When it comes to putting natural hair into a puff, things can get pretty tight. That is why Ceata Lash has come up with the PuffCuff, a styling tool that holds hair puffs in place without pulling on the scalp.
Lash went natural in 2006 and spent five years looking for styling tools that wouldn’t pull or break her curls. With no luck finding anything, she decided to make a product of her own. What makes the PuffCuff work on curls is that it is not elastic. It’s a big, rounded clip that can be clamped around curly hair to hold it in place without tightening and pulling. The PuffCuff is clamped around gathered hair and with its comb-like bristles, curls expand into the clamp eliminating tension. It also comes in four different sizes for different hair lengths and puff sizes.
“Everything on the market outside of the PuffCuff, is designed to give straight, thin hair bulk,” said Lash. “All of us who have texture and curls, don’t need anything to cinch our hair down or give us bulk. We just need something to hold our hair in place.”
PuffCuff’s journey has been one of time and dedication. Starting out with the idea in 2011, it took three years to be officially in business. Lash is a college educated graphic designer, but she didn’t have much retail experience, so she started out by selling the PuffCuff on Amazon. This is where Lash learned about her customers, what to include in packaging, and the importance of marketing. After gaining knowledge and a customer base, Lash launched her own website to sell PuffCuff in 2017.
A big turn in business happened last year when Sally Beauty took notice of PuffCuff. Lash applied to a contest with Sally Beauty that was geared towards helping women entrepreneurs in beauty with a grant and online distribution. She did not win the contest but won the attention of the Sally Beauty president at the time.
“I didn’t win the contest, but they created a category for me,” said Lash. “The president of Sally Beauty at the time saw my product in a strategy session, understood it, and was like, ‘she doesn’t need to go through the pitch process, we’re automatically putting her on the shelves.’”
Sally Beauty awarded Lash with the first ever Sally Beauty’s President Innovation Award last year, which included a contract with in-store distribution and opportunities to travel with them to showcase PuffCuff at beauty events. Most recently, Lash was on the Sally Beauty stage at BeautyCon NYC.
While Lash partners with Sally Beauty for some events, she is also an independent businesswoman and the first Black woman to own two patents for a natural hair accessory. Lash hosts hair shows as well including her #DitchtheBand LIVE event in May where she brought together Black-owned and women-owned businesses for a day of comradery, beauty, and fun.
“I’ve been to a lot hair shows on both sides of the table, as a vendor and as an attendee. With having my own show, I want to make sure to let the consumers know that they are appreciated by providing a great experience with gifts, styling tips, and free styling; and as a Black business, let the vendors know that we are here to share the wealth and promote other Black, female, and minority owned businesses,” said Lash.
This year’s #DitchtheBand LIVE was in Georgia but plans to be an event that travels from state to state. Lash is also working on a PuffCuff product and website that is geared towards men. PuffCuff can be purchased online at ThePuffCuff.comand at over 1,000 Sally Beauty locations.