Q&A with Kedisha Allison McLaughlin
A one-on-one with Kedisha Allison McLaughlin is sure to provide an understanding of the reason for business-minded women taking a chance on the beauty industry. Regardless of persons thinking it is superficial, the Kure Kosmo owner and Marketing Goal Mind boss-lady said there is more to beauty than face value. ‘Keddy’, as she is affectionately called, will tell you the industry is an appealing, inspiring place for ideas to evolve and one to grow.
“I was always being admired for the way I was able to do my own hair and what I would do with it,” she told The Gleaner. McLaughlin was working a nine-to-five in the banking and finance world before moving to beauty. All it took was some encouragement from one of her peers. “Then it was Blackberry, and I went ahead and changed my status to ‘Hairstylist house calls at $1,200’, using images of myself promote the services, which were being offered for a ridiculously low cost at the time. I was so desperate, because the job I held was not what I thought it would be. I did that until I developed an impressive clientèle,” Keddy shared. The year was 2013, and six years later, after migrating to Florida, she branched out with a full line specialising in custom-made wigs and haircare products. But she doesn’t plan to work on wigs all her life, and is already expanding her line of haircare products.
How did the mother of two boys: Koye, 12, and Kasen, who will be two years old in October, go from calculating numbers to being a hot number? She told us what makes her an influencer in the beauty industry, and gave us a peek into her life and how she is helming a true movement in the beauty industry.
Who was that beauty influencer in your life?
My mom and aunts were self-sufficient. Growing up, I had an aunt who was a hairstylist, so when I needed to relax my hair, she would do it. And my mom did my first sew-in when I was in fifth form. They were always doing the beauty thing themselves, and my interest and influence comes from them. It blossomed from then to me having my bestseller Kuroil Growth Formula helping others.
What is the greatest lesson you have learnt as it relates to launching Kure Kosmo?
Not being complacent and not putting my eggs in one basket. The pandemic put a hit on wigs; I don’t know where I would be right now if I didn’t get into other products. Wigs were basically a loss for me, but if one day they say wigs are out of style, I know my business will still be relevant.
You’re not a television person, but you do enjoy reading books. How do you decide what books to read?
It is dependent on my mood. If I need to exercise my mind, for example, if I am not feeling motivated, I lean towards a book that gives me a better perspective on life. The last time it was The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*** by Mark Manson. That book made me realise that you have to do what you have to do, stop worrying about the past, likewise the future. Sometimes my thoughts are purely on business [so] I get my hands on books like [the] 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib. I also choose one book for the month and read a chapter a day only because I don’t have the time to do more, and I don’t pressure myself to do multiple books for the month.
How do you balance running a household and managing a business?
I underestimated working at home with a baby. I thought it would have been easier because Kasen is young, but it is not. Thank God I have the help of his dad and my mom, although sometimes I find myself comparing him and my eldest. I don’t know how I would manage a baby like him in Jamaica.
What about date nights with your other half?
We don’t get to do too much of it. But whenever we do, we try to make a whole day out of it (and ship the children off to grandma). Sundays are strictly off, and we’ll use that to maybe go to a theme park, a river, try new things, and also do something again in the night because we are usually busy in the week and tired in the evenings. The weekends are typically reserved for exploring, and Orlando is a tourist area, so we literally have a list of places - food in particular - that we want to try, such as the Coming to America Brunch and Korean barbecue.
What’s one goal you are aiming to achieve for your brand?
There is a dip in the market where there are a few products claiming to be good for maintaining natural curls, but as you blink, your hair is totally dried out. I have already invested in my Kuress (play on the word caress) line of shampoo and conditioner, which I hope to launch by the end of this month. While in the next five years, I am looking to expand my line and embed myself into haircare products that also includes a cream which will do what it says it’s made to do.
Any closing advice?
Don’t be afraid to start over. Don’t be disheartened when things aren’t going your way; it’s only a redirection. That’s how I got into the business of beauty by making a change to live.