Shequitta Kelly is a very successful judge, but she still pushes herself above the rest.
The Dallas County Judge is the inventor of The Hair Shield, a satin-lined protective unit ready to hold women’s hair extensions, wigs and weaves at will. The invention flourishes, but it almost didn’t make it to market, as Kelly initially had no intention of pursuing entrepreneurship.
“I had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur. I’m a book person, so I’ve always been the student who got good grades. If I applied, I could learn everything. I wasn’t an easy learner, but if you gave me the material and I studied it thoroughly, I can get it. Entrepreneurship is something completely different. It was actually never something I dreamed of doing,” Kelly exclusively told AfroTech.
Kelly later woke up the night before a hair appointment while she was filtering through tangled and dried out hair extensions. She realized that the extensions could not be saved because they were not stored properly. Once again, Kelly spent her hard-earned coins on new hair, but she convinced herself there had to be a solution to her problems out there. So she scoured the internet.
“I was getting ready for a hair appointment the next day and I was going through all this hair that was just unusable and it was frustrating for me,” Kelly said. “So I went online and looked for something to properly protect and store the hair so I could reuse it, but I couldn’t find anything.”
Frustrated by the lack of options, Kelly drew on her talent for sewing and in 2018 put together a prototype of what would eventually become The Hair Shield. The protective satin unit is a quality product that revives, transports and “provides the optimal surface for extension storage and ultimate quality maintenance by reducing frizz and dryness,” according to AfroTech’s information. In addition, it ensures that the hair is free from bacteria and mold.
Kelly reveals her product has preserved one of her favorite hairpieces that has been in storage since 2018.
“It still looks like brand new hair. I’ve had this hair since I made The Hair Shield and it proves it’s not about spending that much money on hair. It’s about how you protect it and how you store it. So if I can have hair from 2018 to 2022 that looks like I just bought it, that means this product is working,” Kelly said.
The Hair Shield is intentionally priced at $35 to ensure accessibility for customers.
“Black women don’t compromise when it comes to our beauty, and neither should we. The mission of The Hair Shield is to empower women to still have the glamorous look they want without having to constantly throw money down the drain,” Kelly told AfroTech.
The product is gaining popularity among consumers, but that hasn’t necessarily put an end to the harsh lessons entrepreneurs often face.
“Because I don’t have the entrepreneurship experience, I’ve had a lot of pitfalls and spent a lot of money that I could have avoided if I had a mentor. I made a lot of mistakes as a young entrepreneur that I think you have to make to get smarter in life. There were costly mistakes, so I didn’t enjoy it. I had a lot of trouble getting this product out there because it’s not a product that people can pick up like a t-shirt and know what it is.”
She continued: “Even though it was a struggle, it’s my baby and The Hair Shield has blossomed. It is an amazing quality product and women who buy it absolutely love it. I’m glad I pushed and pushed it and continue to hone my skills as an entrepreneur and learn new things. It was an unexpected blessing.”
As Kelly looks ahead, she hopes to secure her patent on the product. This would place her in a small category of black women for achieving this feat. In addition, the founder hopes to forge some business partnerships and hire youth by 2023, hoping to rekindle their interest in entrepreneurship.
“As an entrepreneur with a successful business, I want to be able to employ a lot of young people and people like me,” Kelly shared. “I want to be able to give someone a job where they can grow within the company and pursue other things like their own business, or have someone like me who can say, ‘This is how you can do your education or your Just advance your career.’ That would ultimately be the goal of The Hair Shield, to impact my community on a whole different level that I can’t do as a judge.”