cover photo design by Leonardo Pilares
By Zubia Abbasi
Muhga Eltigani, 26-year-old cofounder and CEO of NaturAll Club, was recently honored under the e-commerce and retail category for innovative hair products on Forbes 30 Under 30 2017 list. “I was just really excited because this is the only black-owned business that made it to that list for 2017. I just felt that I have more to prove and more to represent my community,” Eltigani said.
The idea for NaturAll Club was planted in Eltigani’s junior year at the University of Pennsylvania, when she cut her hair and began creating her own hair care products. She documented both her physical and mental growth in video journals, which she later posted to YouTube after a friend’s suggestion. “Many women resonated with the frustration with all the hair products on the market that were making their hair dry and unhealthy,” Eltigani said.
She found that a lot of the women who watched her videos did not actually have the time to make their own hair products, even though they believed that more natural products would be better for their hair. Although she did a Triple Major in International Relations, Religious Studies, and African Studies, with the intention of going on to law school, Eltigani took a leap of faith. As a first generation Sudanese American, she said, “when I switched my mind and saw a really great opportunity in entrepreneurship, my parents got really nervous because that safety blanket was no longer there. Because I control my own paycheck, it’s really risky, and for a lot of immigrant parents, that’s not something they are used to. But my parents have been super supportive because it makes them happy to see me happy.”
The subscription e-commerce company now has headquarters in both Cleveland OH, and Philadelphia, Penn. Most of the production takes place in-house and products are shipped out to all over the United States and Canada. NaturAll Club serves women of color, primarily black women, between the ages of 24 to 45 years old. The company’s website offers women a short quiz in order to figure out what type of hair problems the consumer has and matches their hair type to the hair products best suited for them.
Eltigani said that while at one time most women didn’t really care about what was in their hair products as long as it made their hair look good, that is no longer the case, “People are getting to know the ingredients and switching to more natural alternatives,” she said. “Not only do the products fit their needs, it’s healthy for them. What NaturAll Club is trying to do is not only bring in better hair products, but bring education about all the ingredients we use, and education about all the ingredients that should be used,” Eltigani said.
According to their website, NaturAll Club is the only hair company that uses fresh avocados in their products. Eltigani explained that, “We actually use fresh avocado meat instead of just avocado oil which most companies use because there are a lot of vitamins and nutrients that penetrate other than those in just the oil. We go above and beyond to research fruits and vegetables to see what we can extract to really nourish our hair, like how fruits and vegetables nourish our body on the inside.”
So, what’s next for NaturAll Club? Eltigani said, “In short- term, we are just working with hair products because there is so much more we can still do with it. But my ultimate goal is to change what beauty products look like, by adding more food grade products.” For the long term, she added, “We will move into makeup and skincare, but that’s not for a few years.”
Zubia Abbasi is a senior Creative Writing major, at Western New England University. She loves to tell stories and believes in the importance of representing the unheard. She hopes that one day she can inspire someone to take the leap and draw creative inspiration from whatever kind of life they have been dealt.