By Rich Salas, Editorial Intern | West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce
In life’s uncoordinated dance, sometimes threads of unexpected stories weave together to create something extraordinary. Joy Hankins, a Spanish teacher from elementary to high school, found herself on a remarkable journey that led her to become a foster parent for her grandmother and, subsequently, the visionary founder of “The Joy of Curls.” Hankins, fueled by a passion for fostering and a commitment to cultural connections, embarked on a mission to provide more than just a home. Recognizing the unique needs of black children in foster care, she identified a gap in the availability of clean and effective hair care products designed for diverse textures. This realization sparked the inception of her business.
The journey wasn’t without its challenges. Lacking a business background, Hankins faced the costly consequences of mistakes. However, her tenacity prevailed, leading her to collaborate with a chemist and create a hero product that laid the foundation for “The Joy of Curls.” The business not only offers high-quality hair care solutions but also empowers foster parents with the knowledge of proper styling techniques through classes and workshops.
One significant milestone in Hankins’ entrepreneurial journey was the creation of a class in Iowa that not only imparts essential knowledge to aspiring foster parents, but also fulfills certification foster requirements. Now foster parents have the opportunity to not only complete their certification, but actually learn the facts about hair care for the children they take care of. The initiative not only addresses a practical need but also contributes a portion of its proceeds to a noble cause.
Hankins attributes much of her success to her support system. Her husband, a steadfast subscriber to the email list, stands as her #1 supporter. Her sisters also play a crucial role,
offering valuable input during times of branding and testing. Tina Talks and The Black and Brown Business Summit became a pivotal platform for networking and paving the way for crucial connections that now support her venture.
Yet, the journey is not without its hurdles. Hankins acknowledges the importance of seeking mentorship and asking for help, especially when navigating unfamiliar terrain like brand marketing and advertisements. Drawing from personal experiences, she emphasizes the value of connections in transforming what can be a lonely journey into one filled with mentorship and support.
Reflecting on her favorite aspect of the Athene Black and Brown Business Summit , Hankins expresses gratitude for the level of care she received. Feeling heard and understood during workshops and events made a profound difference. “The Chamber really allowed for those who were in the pitch competition to get comfortable with one another and truly network”. This sense of connection, she believes, is crucial in establishing meaningful relationships in both business and life.
Confidence emerged as a powerful gift for Hankins. Witnessing others invest in her story and business bolstered her self-assurance. This newfound confidence propelled her to compete in the Hy-Vee Pitch Competition, where she clinched the grand prize in Moline Illinois.
“The Joy of Curls” stands as a testament to Hankins’ dedication. With plant-based and simplified recipes, the product line caters to diverse hair needs, from loose curls to frizz management, striking a balance of moisture. From shampoos to leave-in conditioners and self-care bundles, each offering is a celebration of individuality and self-expression. Not stopping at products, “The Joy of Curls” extends its reach through recorded classes available on the website. This initiative
allows anyone interested in learning the foundations of proper hair care to access valuable resources at their convenience.
In the landscape of entrepreneurship, Joy Hankins’ journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, perseverance, and the belief that every curl deserves to be celebrated. As she continues to shape her narrative and inspire others, “The Joy of Curls” stands as a beacon of empowerment, reminding us that beauty, in all its forms, deserves to be fostered.
2800 University Ave, West Des Moines, IA 50266 & At Hy-Vee stores in West Des Moines