My interview with Melissa from NightBlooming
What got you interested into formulating your own natural hair and skin care line?
I had always like the idea of natural products, but wasn’t really keen on making them myself until I destroyed my hair with chemical dyes. My hair is naturally a natural medium to light ashy brown, but I have always, always, a l w a y s adored red hair. I started coloring with semi-permanent dyes, but those only gave me a cinnamon color. I wanted flaming red! By the time I was 13 I had worn my mom down and had hopped onto the chemical hair color bandwagon and had the new-penny ginger hair I’d always wanted. When I graduated high school my hair was still down to my hips, but the color faded badly, so I dyed it more and more often. By the time I started my second year of college my hair was so damaged that it had crumbled up to my shoulderblades. I’d lost my favorite feature, my long hair. My scalp was constantly full of scabs from the chemicals and my bright copper hair was burgundy because my damaged hair over-saturated itself with dye. In a fit of sadness I decided there had to be a better way, and after some research learned about henna. Back then there wasn’t nearly as much information online as there is now, and so began a long journey of experimentation and learning. Between trying so many herbal blends and trying to patch my damaged hair back together and grow it out healthy, the products that would one day be offered by NightBlooming were born.
How long have you been creating these products?
Although NightBlooming launched on Etsy in 2007, I would say that I started developing many of the core products back in 2005 or so.
Who was your biggest inspiration during your early phase of your business?
I’ve been a long standing (10 year!) member of The Long Hair Community and became known there as sort of a resident henna guru. I’d published a few articles there on rehabilitating damaged hair and dying hair with henna, and members of the community were what inspired me to reach out to start NightBlooming. That they found my knowledge so helpful, and were so encouraging, was what really gave me the courage to jump into trying to create a business from it.
When did you decide to open up your Etsy shop, and how do you advertise your line? (social media, word of mouth, etc.)
I actually didn’t do much in the way of advertising when I first launched, and think that was for the best. There was word of mouth in the long hair, henna, and natural hair care circles, but it was sort of a soft boot. Which was exactly what I needed because there was a ton of learning that took place early on. Having business ramp up slowly allowed me to learn and grow with NightBlooming. Had I a bunch of traffic and the amount of customers I have now, then, I think I’d have failed horribly.
Out of all your products, which ones are your absolute favorites and why?
Oh goodness, that one is hard. My favorites are probably the ones I use myself most often.
Selkie for detangling (that’s actually my hair in the picture!):www.etsy.com/listing/253008762
Genasi for color: www.etsy.com/listing/113022203
Freya’s Salve for a leave-in: www.etsy.com/listing/170967502
and Hinoki Hair Growth Oil. It’s mostly for growth, but nothing kills scalp itches for me like it does: www.etsy.com/listing/227806007
And my LotR Ficcare mods for styling:
Tell us how Henna differs from salon and store bought hair coloring, and is it healthier for your hair:
That’s a very long question to answer, but the short short version is that henna and herbal hair colors actually strengthen and condition your hair instead of damaging your hair as chemical colors do. Chemical colors (generally) work by lifting the cuticle of the hair, bleaching out the natural color, imparting a chemical color and (attempt to) lay the cuticle of the hair back down. This damages the hair, and over time, can add up to so much damage that the very inner structure of the hair deteriorates and breaks off. By contrast, henna binds directly to the keratin of the hair, making it stronger, and giving people a red that never fades. Which is another difference: if you don’t like a chemical color it isn’t too hard to remove it. If you don’t like your henna color, removing it is very, very difficult. The same properties that give it it’s permanency and non-fading magic also make it exceedingly challenging to remove.
What products do you recommend most in your shop and why?
Two of the most common questions I get lead right to the two products I recommend the most. The first question is, “Which of your products is the most moisturizing?” and when I respond with, “The hair salves” the follow-up question is “Which one should I try?” And the answer to that is all of them!
The Hair Salve Sample Trinity pack is the best way to try each of the salves. I’ve actually surveyed my customers at length and there were no strong trends between hair type and which type of salve people found their hair preferred.
The next question I get is, “What do I do about my scalp flakes?” When most people think flakes they think about dandruff and fungus, but the reality is that is only the cause of flakes in SOME cases. Often, very often actually, the culprit of scalp flakes is lack of exfoliation and an overly dry scalp. Thriae Scalp Scrub treats all of these, with the honey and sugar imparting moisture, the gentle abrasion of the sugar exfoliating the scalp, and the essential oils targeting any fungus growth that may be on the scalp.
Can clients custom order products from you, certain colors, etc?
They can! I’ve limited custom hair accessories while working on updating the Rehabilitating Damaged Hair Naturally book (it’s now over twice the length of the currently posted version), and edging towards completion of what will be a comprehensive book on dying hair with henna and other herbs. I’ll still do custom oil blends and custom hair colors, though!
Note from Hippie Chic Jewelz: I can tell you that after I personally used your Bright Copper Fire Genasi from your shop, my dry, damaged blond hair became healthier looking after application. It not only improved my hairs condition it has also grown like crazy. The color is absolutely gorgeous, and unlike commercial hair dyes it has not faded one bit!
Tell me why you love handmade, what is it that inspires you?
My favorite thing about handmade is the human element. When something is mass-produced there’s no impression of a human behind it. It’s purposefully created to be a sterile, as removed from that as possible. With handmade there are quirks, imperfections, variations, and wonderfully unique properties that remind you that someone crafted this with their hands. It encourages me to be mindful that what I make is very special to my customers, and to always spend the extra time to make every package like a gift they receive in the mail.
Do you ever get in a creative rut, and if so how to combat it?
Sometimes I get very, very run down and burned out. I have a full-time day job, NightBlooming, and I’m working on getting my series of fantasy novels published. That means that I often have a LOT going on and my life sometimes seems a series of to-do lists. Whenever I get into a rut like that I let myself do something I WANT to do. That might be tinkering on a new Signature Oil for next month, or reading in the garden, or taking a bath, but it’s important to remind myself that the world is not going to explode if every item on my list isn’t crossed off. Taking time to do something I want to do gets my creativity and drive going again.
Where else can we find you on the web? (Links to FB, Twitter, etc)
I’ve stubbornly held out on Facebook, but you can find me on:
Melissa, thank you for taking time to let me interview you! Your shop has the most wonderful items, and now that we know more about you, your shop and how your products are created and work I am eager to try each of them!
If anyone has any questions for Melissa about her shop and products you can visit her on Etsy or leave a comment below.Wishing everyone a wonderful day!Peace, Love and Hippie Chic Jewelz