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Cora Miller, Co-Founder and CEO of Young King Hair Care was the guest speaker for our October Female Founders Lunch. Did you miss the lunch? If so, check out this wrap-up & join the next Female Founders Lunch on November 13th with Jasmine Jones of Cherry Blossom Intimates. Be sure to RSVP here.
What is the Female Founders Lunch series?
If you're a female founder working on a startup and want to meet others working in the space, then attending a Female Founders Lunch is for you! Entrepreneurs at any stage in their startup journey are welcome to join. If you have an idea, a new venture, or an operating business, you're highly encouraged to attend. More info on how the NYU Entrepreneurial Institute supports the female founders community can be found here.
Who is Cora Miller?
Cora Miller is the CEO and Co-Founder of Young King Hair Care, the first and only plant-based, natural hair care line intentionally crafted for multicultural boys. Inspired by her son Kade, she and her husband launched this company in December 2019 with the mission to redefine male grooming for the next generation. As a mission-driven brand, they seek to elevate and encourage black and brown boys to show up with full confidence so they can present their best selves and celebrate their crowns.
Cora noticed a gap in the market - there were a multitude of hair care brands for women of color, including Shea Moisture, CurlMix, Carol’s Daughter, and more - however she noticed there were few products catered to young brown and black boys who were starting their personal grooming journey. She completed an in depth market analysis of the space in order to ensure that there was a need in the market (and convince her husband to get on board) and she found that the white space she suspected was there, was absolutely the opportunity she had envisioned.
How did Young King Hair Care get started?
Cora immediately hit the ground running, contacting manufacturers and chemists in order to start developing products. She did extensive research on chemists that formulated products for textured hair and eventually found a chemist who was a perfect fit.
Cora created a focus group for the products and surveyed 100 boys in order to figure out what their needs were. She started with three stylers and by the time the brand was ready to launch, the company was invited to have their own booth at the Essence Carnival two weeks post launch. Cora was able to really get her foot in the door by showcasing Young King Hair Care products at industry events and pop-up shops.
How has COVID-19 impacted Young King Hair Care?
Cora had over 20 in-person events scheduled before COVID-19 hit. The events were cancelled and she quickly pivoted to digital media efforts - partnering with influencers and bloggers alike. Using digital media channels like Facebook and Instagram she was able to partner with companies like Black Girl Sunscreen to create buzz around Young King Hair Care products.
What advice does Cora have to students starting their own startups?
"Build and work on a vision for your company that surpasses right now. Build for what your company will look like in five years instead." Cora plans to expand and looks to branch out from hair care to skin and body care in order to act as a company that is a part of a young boy's journey in personal grooming. She began her company in order to instill confidence in young black and brown boys and to act as a space for positive representation for them in the beauty and grooming industry. This is monumental because studies have shown that positive representation of black and brown people in the media is likely to increase self-esteem and confidence. In a very ethnocentric world, the work that Young King Hair Care is doing will continue to have a positive impact on youth who are constantly bombarded with images and media of people who do not look like them. This is her mission and it will continue to be so as she lays the groundwork and becomes a market leader in the grooming space.
When is the next Female Founders Lunch?
Please join us at the next Female Founders lunch on Nov 13 with Jasmine Jones of Cherry Blossom Intimates. Part lingerie boutique and part accredited medical facility, Cherry Blossom Intimates provides breast cancer survivors with fully-customizable, and insurance billable breast prosthetics and size inclusive intimates. RSVP to join the conversation here.