I think it’s safe to say that Black women are magical, enchanting, and just down right captivating. Those are just a few adjectives to describe our fierce beings. When it comes to the versatility of our hair from thick, lustrous, and unique textures, there’s no wonder why so many different ethnicities are in awe of what “Black Hair” can do. With the world just noticing how remarkable Black hair is; there has always been one Boss Woman who has always seen the glamour of building another woman’s confidence with a simple hairstyle. DMV native, beauty-and-fashion guru, activist, and owner of House of Bombshell, Jessica Kidd has graced the beauty industry for over 17 years. In a Q&A with Women for the Culture, she touches on several topics, from “why the beauty industry was her calling” to “if having natural, black hair is just a trend.” However, there’s more. More business ventures, including a non-profit organization she founded, which is helping women who have been victims of domestic violence.
Here is what Jessica had to say about all things hair, and boss woman moves:
Q. Jessica, what inspired you to go into the beauty business?
A. I love the glamour of the beauty industry. I love how simply getting your hair done is an instant confidence booster. It’s so fulfilling to help women feel beautiful through hair artistry. I wanted freedom, and an opportunity to be creative with no limits. I always admired the women in my life who were seamstresses and beauticians. They were fabulous, and I wanted to be just like them.
Q. Why do you believe that Black women are now starting to become comfortable with our own hair, and the natural state of it?
A. Black women are more unapologetic today than they have ever been. I believe this new attitude has helped with comfortability. Before we were so worried about making others uncomfortable, especially in corporate settings. With the passing of laws like, The Crown Act, we are protected and our natural hair will no longer be discriminated against. I believe we have finally said, “Enough is enough.”
Q. Do you think that natural hair is just a trend right now, or do you believe that we just feel more empowered to wear our hair however it suits us?
A. I do not think it’s a trend. For most women, wearing their hair natural has proven to be the healthier option. Thanks to social media, we have threads full of “Black Girl Magic,” which encourages us to embrace how dope our blackness is in every aspect. I also believe this has helped us when it comes to hair as well. To constantly see Black women in high places embrace their natural beauty and 4c curls is empowering.
Q. Black women’s hair is just magic, and so versatile. What do you say to people that might criticize black women for always switching it up from natural weave to relaxed hair?
A. I would say “don’t knock it until you try it.” Being able to switch your hairstyle often is exciting. It’s so fun to be blonde one day (thanks to a wig unit), then wear a twist out while you wait for your next silk press appointment. Or wake up one day, and decide to go pixie short and relaxed. The possibilities are endless.
Q. With so many hair products on the market, what made you decide to enter that market? What do you say to people that might say “her products are just like everyone else’s.”
A. I knew there were many hair products out there, but I knew there were none like mine. What makes House Of Bombshell products special is the fact they are created by an actual hairstylist. I care what goes in it, because I care about hair. I love hair and wanted to help my clients maintain their hair and keep it healthy in between salon visits. Our products are non-toxic and paraben free. They are packed with organic-and-essential ingredients. They are different than everyone else’s; because they are made for hair by someone that has actually done hair, and knows what hair needs.
Q. What are your top sellers? What product would you recommend for someone who isn’t familiar with the haircare line, but wants to try it out?
A. Our top sellers are Laid Control Paste, which is our version of a edge control and our Hair Growth Elixir. Laid doesn’t leave the hair greasy or wet. It is a paste, instead of a gel consistency that leaves a semi-matte finish. For someone who isn’t familiar with the line, I would recommend the Elixir Bundle; where you can get all, three elixirs that will help with hair growth, itchiness and dryness.
Q. Jessica, you been in the beauty industry for over 17 years and during that time you have expanded your business to so many levels. Under the Bombshell Brand, you have your hair services, hair bundles, apparel, accessories etc. I love the name btw, but what inspired the distinctive name?
A. Thank you so much. Because I was into fashion also, I loved watching runway shows and flipping through magazines seeing the different fashion houses. As I got older, I was introduced to the ballroom scene, and learned that different groups or cliques were called houses. I was already going by Bombshell; so I just added “House Of” to it, and here we are!
