I’m Auri, the CEO of Hair by Auri. I am a half-Finnish, half-Zambian entrepreneur pushing a new wave of protective hairstyling and making it more affordable and accessible in Finland and Scandinavia. The core of my business is selling hair extensions (and other hair related apparatus) as well as braiding hair with a focus on mixed hair types. I provide hair inspiration for followers who may need help or an idea and aim to showcase a variety of afro hairstyles and colours for different ages, needs and attitudes. My personal goal is to uplift and tempt other shy or oppressed people to be more daring and bold with their hair.
I’m mixed race, meaning I understand the difficulties that come with the upkeep of mixed hair. Unless you know someone who knows someone who sells hair, it’s difficult to find it affordably. When I moved to Oulu, I found only one shop selling hair extensions with a website (and with uncomfortably high prices). For me, this was a clear opportunity to build something new in the space with great customer service.
Failure is real but embrace it. No one gets it right on the first try.
Braiding hair is also a way to interact with an entire nation of people and hear about their journey, struggles and hopes and dreams intimately since we spend hours together. I’m a people person, and listening to different viewpoints on topics and bonding over similar or adverse tastes is my passion. I want my brand to feel personal and intimate.
Finland is very supportive of the entrepreneurial spirit. I’d had the idea for a few months before approaching a black businesswoman and pitching her my idea. She supported it and helped me flesh it out more. We eventually registered officially; I created my social media handles and the website, ordered my stock in and VOILA!
I started the actual business by building recognition with some key African female entrepreneurs and slowly integrated into the afro society in Oulu. As I mentioned before, the braiding and hair industry outside of Africa is a little hidden. As information is not so readily available, I am still finding more suppliers and retailers within Finland through word of mouth and research.
I work my own hours, design my own website and mould my own future.
Even though running a business can be tough at times, I love being an entrepreneur. People become entrepreneurs because of their interests or passions. I personally created my favourite job and built it to my liking. I work my own hours, design my own website and mould my own future.
Entrepreneurial work is nothing like normal work, though. It can take much more time from your life than a normal 9-to-5 job. I wish I knew how addictive my personality is before I started; when I start working or have an idea for my expansion, I do not stop.
That being said, I have only one thing to say to anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur: do it. Failure is real but embrace it. No one gets it right on the first try. You don’t need a 4000-page business plan and a tangy elevator pitch ready before starting your business. You only need an idea, some bravery and a lot of resilience.