Natural hair and its maintenance is of great importance to Black women and men alike all over the world. With each passing moment, realization dawns, and another believes, and returns natural.
This ever-growing community is one that Nana Aba Kwenua Pobee, founder and creative director of Wonder’Fro, a rapidly growing China-based haircare brand is proud to be a part of.
Started (unofficially) in February 2018, the brand aims to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and promote awareness of its maintenance. ‘It was born out of necessity’, Nana Aba explains, ‘I saw a need and I decided to help, by giving.’
“Even before its name was conceived and birthed, the inspiration ran for many months- initially, it was to provide one very important necessity of natural hair care- satin bonnets.” In May 2019, the young entrepreneur officially announced her brand name, and she hasn’t looked back since.
The name she eventually settled with, Wonder’Fro, is a testament to the brand’s work and what they hope to achieve – “Wonder’Fro is from the word ‘wonderful’, in belief, acceptance and respect of the uniqueness and marvel of the Black or African person and the natural (untexturised) hair’, she explains. Going further into detail she tells us “The Black or African person is a wonder- the ‘wonder’ being his or her astounding nature, the goodness both within and without. The ‘fro’ telling the person spoken of- the one of Black or African descent.”
“You nurture what you love, and you become what you nurture.” – this explains our slogan, “to love, to nurture to, be”, she continues, “Who we desire you love, nurture and be is Wonder’Fro. Wonder’Fro is who you are.”
WeChat, China’s answer to WhatsApp, is where Wonder’Fro currently works on their mission to spread the ‘natural hair’ gospel: “We have a WeChat group, well two actually, of over 300 members, and growing by the minute. We work in tandem with other natural hair groups to provide advice, support, motivation and services. The natural hair community is very supportive. It keeps growing by the day!”
The groups essentially serve to gather Black women, so as to “encourage and support each other, not only on our hair journeys but also in all of life’s respects.” And while these groups also serve to help people “stay up-to-date on all things Wonder’Fro- new releases, discount sales, giveaways, promotions,” Nana Aba includes. She remains clear that the primary motivation for founding Wonder’Fro has been:
“It’s not about the profit primarily. It’s about serving, it’s about giving and helping. In helping people, you need to love them- love the good they are and the good they can be. And Wonder’Fro sees, and celebrates all that goodness in the Black or African person.”
“One thing we’re really proud to state is that all our accessories are from the motherland, Ghana. They are genuine, quality and true by all standards!” Maintaining ties back home is a crucial part of the brand’s philosophy she’s curated with Wonder’Fro and it’s been present since the beginning. Nana explains to our team, ‘Returning natural – because you return, not go natural- requires proper hair care.’
Nana Aba tells us that as more and more women on her campus returned natural, one key issue still remained:
People didn’t realise their regimen could be causing issues with their hair, or that wearing a satin bonnet or sleeping on a satin pillowcase was a must. “I realised, for example, that most people in my school would sleep with nothing covering their hair. And even if they covered their hair, whatever they put on wasn’t ‘safe’. They ended up complaining about knots, dryness, their edges thinning etc.”
This experience would be the genesis of Wonder’Fro.
‘The satin bonnets started first,’ Nana Aba recalls. ‘I got in touch with a sister at home, she’s the founder and owner of Natural Aid. I saw her on Instagram and saw she was selling satin bonnets and the like. So, I got in touch, explained what I wanted to do and pretty much immediately started ordering in bulk from her.’
Working with other African entrepreneurs and supporting a fellow black business while growing her own is a source of pride for Nana Aba ‘I’m proud to get [our products] from home.. I know and trust the quality because of the Ghanaian fabric we use.’
As ever, starting her own brand away from home has been full of lessons, ones that Nana Aba says she continues to welcome: “Since we got listed on Andinet Directory we’ve learnt how to manage a business page and grow our online presence. It’s also helped us earn a following from different places in China too. I have also been blessed to work with a good friend, Sherifah Alelemato Zakaria, as my business consultant and advisor. She’s been very instrumental in bringing Wonder’Fro where it is now. A few other friends have also been indispensable in this Wonder’Fro journey.”
And how does she have the steam to press on with her hair care mission? Nana credits God as the main source of motivation, strength and energy when striving to build her haircare empire, “What motivates me is my desire to please, praise, worship and honour the LORD with all that I am- to be a part of His Work here on earth- and to bless others, as He has blessed me.” She also mentions her family as being ever-present, very loving and very supportive.
Her experience in building her own brand has encouraged Nana Aba to reflect on her own journey and the lessons she’d share with those hoping to try their hand at entrepreneurship in China. For those hoping to push their brand to the next level, she shares with us, “Keep the desire burning, remind yourself of the reason(s) why you want your project to be, consistently pray about it, make time (do away with laziness and procrastination) to grow it, be patient -God willing, everything will fall into place beautifully.”
The future looks bright for Wonder’Fro, as they approach their one year anniversary since founding. “We officially launched with our name in May 2019. Now we have a stand, a voice, we are speaking to people and we are speaking with people. In terms of the growth and expansion of the brand, Nana Aba tells us, “We’ve got soo much in store, and we just can’t wait to share them with the world!”
And it looks like the brand will be making strides beyond haircare in the near future too: “At first it was only about hair, but as time is going on, we are delving deeper and each moment presents a new inspiration. We’re praying and we know the Good LORD will make a way.”
On her future hopes for Wonder’Fro, Nana Aba says she’ll remain committed to ‘promoting the African heritage and the African or Black person. Her wish, she tells us, is simple: ‘It’s my hope that anyone who comes into contact with us or with anything of ours, shall be led to love, to nurture and be who they were created to be- Wonder’Fro!!!’