At 26 years old, Gabrielle Allen has taken the natural haircare community by storm — and she’s just getting started. A native of New Orleans, Allen began blogging in 2009, before there were many natural hair resources available. Although she never considered blogging about natural hair as a career, her blog, StrawberriCurls, has taken off and earned her acclaim as one of the top natural hair bloggers. Since then, she’s worked with various natural hair brands — African Pride, Sofn’Free, Nothin’ But Hair Care, and a host of others.
On What Inspired Her to Start Blogging
Natural hair wasn’t Allen’s initial focus. After searching for style and haircare advice, she soon found few natural hair resources online. The information she did find was vague and unhelpful. Allen finally struck gold when she began searching natural hair forums. There, she recognized the need for the valuable hair knowledge that was being shared among naturals. It was during this time that Allen made her own transition to wear her hair natural. She was the first to embark on the natural hair journey of all her close family and friends, and she quickly became known as the resident natural hair expert. She soon felt convinced that she should develop a niche for herself in the natural hair community and invest more time in her own blog, so she hit the ground running.
How She Built Her Following
Allen not only wrote about her own experiences, she shared information she picked up along the way as well. To her surprise, she found she had a knack for comedy in the midst of her blogs and YouTube videos, “Apparently, I’m a lot funnier than I thought I was.” People took to her wit and humor and enjoyed getting to know her. She attributes her following to her vulnerability and transparency. At one time her day-to-day life made up the majority of her content. It was a release for her and a way for her readers to identify with her and each other.
From Blogging to Business
Turning a blog into a business is a process. Allen, who used to work a 9-to-5 job, focused completely on her blog and converting it to a stream of revenue. “I’ve been following people who have successfully turned their blogs into a business, looking at their format, trying to figure out how to turn the information that I already have and make it profitable,” she says. Her time is her money, and she’s ready to step it up a notch and make her mark on the natural hair industry. She’s currently compiling content from older posts and turning it into an e-book. Making that information more accessible will benefit her readers.
Advice to Aspiring Bloggers and Vloggers
Be yourself. “So many people feel like the industry is crowded … but every blogger brings something different to the table,” says Allen. Three different bloggers can talk about the same thing in three different ways. “As bloggers and vloggers we each bring a different element to make this industry a whole.” Allen credits her authenticity as the foundation of her success. Her ability to portray her personality in her work allows her readers to connect with her and develop their own relationship. “They take to your personality —that’s what catches them and that’s why they’re more likely to stick around.”
Allen is a pioneer. She’s looking to lead the charge in bridging the gap between natural hair stylists and natural hair vloggers. She’s currently working toward earning a cosmetology license, and her ultimate goal is to open up a school once she gets an instructor’s license. With few schools teaching natural haircare and styling, Allen wants to highlight natural hair practices at her school. “Teaching stylists about natural hair will give them an advantage because they’ll be able to educate their clientele. That’s the ultimate goal.”
You can learn more about Allen by visiting www.strawberricurls.com; liking her on Facebook: www.facebook.com\strawberricurls; subscribing to her YouTube channel: www.youtube.com\thestrawberricurls, and following her on Instagram and Twitter: @strawberricurls IG and Twitter
Chanel Martin (@ChanelEbone) is a co-founder and chief science officer of Techturized (@Techturized) Inc. She is also a wife, new mom, and lover of all things hair! She works full time on her company Techturized. Techturized’s first product, Myavana (@Myavanahair), provides personal hair care resources for female consumers around the world.