The beauty industry is slowly changing as it begins to embrace diversity and inclusion. Wakati, which means “time” in Swahili, is a hair-care brand that was created in 2013. It embraces the time and energy needed to maintain and nourish curly textured hair.
On Wednesday, a panel discussion hosted by Wakati and Walgreens took place in the Rattler’s Den on FAMU’s campus, to highlight the company’s unique purpose.
Kao USA partnered with FAMU’s School of Business and Industry to create a complete hair care system made for all curls, kinks, and coils. The students were able to understand the consumer’s needs and create brand elements that reflect the cultural and functional benefits of the hair care products.
“This was an opportunity for our students to showcase their talent,” said Shawta Friday-Stroud, dean of SBI.
The result of this collaboration shapes what Wakati looks like today. The hair products feature key ingredients known to strengthen curly hair. The water-activated conditioner and oil-infused cream were designed to give women the power to soften coarse hair, finger-comb detangle and help reduce shedding.
Curly hair, in general, requires constant love and nourishment through detangling, washing, moisturizing, and styling — more than any other textured hair. Designed to save time and embrace the washing process.
“The future of beauty looks like products that make sense to the way we live our lives,” journalist and FAMU alumna Mikki Taylor said.
The product is developing a following because of its ability to allow women to spend less time styling their hair and more time appreciating their curls. Wakati places importance on providing opportunities for women of all generations to embrace and appreciate their hair care culture.
Walgreens, the first retail chain to carry the brand, commits to act in a way that uplifts and inspires diversity. The company values courage commitment and connections which influence a change in communities.
“We want to imbed diversity, equity and inclusion into everything we do,” Renee Gaston, a representative from Walgreens, said.
Conversations focusing on what is needed as a community are essential for growth and inclusion. Wakati formed when members of the Kao research and development team asked a single question: “Why are there not more effective hair care formulas specifically designed for natural Black hair?”
This shift in the beauty industry gives evidence that the needs of the Black community are being heard. If more companies follow suit with the intent of diversifying the beauty industry, consumer satisfaction will be a direct result.