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Jessica Parrish

Female Founder Spotlight: Jessica Parrish

28 June 2021|Brand Story, Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder

Female Founder Spotlight: Jessica Parrish of Shedid & Parrish
Female Founder Spotlight: Jessica Parrish of Shedid & Parrish

Curly hair is not just a look, it is a way of life; one that is full of as many twists and turns as those beautiful tresses themselves. Nobody understands this more than Shedid & Parrish’s founder, Jessica Parrish. Jessica has lived the confusion that comes with it and is ready to help others transform their own experiences into the confidence they need to embrace, rather than conquer, their curls once and for all. Jessica founded Shedid & Parrish in February 2021, a new to market hair care brand that has been specifically formulated with all types of curly and textured hair in mind.  We were delighted to catch up with Jessica recently to learn more about her entrepreneurship journey.

Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?

Before starting Shedid & Parrish I spent over 20 years specialising in the food and real estate sector. I was Commercial Director at Time Out Market where I grew their food & cultural market concept on an international scale and developed and opened five across North America! I also run a consultancy that supports restaurateurs and developers with their strategies to get the best out of their operation. In addition, I have an Executive MBA from Cranfield University.

Shedid & Parrish is a new hair care brand created with curl and texture in mind. Specifically created for all types of curly and textured hair, Shedid & Parrish products are vegan, 100% natural, scent free, cruelty free and of salon quality. The range features six products including the Deep Cleansing Shampoo, Deep Restoring Conditioner, Leave-in Conditioner, Afro Butter, Curl Styler, and Curl Control Serum. All products are formulated by an ethical manufacturing partner in South Africa using only the best 100% natural and vegan ingredients specifically for the needs of curly hair and, thanks to this, not only the quality and texture of hair is improved but also its health and strength. As the brand represents all things natural, it is dedicated to using sustainable packaging and all products come in light and re-usable aluminium bottles with product details printed directly onto the bottle rather than using labels. Additionally, bottles are sold with screw caps as standard so that bottle pumps can be reused and further waste is avoided.

How did the idea come to you for the company?

I have spent most of my life struggling with my hair. As a mixed race, adopted child, my caucasian parents didn’t know how to look after my hair but nor did the stylists at the time and there were certainly no products to try. When I re-looked more recently, I felt that it was still just as difficult to be serviced, either from a stylist on the high street, or from a trusted product that was vegan, 100% natural, and was made specifically with curl and texture in mind so the hair not only looks great but is also in good condition… so I decided to create my own range.

Shedid & Parrish
Shedid & Parrish

How did you achieve awareness?

I’m still working on it! We have both Instagram and Facebook social platforms where we are building a likeminded community that is interested in hair health and hair positivity, as well as finding new products and techniques to employ. It’s very important that Shedid & Parrish is synonymous with hair positivity, inclusivity and building confidence through the product range. Working with our PR company Kilpatrick has also been amazing; introducing both myself and the brand to journalists interested in a new product as well as the reasons behind its creation.

How have you been able to gain funding and grow?

I started Shedid & Parrish with my own savings so haven’t yet needed to get funding. I felt passionately about the project and knew that I would ultimately need investment in order to grow, but it felt right that if I had faith in my ideas I should ‘put my money where my mouth is’.  So I backed myself, with money that I had saved over the years. I will need to approach financial supporters in the future, and the key will be to find partners who see both the business potential but also the industry influence we’re seeking to develop. 

What are the key successes?

Success will be when any person, with any hair type, can walk into any salon across the UK and be serviced with skill, experience and understanding. Success will be when little girls and boys with tight curls, are feeling like a princesses and princes and that they see themselves reflected back across all mediums. There are lots of little successes, but I have a long way to go before I feel I’ll have really achieved them.

What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?

Some of the challenges were very basic; moving into a new industry, creating a product that not only delivered for all curl types but that was vegan, cruelty free and approved for retail. I had to go through many tests to prove the product, but they were all learnings that have created a stronger more conscious range. 

What are your plans now/for the future?

Shedid & Parrish has always been about providing an accessible solution to the curl community and finding hair equality. I still find that, as a curly girl myself, it isn’t that easy to be seen in a salon with a stylist who understands curls. I would love to see Shedid & Parrish salons where all curls are welcomed by a knowledgeable team and of course our fantastic salon quality range, or alternatively to partner with carefully selected salons who align with our values.

Female Founder Spotlight: Jessica Parrish of Shedid & Parrish
Female Founder Spotlight: Jessica Parrish of Shedid & Parrish

What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?

I read somewhere once that if you have an idea and wake up every morning thinking about it then it’s worth pursuing. I’ve had many ideas over the years, some which I’ve actually seen others develop, and it’s given me both confidence that my ideas are valid and the feeling of frustration that I didn’t follow through. However, I’m a great believer of things happening when ready. I believe I’m approaching my whole entrepreneurial journey differently now that if feels ‘right’, than if I’d forced it before I was ready.  So, if you have faith in it… go for it and don’t worry about whether you’re too late or too early. Anytime can be the right time.

Can you share you top 5-10 tips for entrepreneurial success?

I’m just at the beginning of my journey and whilst it’s incredibly exciting to see my brand featured and highlighted, we still have a long way to go! However, some of the things I’ve learnt along the way are:

1) Always listen to those around you, no matter who they are or what they do… you can always learn something

2) Be selective about what you choose to ‘hear’ and implement. No one knows your business like you do – listen to others but follow your own path.

3) Stay focussed on what you’re doing. It’s very distracting out there with so many ideas to follow so be wary of ‘shiny things’ as they can take you away from your goal

4) Seek advice and don’t think everyone wants to steal your idea! Most people want to help if you give them the chance

5) Appreciate the little things. Whether it’s the ability to go swimming at 10am or adapt the day to be with a friend in need, enjoy being in control of your own time… it’s worth so much. 

Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most? 

1) Nisha Katona – an ex lawyer who moved into the hospitality space and founded Mowgli Street Food… inspiring to see someone following their passion and changing industries so successfully… 

2) Pennyfroreal– a digital creator and model with a great social presence.  

3) Heybambino– The curly Hair Coach, showing parents how to look after their little ones’ curls. 

4) https://lovedandcurly.com– a new business by Vicky Sheppard focussing in providing resources, knowledge and product for mixed race families particularly regarding their hair.  They also provide starter packs for children in care, working with local councils and fostering agencies

5) Jacinda Arden – Prime minister of New Zealand with a real social, inclusive yet firm view way of ruling the country. 

What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?

Stanley Gordon West — ‘Smile and the world smiles with you’

If you are always trying to be normal,  you will never know how amazing you can be – Maya Angelou

If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun – Katherine Hepburn

What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?