Junious Ricardo Stanton
When Kaya Casper decided to forsake chemically treating her hair and go natural, she soon discovered she really didn’t know much about natural hair styles or hair products for naturally styled hair. When her mother and sister followed suit they did not know how to style or maintain their hair. They used trial and error and did research to discover the best methods to take care of their hair without compromising their desire to wear their hair naturally. Kaya and her sister decided to share the information they had with other like minded women. “I went natural about seven years ago close to eight now and at that time there was not really much for natural hair care as far as information. I didn’t know how to take care of my own hair because I had a perm since I was a little kid. So I just fumbled around for years before I figured out what to do by trial and error. So I figured I’d take all that information and pass it along. Because I think a part of the reason a lot of people don’t wear their hair natural is not because they don’t want to but because they don’t know how.” Stated Ms Casper. From her own experiences, those of her mother and sister and being a Web page designer she decided to start a Website for people who wanted to wear natural hairstyles. “My mother went natural shortly after me. My sister went natural shortly after that. My sister had started doing research on products like herbs and natural products we could use on our hair. I started doing a lot of research online and just stumbling around having my hair break off, reading books we by piecemeal developed a core of information. My first idea was ‘why don’t I put together a Website?’; because I’m a Web developer by trade. I said ‘it’s inexpensive, it’s something I can do fairly easily and I can get the information out to a lot of people.’ Then I started thinking that I need to get paid for this because I need some sort of income to keep this going.’ So at that point I made the electronic magazine. That was something you could download on your computer.” More people who didn’t have access to PC or the Internet started asking her for her information so she started publishing Naturally You Magazine. “A lot of people asked for it in print and plus a lot of people in the black community don’t have access to the Internet so I put it out in print because I wanted to make it more accessible to the public.” Explained Casper.
Using her own money and support from her sister. They started the magazine. That was two years ago and as they say, the rest is herstory or hair-story. The magazine is garnering a loyal following not only in the United States but also in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Somerdale New Jersey resident works out of her home and uses amateur models because she feels the readers appreciate seeing people that look like them “Our biggest readership is in Philly, in the Philadelphia area but we do have a fairly significant distribution outside of here. We do a lot of direct distribution to the black book stores around the country. The person that distributes us in the UK puts in a large order there and we do events like Odunde and the Locks Conference.” In the beginning Casper did all the layout of the magazine and graphic design herself but used professional photographers. Now she uses more graphic design professionals and more and more photographers are approaching her for work. The magazine has a modest subscription base but that is growing. Casper uses professional stylists to create hair designs for the magazine photo sessions and soon hopes to add a stylist Q and A. section to the magazine. “What we do for the natural hair care professional is we have them style the models hair for the magazine. One thing we are working on for the future is a stylist Q and A because we get a lot of questions and we are able to answer some because of our research but we want to get a professional opinion also.” Short term Casper wants to increase circulation. “My main purpose for having the magazine is for getting information to people. Sometimes it seems like beauty is such a trite subject but it has so much to do with the self-esteem of black people; and our self-esteem is so imbedded in our culture in a negative way, we want to try to counter that. Our long term goal is to get further distribution deals and get into more stores so we are more readily available to more people. The response to the magazine has been good. Actually there is no other magazine that has all natural styles. This magazine has no weaves, no wigs, no extensions, no perms, no texturizers just all natural hair that grew out of people’s heads. It seems black women are very very receptive to that. They really appreciate seeing people that look like them. We make a special effort to depict people that are reading the magazine.” Shared Casper. For more information about Naturally You Magazine visit their Website www.NaturallyYouMagazine.com or call toll free, (866) 236-1077.