I'm the CEO of Afrocenchix, the first afro hair product stocked by Whole Foods, AMA!

Rachael Corson
21 replies
Hi Makers! Over the last 10 years I’ve taken Afrocenchix from a side hustle to my main focus with a team of 9 based in London. Our products have been used by Jill Scott’s hair stylist Felicia Leatherwood & Tomi Adeyemi to name a few high profile Afrocenchix fans. Our natural hair company has raised $650k+ Including cash won in pitches to celebrities such as Gary Vee, P. Diddy & Ashton Kutcher. We were selected from 1800+ applicants for the first Backstage Accelerator cohort. When I’m not raising investment, I’m raising my 2 children! In my (limited) spare time I write sci fi, play the guitar, read a whole lot of books or play basketball. 👋🏾 ready to answer questions about building a team, scaling a product business, digital marketing, copy writing or ethics & sustainability.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you've developed your pitches over the years and what specific elements helped you win funding. Was it storytelling? Focusing on the USP? It would be great to find out more about that.
Rachael Corson
@abadesi hi Abadesi, Great question! I used to debate at University and one of the best things you learn in the sport is how to listen. The best orator in the world can’t win a debate without listening to others. So whilst practice, confidence, annunciation and brevity are important, the biggest key is listening. Before giving our pitch for something I will rest it with different people and listen to their questions then adapt and modify until major concerns are addressed before they are even asked. It helps to ask a range of people to listen to your pitch: people who know the business, people who don’t, people who are customers and people who don’t get the problem at all. Once you’ve listened and created a widely responsive pitch, everything else falls into place.
Melody Ma
Hey Rachel! How did you get access to celebrity investors? Any tips on that front? They're not easy people to reach! Did you find having celebrity investors help and in what ways? Thanks!
Rachael Corson
@melodyma hello Melody. Competitions are likely the best way. Celebrities are busy people so going to meet them in places where they have already pledged their time is the wisest move. Some celebs have funds so I’d advise doing a little research then respecting their boundaries and going through the process on their website. It helped us in terms of PR, press & generally increasing our visibility.
Sara  Siddiqi
Hi Rachel, your business story is pretty cool! I'm really interested to know what the main challenge in going from side hustle-production to supply-to-Wholefoods production was, and also the main obstacles (if any) you faced in having an ethical-driven approach?Thanks.
Rachael Corson
@sarasiddiqiuk thanks Sara! The biggest challenge has been getting the right team together. Our people are our biggest asset and also the source of the most learning opportunities! We’ve learnt the hard way that it’s important to hire slow & fire fast. You’ll protect the rest of your team if you’re careful about who gets to be in it. In answer to your second question, you have to have firm boundaries. Some people will try to pressurise you into saving money by lowering your ethical standards. You have to stand firm. A staff handbook, regular training and thoughtful communication helps to instil your values in your team.
Alexandru Golub
Hi Rachel, what are some really good books you recommend reading, that would helped you on your journey with Afrocenchix?
Rachael Corson
@alexandru_golub my top leadership reads in the last year have been: Leaders Eat Last, High Output Management, Boundaries for Leaders, Deep Work & Measure What Matters
Thanks for your time makers and @raecorson - this AMA is now closed.
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Hi Rachael, Congratulations on the success of Afrocenchix and being the CEO of the first afro hair product stocked by Whole Foods! That's quite an achievement. I have a question about Hairstyle for afro hair. What are some trendy and popular hairstyles that you would recommend for people with afro-textured hair? Thank you!
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Amelia Hansen
Hi Rachael, I've several questions for you. 1. What were your biggest challenges in scaling Afrocenchix from a side hustle to a thriving company? 2. What strategies did you employ to increase brand awareness and customer acquisition? 3. How do you measure and track the success of your scaling efforts?