Soulful Strands, a beauty supply and hair care products store owned by Nichole Ashley Moss, is making history as the first and only Black-owned business of its kind in the city of Corvallis, Oregon. It has quickly become a local gem, offering a diverse range of hair care essentials that cater to the unique needs of the community.
The idea for Soulful Strands emerged from Nichole’s own experience when she spent a hefty amount on hair care products at a beauty store in Portland, she told Oregon Live. Frustrated with the lack of similar options nearby, her husband suggested starting her own store.
However, Nichole faced challenges in launching the store. She struggled to secure business loans, leading her to fund the venture through four months of savings, contributions from her husband, and strategic bulk buying to build up her inventory. High rental costs in Albany, where she originally planned to set up the store, also made her change her plans.
She ended up at a location in downtown Corvallis, which has a smaller space. Despite the size constraints, Moss maximized its setup. The store offers a diverse range of hair extensions, conditioners, accessories, and tools strategically arranged on the shelves.
Customers walking in often express gratitude for the existence of this unique store. A lot of Black people around town, Black students from a nearby college, and clients from the braiding salon across the street are her usual customers. Beyond catering to Black hair needs, Nichole aims for inclusivity, offering products for all hair types.
While Nichole currently sources products from China, she aspires to exclusively feature items sourced from Africa in the future. She also envisions expanding her store to include makeup, beauty products, fashion accessories, African prints, and more.
Despite knowing the uncertainties of expansion, Nichole remains optimistic. She sees Soulful Strands as an opportunity to understand and appreciate curly, coily, and kinky hair and promote a positive perception of it.
“Your hair is like a plant. You got to water it, and if you don’t, it’ll die, like a plant. It’s causing me to learn a lot more working here,” Moss said.
Be sure to follow the shop on Instagram @Soulful_Strands_Beauty
Also, you can support the business by visiting its location at 425 SW Madison Ave F2, Corvallis, OR 97333.