As a toddler, Renada Harris cherished swimming a lot that she considered herself as a “little mermaid.”
However the pleasure she felt within the water was tarnished when she observed the way it broken her hair, and utilizing a swim cap solely made issues worse due to the teasing it impressed. Quickly, she didn’t even need to go close to the pool.
“As I grew older, I had a compulsory swimming class, and I’d strive in any respect prices to keep away from that,” Harris mentioned.
Harris knew she wasn’t alone in her predicament, and that gave her an thought. She started working growing a product that mixes a conventional swim cap with a wig, thus permitting customers to take pleasure in spending time within the water with out worrying about its influence on their pure hair.
Swim Hair shaped as an organization in 2017 and its patented product turned out there in July. Prospects can choose a swim cap that matches their pores and skin tone and choose from a wide range of hairstyles and colours to customise their product. Every wig is made fully from human hair.
Harris, an Indianapolis resident, mentioned Swim Hair is right for anybody who doesn’t need to get their hair moist, together with these with dyed hair or perms, or for individuals who have suffered hair loss. It may be used on the seaside or pool, within the bathe and almost wherever else water is current.
“It’s a revolutionary method to assist shield your hair from getting moist or broken throughout aquatic actions whereas trying fabulous on the similar time,” Harris mentioned.
A troublesome journey
When Harris got here up with the concept for Swim Hair, she knew it wouldn’t be simple to make the product a actuality.
A local of Gary, Harris mentioned she grew up in poverty in a group rife with violence. She mentioned it wasn’t a spot that fostered an entrepreneurial spirit.
“When you’ve gotten an thought or invention that you just need to share with the world, it’s very troublesome to try this due to a scarcity of sources and a scarcity of funding,” she mentioned.
The street to her dream turned even rockier in winter 2017 when the furnace within the house she rented together with her husband and three younger daughters stopped working, and her landlord didn’t have the funds out there to repair it. So, the younger household moved to Indianapolis to reside with Harris’ sister till they might discover a method to get again on their toes.
However for Harris, who was in her final semester at Purdue College Northwest in Hammond, that meant a five-hour spherical journey commute to class so she may end her sociology diploma — together with her daughters in tow. The older two have been enrolled in a daycare in Gary, however the youngest — who was 1 12 months previous on the time — needed to go to class together with her mom.
“It was very troublesome,” Harris mentioned. “It was so arduous, however I had my thoughts and my religion on the prize, and I caught it out.”
Harris persevered and earned her school diploma in 2018. Now she is working as a credit score options advisor for Financial institution of America in Greenwood. By way of all of it, she additionally continued to pursue her entrepreneurial dream.
‘Again within the water’
Not lengthy after transferring to Indianapolis, a mutual buddy launched Harris to Kiahna Davis, who had efficiently launched a enterprise of her personal. Harris pitched Swim Hair to Davis, and though she appreciated the concept, she was unable to grow to be concerned with the product on the time.
Roughly two years later the ladies reconnected when Davis, a Carmel resident who based and owns an accounting agency, was a buyer on the financial institution the place Harris labored. They determined to satisfy once more to debate Swim Hair, and this time Davis jumped on board, changing into the corporate’s chief monetary and working officer.
“I admire (Harris’) constructive outlook, and that’s what I believe it takes to be an entrepreneur. You’ve acquired to consider in your self and the factor you’re promoting, and he or she actually embodies that,” Davis mentioned. “As for the product itself, who would’ve thought? It appears easy: you set a wig with a swim cap. Each of these issues exist individually, however to place them collectively to unravel probably the most urgent points and boundaries that forestall lots of curly ladies from going swimming, for me that appears merely genius.”
Harris mentioned she hopes Swim Hair will encourage extra folks — particularly within the Black group — to embrace the water and be taught to swim. Drowning charges of Black youngsters age 5 by means of 18 are “considerably larger” than white or Hispanic youngsters, in keeping with a 2014 research by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. A 2017 research by USA Swimming additionally reported that Black youngsters are a lot much less possible to have the ability to swim than white or Hispanic youngsters.
“I’m right here to lift consciousness of the elemental life ability of swimming,” Harris mentioned. “Studying to swim is a life-changing occasion that may save your life and others. Individuals in my tradition are drowning at an alarming charge, and it stems (partly) from concern and anxiousness related to getting their hair moist. The critiques I’m getting are individuals are getting again within the water, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Study extra at myswimhair.com.