Bahamian businesswoman behind Kurlee Belle haircare on prospering in the pandemic

Terrinique Pennerman, founder of Kurlee Belle talks about her business during the pandemic.

Video Transcript

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: Natural beauty is, like, very important. I don't remember ever having natural hair as a child.

DANA OLIVER: Hi beauties. I'm Dana Oliver. And on this episode of My Beauty, My Way, I have the pleasure of speaking with Terrinique Pennerman. Terrinique is the founder of Kurlee Belle, a hair care company with recipes inspired by her home island of The Bahamas. She's whipped up products that have helped her business to boom during the pandemic, and I'm hoping that she'll share her secret sauce.

What do you believe was missing from the hair care industry when it comes to Bahamian or, you know, Caribbean representation?

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: What was missing, I believe, was the whole tropical experience of products that smell really good. They smell tropical. Products that are made from natural ingredients. Products that do what they say on the label. They are very moisturizing and defining.

DANA OLIVER: Was it easy or difficult finding products, you know, to take care of your natural hair?

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: That's one of the reasons why I started Kurlee Belle, or how I started Kurlee Belle, because I was using relaxers that were damaging my scalp and my hair. I wanted to use products made from all natural ingredients. My mom and I, in The Bahamas, we used to mix our own hair treatments. So I just started doing that, like, mixing my own stuff, and, like, Shea butter and coconut oil for twisting.

And my friend at the time was like, your hair looks really good. You should start your own hair line. And I just ran with the idea. And that's basically how Kurlee Belle started. I wanted my products to be made from natural ingredients. So when I started Kurlee Belle, I just used, honestly, my limited knowledge of what works, like what ingredients work, that were found in the kitchen.

And like with the shampoo, which is like my all-time favorite product, I have never used a shampoo that actually cleans the hair but moisturizes it. So it doesn't feel like dry and straw-like after you use it, because it does make your hair feel very moisturized.

DANA OLIVER: And can we talk about the Kurlee Tropical Oil Blend? Because it is my favorite, as you can see, I've gone down to here already. I need to know the secret. I mean, there's castor oil, there's coconut oil, there's jojoba.

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: So this product, it can be used three ways. So as a pre-poo, so before you shampoo your hair, you can put it on. It also works as a hot oil treatment.


TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: You can, like, submerge it in, like, boiling hot water, wait until it gets, you know, at a good, warm temperature and put it on your hair. You can use it as a daily shine enhancer. So if you have hair like my hair, where my hair will be moisturized but it won't look moisturized, it gives you that instant, like, pop of shine.

DANA OLIVER: Had there been a product or a line that has had particular growth within Kurlee Belle during this time?

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: So definitely our styling product, our Jelle Coconut styling gel. We have seen, like, a tremendous demand for that. It's a crystal clear gel. It goes on, like, really smooth. No flakes or crunch, which is, you know, not normal.

DANA OLIVER: Very important, and not normal at all.

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: And then you can use it with our Thirsty Curls leave-in conditioner, which has also seen, like, tremendous growth. They mix well together because they're both water-based. But this gel really, like, defines your curls. It gives you that definition with a medium hold. People have just been buying like two and three and four of this at a time.

DANA OLIVER: Can you talk about how you've been able to really thrive in spite of COVID?

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: Personally, like, I've been working so hard on Kurlee Belle, and then COVID came and I did not expect for the fruits of my labor to increase so much. The customers just came, you know, came to the brand, like, OK let's see what this is all about. I'll try it out. So our website sales increased, like, 1,000% during the pandemic, and then our retail increased 100%.

DANA OLIVER: So Terrinique, can you give us a sneak peek into what's next for Kurlee Belle?

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: We are, inspired by my little daughter Ayla, going to launch a kid's line.

DANA OLIVER: Oh, exciting. Now my final question for you. Can you complete this sentence for me? My beauty is:

TERRINIQUE PENNERMAN: Eternal. I'd like to think that when people think about me, you know, I want them to think that, you know, she was a good person. You know? It doesn't matter how I looked. That is what I would like for my legacy to be as well. It's not about how I look, but it's about how I treat people and how people feel.