offers plant-based beauty products already made and DIY classes with our kits. Many of our hands-on workshops allow you to make a simple beauty recipe like a face mask or herbal hair rinse. They allow attendees to get comfortable with the creative experience and exposes them to raw ingredients they may have never worked with before. Making your own products come with loads of benefits. The top benefit is knowing what ingredients you’re putting on your hair and skin because you made it. The majority of big beauty brands you see at stores are full of potentially harmful ingredients like formaldehyde, parabens, and artificial fragrances.
Sometimes, doing your hair or putting on a face mask can be a form of self-care. How important do you think prioritizing “me time” and self-care is for a woman’s mental health?
Smith: Prioritizing “me time” is crucial for everyone on this Earth but especially women since we wear so many different hats within our lifetime. At Make It Classy, we love to talk about our face masks and bath bombs as a way to take care of ourselves. Self-care is mental, physical, and spiritual health. It’s part of replenishing your soul and whatever your body is missing at the moment. If a face mask or a good hair treatment is what you need to feel cared for, do it. If a meditation session or simply taking deep breaths is what you need, do so. Self-care will look different for every person.
Can you talk about your upcoming natural hair care workshop with the Indianapolis Public Library? What do you hope attendees get out of the event?
Smith: I’m excited to host a natural hair care workshop with the Indianapolis Public Library. We will go over many facets of natural hair. Again, workshops are my favorite part of what I do because I love to connect with others. Each attendee will also get to try some hair care products to begin their healthy hair routines at home.
*Interview has been edited for length
More Events and Programs at the Indianapolis Public Library:
Natural Hair – It’s All in the Family: On June 8 at 6:30 p.m., tune in as local natural hair stylists and a barber demonstrates live quick tips and techniques for maintaining natural hair. Register at attend.indypl.org.
Seed Library: The IndyPL Seed Library service is available during regular branch hours from late March through October. The Library provides seeds for check-out and education, and resources about growing and saving seeds and organic gardening. The Seed Library is open and free to the public. Learn more at indypl.org/services.
Summer Reading: The Indianapolis Public Library is excited to launch the 2021 Summer Reading Programs, taking place June 7 to July 31. During the Children’s Summer Reading Program, kids and teens earn prizes by reading, listening to audiobooks, reading aloud to someone, or being read to. Prizes include toys, Indy Parks pool passes, earbuds, and vouchers for Eiteljorg admission or an Indians game. Summer reading programs are not just for kids! Our Adult Summer Reading Program participants enter drawings for gifts such as a $50 Meijer Gift Card or a Ghost Tour at Central Library. Learn more at indypl.org/srp.
Fit Lit Book Discussion Group: Adults interested in new ways to stay fit and healthy are invited to read from a suggested book list and attend this monthly Zoom discussion. It will include advice and commentary from Marion County Health Department staff. Register at attend.indypl.org.
Keshia McEntire is a freelance writer residing in Indianapolis, IN. You may find her online at keshiamcentire.wordpress.com or on Twitter @keshiamc12.