Former MAC Global Communications Manager, Aja Bradley-Kemp, Starts Natural Hair Movement in Australia

It’s truly a beautiful thing when women can feel seen and heard and connect over their similarities.

Living in Australia and working as a marketer for global beauty brands, this entrepreneur noticed a lack of resources for Black natural hair care. Aja Bradley-Kemp, the creator of the Love My Curls Festival, curated the first beauty event celebrating women in Australia and New Zealand with curly and textured hair. Her entrepreneurial journey launched with the creation of her own agency, Conversate Collective, following her leave as one of MAC’s premier global communications managers. 

As a marketer and experiential event designer, she has used her experience to grow consumer, lifestyle, and tech brands in the United States and international markets, including Expedia, MAC Cosmetics, Sunglass Hut, and Reebok.

Bradley-Kemp shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE how working in the beauty industry for over 20 years has led to creating an empowering environment of diversity and inclusion among the Black Australian hair community, as well as in the U.S.

Natural hair care: A mission to unify the Black Australian hair community

Bradley-Kemp identifies herself as a “natural connector” who loves bringing people together. After a journey of trial and error using relaxers, texturizers, experimenting with protective styles, and experiencing breakage in the 2000s, she was determined to find alternative ways to wear her natural curls.

“There’s no holy grail or product cocktail that works for everyone. We all have different needs and lifestyles,” the natural hair guru said. “The more you understand how a product works, what ingredients are in the formula and how it should be applied, the more confident you will be in taking care of your hair.”

Working for global beauty brands including MAC Cosmetics expanded her horizons beyond the U.S., to the Canadian and Australian markets. Providing solutions to the lack of resources for Black hair care and educating women on how to use different natural hair products became a huge part of Bradley-Kemp’s mission for Black naturalistas.

Love My Curls Festival
Aja Bradley-Kemp

Living in Australia for almost a decade uncovered the scarcity of products for Black hair. “During that time [I] could never just run to a store and pick up products for a wash and go or twist out. I either had to have friends and family send them to me or stock up when I visited the U.S.,” Bradley-kemp shared.

Moving back to the U.S. in 2015 opened her eyes to the natural hair movement that was in full swing. “I was just in awe of the amount of products, education, and conversation that was readily available for women here,” she said. “I wanted to provide that access and community to my girlfriends in Australia that were having the same challenges caring for their hair that I was.”

“Our goal with Love My Curls is to cut down on the amount of time, money, trial and error it takes to figuring out what the right products are for you,” she said. “At the festival, in addition to providing access to the brand representatives, we had a full day of live demonstrations, product spotlight sessions and panel discussions to ensure there was plenty of hands-on education being provided.”

The event created an empowering environment of diversity and inclusion amongst both the Black Australian and New Zealand hair communities. “When I set out to create the festival, my target audience, who I thought this would be most beneficial for, was Black women living in the region. But when I spoke with Tomasina Boone, a fellow expat and owner of Curls and Natural Hair Salon in Sydney, she explained how her customers are women of multiple ethnicities and they are all using products intended for black women because of their efficacy.”

Brands and customers were able to connect in ways that they hadn’t previously. For some of the brands, it was their first time visiting the Australia market. Customers were able to get questions answered directly from brand representatives and professional stylists, while stocking up on products that were not readily available in local stores.

Love My Curls became a forum for conversations surrounding the commonalities of the hair journey and experiences as women.

“I was touched to hear stories from young children and grown women about how grateful they were to have a community who could relate to their experiences of growing up in a society where straight hair was the prevailing beauty standard and their natural curls were viewed as unruly and unkept,” Bradley-Kemp said about the event. “While we share some similarities with our Australian sisters, the conversations and challenges for women with natural hair are different in Australia than the U.S. But, at a basic level, Love My Curls is about celebrating our hair and bringing women together who all have the same goal – to get poppin’ curls, a healthy crown, and feel confident in the process!”

Aja Bradley-Kemp
Conversate Collective

Bradley-Kemp founded her brand consulting agency, Conversate Collective, a Black woman-owned agency that helps brands develop lasting relationships with their audience, through the power of shared experiences, specifically with women of color. 

“As an agency that specializes in creating experiences for women of color, I now get to work with brands and hairstylists to help them nurture their communities, create inclusive spaces, and get their products in the hands of the people that need them,” she said.


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Bradley-Kemp has experience working on hundreds of product releases and had the privilege of launching campaigns with iconic spokespeople like Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Eve, and Missy Elliott to raise money for the MAC AIDS Fund and support people affected by HIV/AIDS. Branching out into entrepreneurship led her to work with natural hair brands such as Cantu, Mielle Organics, Shea Mositure, and Mixed Chicks.

“We live in a world that is divided and divisive,” she said, adding that her goal is to continue providing a unifying experience.