City officials celebrate opening of Detroit holistic hair salon encouraging Detroiters to embrace their natural beauty
- Natural-ish, a holistic hair salon and beauty supply store in the University District, specializes in providing quality natural hair care
- The salon infuses sustainability and wellness practices into its services and has a 95% success rate in hair restoration
- Training is available for residents to become certified natural haircare specialists
- Motor City Match has awarded $12.9M in cash grants; 81% of overall winners are minority-owned businesses and 70% are women-owned
Today, Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation celebrated the opening of another Detroit-based small business supported by the Motor City Match program. City dignitaries joined business owner Aquila Peeples as she cut the ribbon on her brick-and-mortar establishment, Natural-ish, a natural hair care salon and beauty supply store in the University District.
The concept behind this unique salon blossomed from Peeples’ personal journey towards nurturing her natural hair after experiencing hair loss from hair relaxers and other abrasive chemicals. The pivotal moment arrived when she crossed paths with other women who had undergone similar challenges during her tenure as a hairstylist in a local salon.
Some African American women are compelled to use chemical straighteners due to societal and economic forces that uphold Eurocentric beauty ideals. In June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the bipartisan CROWN Act to end hair-based discrimination in Michigan. Natural-ish is an extension of this mission, endeavoring to help residents to embrace and cherish their innate hair textures.
"We aim to empower individuals suffering from hair loss, scalp problems and those seeking natural haircare solutions," said Peeples. "We're thrilled to be a part of the Motor City Match family, which has provided us a platform to make a real difference in our community."
The salon provides various hair styling services and treatments including twist braids, crochet braids, locs and more. For a limited time, the salon will offer first-time customers a $50 voucher toward their service and a $20 voucher for online purchases.
The salon also specializes in hair restoration, with an impressive 95% success rate in eliminating hair loss. Customers can also schedule a hair consultation with the salon’s holistic doctor for additional support. Additionally, classes are held in private breakout rooms for individuals interested in becoming certified healthy hair specialists.
"We've seen it so many times, where Motor City Match has helped a Detroiter convert an idea into a new business and Natural-ish is another great example,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, prior to the start of today’s event. “Aquila developed hair care solutions out of her own experience and realized that she could help others with similar needs. Thanks to the team at Motor City Match, Natural-ish is now the 151st new business to open a storefront in Detroit through this great program."
The Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association reveals that a mere 7% of beauty supply establishments in the United States are under African American ownership. This statistic starkly contrasts the thriving black hair care sector, which commands an estimated market worth of $2.5 billion—a figure projected to escalate beyond $6.9 billion by the year 2026. Natural-ish stands as an exception and has an accompanying beauty supply store that offers an assortment of natural hair care products, resulting in both individual well-being and environmental consciousness.
“Natural-ish is a well-deserving recipient of a Motor City Match grant. We are elated that they were selected to receive this award to bring their dreams into reality,” said Angela Whitfield-Calloway, Detroit city councilmember for District 2. “Natural-ish is a shining example of both entrepreneurship and service to the community. They provide services that help women with issues like alopecia and hair thinning. They also provide excellent products that their clients can use at home. We are elated to welcome Natural-ish to District 2!”
Nestled at 6375 W. 7 Mile Rd., the establishment received a $65,000 grant from Motor City Match to support building renovations. The salon is also looking to hire 10-12 commissioned and hourly employees who can help meet demand.
“Natural-ish stands as a symbol of embracing our authentic selves and cultivating self-confidence within our community,” said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which manages the Motor City Match program. “By offering a space for individuals to embrace their heritage through their hair and style, and by employing environmentally conscious methods, this salon will be a hub of positive change.”
Through 23 rounds of Motor City Match:
- Total cash grants: $12.9 million (Total leveraged investment: $68 million)
- Total business open: 151
- 81 percent are minority-owned businesses
- 70 percent are women-owned businesses
- 66 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents
About Motor City Match
Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at MotorCityMatch.com