Q. Under your Bombshell brand, you sell apparel and accessories; but that Bombshell bag that you sell is “Bomb.” What made you want to explore the fashion side of the industry?
A. Thank you! As I mentioned above, I was into both fashion and hair. I just love all things glamour and fabulous. I knew fashion would find it’s way into the brand some way. Because I am moving House Of Bombshell into more of a beauty and lifestyle brand, I knew there were certain items I wanted women to have or wear that would still make her feel like a bombshell. Whether it’s wearing a shirt or carrying a Bombshell Bag, I want her to look and feel bomb. Venturing into fashion was destined. It’s apart of me.
Q. Has the pandemic made business challenging for you; and if so, how were you able to pivot?
A. It has, but we have adjusted so well and are so thankful to our customers for their support. One way we have pivoted is changing House Of Bombshell from a service-based business to product based. Before it was all about the Beauty Parlor part of the business, but House Of Bombshell is so much more and it was the products that helped keep us afloat. If anything like COVID ever happened again, I made a promise we would be more prepared. So, I decided to turn House Of Bombshell into a beauty-and-lifestyle brand with products being our focus. The beauty parlor is where we exclusively use and sell these products.
Q. I’m sure you have all sorts of stories, since most women open up when they feel as if they are in a safe space. With that being said, you have an organization “Beyond The Chair Inc;” a nonprofit that raises awareness against domestic violence. Could you elaborate more about the organization, what encouraged you to start it, and how others could get involved?
A. Sure! I began Beyond The Chair Inc after realizing, as a hairstylist, we notice signs of abuse before a closest friend typically would. As hairstylists, we have a special relationship with our clients. For some abuse victims, the salon is one of the only places they are allowed to go alone. I wanted to offer victims resources, if they needed it. I wanted to be an advocate for them, and also give them free beauty services as a way to help rebuild their confidence. After experiencing domestic abuse in my early 20s, I saw firsthand how the emotional scars last longer than almost any physical scar. I also saw how doing something for myself, to make me feel beautiful, was a huge confidence booster. I wanted to offer women that same feeling, whether they could afford it or not. So, we partner with different shelters to provide makeovers or donate our Pretty Care Packages to them.
Q. You have so much going on, but it seems like education and black women being knowledgeable about their own hair is particularly important to you. Many of us have experienced stylists who really didn't care about the health of our hair, so what are some key points we should look for when looking for a stylist that’s good at what they do, but also cares about the health of our hair?
A. When you are seeing someone new, make sure they set up a consultation first. That is your opportunity to see if you both are a good fit for each other. During that conversation, the stylist should ask you questions about your hair history, home haircare and maintenance, medications, illnesses, diet, water intake, and your expectations. These are all factors in having healthy hair. It’s really a team effort, so educating your client should be a priority. We educate our clients on the products we use and why we’re are using them. A good stylist has no problem sharing their knowledge and educating you, as the client. They welcome it!
Q. You also started the movement, #blackcoloristmatter. Can you explain why having diversity in the beauty industry is important, and what experience led to this movement?
A. Diversity is so important, because as Black colorists and stylists we work twice as hard to manipulate and color hair; yet we get hardly any recognition for it. It’s important that our artistry and skill is celebrated and appreciated. Seeing the lack of this led me to starting the #blackcoloristsmatter movement. We needed a place for us, by us. A place where we didn’t have to beg for a place on their pages. This platform didn’t exist, so I created it. We are growing every day, and the response has been great!
Q. Jessica, the Bombshell Brand is flourishing. What is next for your brand, and what are some goals you have on your bucket list?
A. We are giving our website a full facelift, and continuing with our efforts to turn House Of Bombshell into a complete beauty-and-lifestyle brand. I would love to one day have a school. Our Assistant program has been very successful helping new artists go from no clients to fully booked in six months. I believe combining this program with a Cosmetology school curriculum, new talent would be better prepared for the salon. I’m excited about the future of HOB. The last year has been very challenging, but we survived. So, the best is still yet to come!
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