Courtesy of Kaleidoscope Hair Products
As with many professional hairstylists, Jesseca Harris-Dupart has been styling hair since she was a child. However, her journey and grit are what make her stand out from the rest, and it's why her haircare brand Kaleidoscope Hair Products is now a multi-million dollar business.
Let's start from the beginning. Dupart started styling her friends and family as a kid. Then, when she was a teen, she had three pregnancies and was eventually kicked out of her house. On her own with kids to care for, she became ignited with ambition and studied to become a licensed cosmetologist. For over a decade, she hustled as a freelance stylist until she opened her first salon in New Orleans in 2013. However, the celebration was short-lived as the salon burned down. And while some people may give up, Dupart persisted and reopened in 2014. This time, with a hair product line of her own.
"I'm the type of person who when adversity hits me, I take two steps back and say, 'Okay, if this is taken from me then something greater must be out there. There must be a better something I'm supposed to be in, so let me figure out what this is and keep pushing forward and pressing through,'" she tells InStyle over Zoom.
Her hard work and positive mindset payed off. Now, Kaleidoscope Hair Products are sold at Target, Sally Beauty, CVS, and Walmart — and the brand has become a multi-million dollar business. Here, Dupart shared with us why she started the brand, how she gives back, and her best business advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to start Kaleidoscope Hair products?
One of my clients cheated on me and went to different hairstylist, and when she came back, she had a spot missing in her head. I had grown her hair pretty long, but this stylist put in a ponytail with bobby pins that scratched her scalp. So, it was left for me to treat it. I tried to find different ways to speed up the process, so I used different things [to help promote regrowth].
Where did the brand name come from?
I am absolutely fascinated by colors, and the kaleidoscope is the toy you put to your eye and see a million colors and shapes. So even our website is iluvcolors.com — I just love an array of colors. If somebody asked me what my favorite color is, I'd say a rainbow.
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You and Kaleidoscope Hair give back a lot. Why was it important to you to do so?
I never will take anything for granted. I feel like God's placed me in all kinds of situations — and I have a very blessed and fortunate life. So, I have a responsibility and an obligation to pour it back into the world.
In a way, I feel like I'm selfish in my giving because I get satisfaction out of seeing people smile and seeing people's reactions. So it's not like there's nothing I get out of it. It's important for me to give back, because it makes me feel like, why do all of this? Why do all of this, why attain all of this, why do you even go this far if you're not going to put back into the world, or at least try to do something dynamic?
This year, I'm breaking the Guinness record again. We've given a bunch of hair grow products to an organization, the Center for Black Equity, that can help the LGBTQ+. They're in our community — people who transition — and when they go through their process, a lot of them experience hair loss.
What's the most satisfying part about owning your business?
Reaching the masses, being very transparent about my story with the public, and letting people know that if I can do it then anybody can. I'm very vocal about having teen pregnancies, having three children, being put out of the house, and just moving forward and figuring it out. I didn't go to college, I didn't study things to make me successful, so if I could do it, anybody can.
A few years ago, I did a tour and 17,000 to 18,000 people came out, and they came to me with these great stories. "Hey, you changed my family's life. I was able to do this. I'm the first person in my family to do this." "Hey, I made a million dollars. Thank you so much." And those kind of things. So, even though it's not directly connected to Kaleidoscope Hair products, it's motivated by Kaleidoscope because my journey is what I'm able to express to the world.
What advice do you have for aspiring beauty bosses?
Do it anyway. Stop reaching out to people for advice, for motivation. If God gave you the idea, you are the only person that has your eyesight and that's going to understand the craziness in your head. Some people might have had a bad experience trying to pursue something, like going after their dreams, so they might be trying to protect you by telling you not to do it. But in all actuality, it's killing your motivation and your dreams. So I would say do it anyway.
Shop Kaleidoscope Hair Products:
This is one of the four products that Dupart launched with, and since then, it has become Kaleidoscope's hero product. Designed to promote hair growth, this lightweight oil contains peppermint to stimulate blood circulation, aloe extract to nourish hair follicles, and tea tree oil to cleanse the scalp and combat dryness.
SoulFed Pecan Pie Growth Booster
This product is a favorite of Dupart's, who says she uses it every single day. When it originally launched, Dupart says it sold out in less than 24 hours, so she knew it was a winner. This natural oil blend is great for protective styles and under-weave/wig care, as it stimulates the scalp, seals in moisture, and promotes healthy hair growth.
Miracle Drops Leave-In
This leave-in spray is an extension of the brand's best-selling Miracle Drops and, according to Dupart, is flying off the shelves. "It has growth agents in it, so it keeps your hair moisturized, conditioned, and helps it grow at the same time," she says.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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