As Seen In
The Dr.'s featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine May 2013 edition
Check out the article on Fun and Fearless Females!
Money Magazine features THB's very own Women in Science
Co-Founders interview with Bloomberg Businessweek
Earning a doctorate in chemistry is not the typical first step to becoming an entrepreneur, but it worked well for Tashni-Ann Dubroy.
While studying organic chemistry at North Carolina State in the early 2000s, she met future business partner Tiffani Bailey Lash. The two chemists bonded over their frustration at the lack of quality, natural, hair-care products tailored to women of color. Together they came up with the idea to develop their own line. Nearly a decade later, in December 2009, while Dubroy was still enrolled at Rutgers Business School, their idea became a reality with the launch of Tea and Honey Blends.
“This was the first time either one of us would go down this path of starting a business,” Dubroy says. “The mentors we had at Rutgers were instrumental and everything I learned was something I could implement.”
The company is based in Raleigh, N.C., and currently has 10 employees.
Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Sommer Saadi recently spoke to Dubroy and Bailey Lash about the company, its path to launch, and how what Dubroy learned at Rutgers helped get the business off the ground. Below is an edited portion of the interview.
How did the two of you meet and come up with the idea of Tea and Honey?
Dubroy: I was studying organic chemistry and Tiffani was studying physical chemistry [both at North Carolina State]. Tiffani had a passion for hair care, just like I did, and it was sort of serendipitous that we came to the same school with the same interests. As women of color, we experienced similar challenges when it came to our beauty products and as chemists, we knew we wanted to use our skills to make a better shampoo.
How did you get started?
Dubroy: While at school, we committed to the idea of just doing it, and about two years into graduate school we realized we were spending a lot of our spare time working on the goal of starting a hair-care line.
Bailey Lash: We were chemists, though, and knew beauty care was not our specialty. Our greatest advantage was that we were our own consumers and we could create a line based on our needs. We networked within a community of cosmetic chemists, went to conferences, and worked on developing the formulations for our line.
Tashni, what made you decide to pursue your MBA at Rutgers?
Dubroy: After graduating with my doctorate degree in chemistry, I was employed by one of the largest chemical companies, BASF Global working on the scientific side of the operation. The company is really good at investing in its employees and when they spotted my business skills, I was transitioned from being a bench chemist to a liaison between manufacturing and the sales and business teams. So while I was in that position, I wanted to learn the business lingo and I became more interested in developing a company with Tiffani. I knew that a business education would be useful and decided to enroll in Rutgers in the Fall of 2008. Everything I learned was something we could implement in the creation of Tea and Honey.
Such as what?
Dubroy: The lessons I learned in marketing, branding, and public relations were key. It was knowledge that went to straight into the company, which we launched in 2009 while I was still in school.
Healthy Body = Healthy Hair
When the body is healthy, it adequately provides hair with food from the blood stream. Tiny blood vessels at the base of each follicle feed the hair’s root to keep it growing. The opposite occurs when the hair papillae is weakened and is inadequately nourished. Hair growth differs between age, races and even between sexes. Nutrition is also a factor in achieving a healthy head of hair. One must maintain a well balanced diet that is rich in nutrients, essential vitamins and minerals. Treat your body right and your hair will follow along.
In tune with this philosophy, Tea and Honey Blends LLC manufactures and retails natural hair care products that are replete with tea extracts and honey. Super antioxidants such as Goji Berry are incorporated into our products to provide nourishment for dry, thirsty hair. These antioxidants protect the hair shaft from heat damage and breakage that results from over exposure to the sun’s rays. Tea and Honey Blends equips its customers with the shampoos, conditioners and styling aids they need to achieve a healthy hairstyle. Whether hair is chemically treated or untreated, it is important to use high quality products to facilitate a healthy hairstyle.
Adult hair is negatively charged due to age, excessive brushing and chemical treatments. The effect of this negative charge is dry, damaged hair that looks dull and lacks shine. While healthy eating will help to alleviate some damage, a topical treatment is often needed to speed up the repair process. Tea and Honey Blends equips its customers with all the styling products they need to get our customers on the path to healthy hair! — Tea and Honey Blends Beauty Buzz
Healthy Hair Trends
For ages, Black hair has commanded the attention of the masses and has largely set societal trends and reflected societal attitudes. So it comes as no surprise that our natural hair is once again the focus of many a blogs and has garnered the attention of media mogul, CNN. Lisa Respers France in her article dated July 25th 2011 writes on the topic “ ‘Can I touch it?’ The fascination with natural, African-American hair”. After providing the most socially acceptable definition of natural hair, she opines, “So why the continuing fascination with natural hair, given that so many women of color are now rocking the style and have been for years?” Well, therein lies the crux of the biscuit!
While it may be true that many women have always embraced natural hair, it wasn’t quite as easy to maintain a natural hair style as it is today. We simply didn’t have the optimal styling products. This is where Tea and Honey Blends comes in. We are helping women achieve healthy hairs by equipping them with the products they need to achieve their desired styles, whether their hair is chemically treated our untreated. The natural hair trends may change, but one trend that will never get old is healthy hair. Tea and Honey Blends will be around to get women on the path to healthy hair.
THB Attends The Workshop At Macy’s
Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy and Dr. Tiffani Bailey Lash, were among minority and women-owned small businesses taking part in the first-ever The Workshop at Macy’s in New York City. Macy’s says it hopes The Workshop will help to create a pipeline of viable vendors that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community.
THB on the Nappturalite Radio Show
The Napptualite Radio Show is dedicated to the love of all things related to black natural hair care. To listen to THB on the June 19th show, please visit ITunes.
North Carolina Launch Event
May 7, 2011
Sponsored by Radio 1 of Raleigh, NC
For Sisters Only
Tea and Honey Blends is proud to support the the 12th annual For Sisters Only 2011. The goal of the event is to empower women to embrace and facilitate change in their community and their personal lives. Visit us in the vendor pavilion.
Beauticians and Cosmetologist Association Convention and Tradeshow
Tea and Honey Blends will participate in the 72nd North Carolina State Beauticians and Cosmetologist Association Annual Convention and Tradeshow. Professional stylists and visitors come see our newest products.
DC Science & Engineering
Tea and Honey Blends seeks to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists in the nation’s capital. THB provided Shining Star certificates and cash awards to winning projects that had scientific merit relating to the personal care industry or encouraged eco- friendly innovation. We would like to congratulate the Future Doctor Kayla Graves and the Future Doctor Naomi Stanfield, both 7th graders.
THB Attends Women’s Empowerment 2011
Women’s Empowerment is Radio One Raleigh’s largest and most anticipated event. Year after year, thousands of African American women (and men) come to Women’s Empowerment for an entire day of education, entertainment and empowerment. Created in 1994, in honor of Women’s History Month, Women’s Empowerment was designed to enhance the lives of African American women by addressing issues that specifically impact their “health, hearts and pocketbooks.” Throughout the day, this expo-styled event offers seminars, workshops, demonstrations, sampling, and shopping.