Feb. 19, 2021
University of Missouri Trulaske College of Business alumna Ciara Imani May says she always had an entrepreneurial spirit but didn’t really know what it meant to be an entrepreneur until she got to Mizzou. After graduating, she took her new entrepreneurial skills and used them to create a beauty brand that provides more comfortable and sustainable braiding extensions.
“I have been wearing braids most of my life, like a lot of Black women, and thought that being uncomfortable and breaking out was just part of the experience,” May said. “It wasn’t something that people inside of my community identified as a problem to be solved.”
After discovering that typical hair extensions are made from plastic, May decided she could do better for both comfort and sustainability. “It was not doing the planet any good and it wasn’t doing my body any good,” she said. “I knew I needed to solve both of those problems, and that’s where it started.”
May credits her entrepreneurial know-how to the classes she took at Mizzou and comfort with pitching her ideas to Greg Bier, who now serves as the executive director of entrepreneurship programs for the MU Office of Economic Development.
May plans to launch her products in in the coming months. While the last year hasn’t been easy, she says she’s never doubted her ability to be successful. “I know that I’m very entrepreneurial and it’s just in my nature to problem solve. I’ve been selling visions for a very long time,” she said.
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