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37 Oaks' Small Business Spotlight Meet Alexus Edmonds Haynie

Shining a light on the amazing small business owners that power the communities we live, work, and play in.

37 Oaks has the opportunity to work with some of the most amazing small business owners around the country. They start with a passion or a hobby, then we guide them towards growth. Let's take a moment to shine a light on the rock stars!

37 Oaks Small Business Spotlight
Owner, Alexus Edmonds Haynie

| 1. Tell Us About Your Business

Made Gentle® is a natural hair care company helping modern, eco-conscious people obtain healthy hair by providing natural and high-quality products. Our products are cruelty-free, vegan, and lightweight — providing a luxurious experience with visible results after each use. Crafted gently enough for all hair types. Perfect for wash day, blowouts, silk presses, beards, and protective styles. Made Gentle allows hair versatility without the hassle.

| 2. What Makes Your Business Unique?

Made Gentle stands out from the competition in several key ways. First, we are proud to be a vegan and cruelty-free brand, committed to creating products that are not only effective but also ethically produced. Our formulations are handcrafted by our founder, who brings a unique blend of expertise in neuroscience, medical science, and cosmetic formulation to the table. This background allows us to create products that are not only gentle and effective but also backed by scientific knowledge.

One of the defining aspects of Made Gentle is our origin story. Founded in 2020 during the global pandemic, our founder was inspired to create the first product, the hair & scalp oil, out of a personal need. Her grandmother, who was battling breast cancer, needed products that were safe to use alongside her medications. This personal experience drove our founder to create a gentle formulation specifically designed for individuals with sensitive scalps, like her grandmother. Overall, Made Gentle is more than just a hair care brand. We are a brand with a purpose, driven by compassion and a commitment to creating products that are safe, effective, and ethical.

| 3. What Inspired You to Start Your Business?

Made Gentle, Owner, Alexus Edmonds Haynie, 37 Oaks Small Business Spotlight

Made Gentle's commitment to creating gentle and clean hair products stems from our founder's desire to help people regain confidence in their crowns after losing hair due to uncontrolled circumstances. Alexus's maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Her2 Positive Breast Cancer in 2010 and 2015. Each diagnosis resulted in hair loss due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

| 4. Describe The Challenges Faced In Taking Your Business From A Hobby Into the Early Growth Stage.

Taking Made Gentle from a passion project to a budding business has been a journey filled with challenges and triumphs. One of the most significant hurdles we faced in the early growth stage was securing outside funding. As a small, black women-owned business, access to capital was limited, and we had to rely heavily on personal savings and support from family and friends to fuel our growth. The limited funding posed challenges in various aspects of our business, especially in marketing, inventory management, and branding. We had to operate within strict budget constraints, forcing us to be creative and strategic in our approach. Despite these challenges, we remained committed to our vision and found innovative ways to overcome these obstacles.

One of the key strategies we employed was to focus on building strong relationships with our customers and community. Through authentic storytelling and engagement, we were able to create a loyal customer base that supported us through word-of-mouth referrals and repeat purchases. This grassroots approach not only helped us conserve resources but also laid a solid foundation for future growth. Additionally, we leveraged social media and digital marketing to amplify our brand presence and reach a wider audience cost-effectively. By harnessing the power of social media platforms, we were able to showcase our products, connect with our audience, and drive sales, all while staying within our limited budget. Overall, we have learned valuable lessons along the way and have emerged stronger and more resilient. As we continue to grow, we remain committed to our mission of creating safe, gentle, and inclusive beauty products that empower individuals to embrace their natural beauty.

Made Gentle, Owner, Alexus Edmonds Haynie, 37 Oaks Small Business Spotlight

| 5. How Did 37 Oaks Help You Overcome These Challenges?

A4CB + 37 Oaks Wholesale Development & Sales Support Pitch Day provided one-on-one coaching. The coaching session offered expert fit back which allowed Made Gentle to improve our overall Sales Pitch.

| 6. What Is Your Greatest Win So Far As A Small Business Owner?

I won the iHeart Brilliantly Black Business $100,000 Award. 🎉

Made Gentle, Owner, Alexus Edmonds Haynie, 37 Oaks Small Business SpotlightMade Gentle, Owner, Alexus Edmonds Haynie, 37 Oaks Small Business Spotlight

| 7. What Advice Would You Give An Early-Stage Entrepreneur Working To Grow Their Business?

Sit with yourself and think about what you want to do with your business. Create a plan of action and learn as much as you can about the industry you hope to pursue as a business.

| 8. What's Next For Your Business?

Made Gentle is working on developing a partnership to expand our reach. We expect to introduce another product before the end of 2024.

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