In 1997, she launched with a leap of faith into full-time entrepreneurship after her employer went through a reorg and downsized the department from 15 computer programmers to 7 with increased workloads without increased pay. DeShawn Bullard, NouriTress CEO, has been practicing cosmetology for 21 years and is based out of Atlanta. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Tuskegee University, a Master Cosmetology license from the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and a certificate in Trichology.
This Chicago native started to explore her passion while at Tuskegee. “I started getting compliments on my hair and was repeatedly asked who did my hair. I started getting requests to style others’ hair. Quickly, I became known as the girl on campus who was styling everyone’s hair.”
Years later, one of her concerns was African American hair stylists being depicted as unprofessional, uneducated and labeled with the “I do hair” hobby image. In 1996, she opened her own salon and advanced swiftly in the beauty industry becoming a celebrity hair stylist with clients such as T-Boz from the Grammy Award winning group TLC, Lynn Whitfield and Dottie Peoples to name a few. She took on the role of Director of Education for a salon professional hair care line, traveling nationally and internationally to such countries as Brazil and Canada teaching industry professionals how to grow and run a successful beauty business.
“Since I had a behind the scenes and front row seat to the processes that went into creating hair products for African American women; in 1998, I decided to give women who were experiencing issues such as hair breakage, hair loss and thinning a non-gimmick product that would really help them experience healthy, beautiful hair again. Thus NouriTress Perfect Hair Products was birthed with one product, NouriTress Perfect Hair Vitamins.”
Bullard started selling the product online from her home basement and in the salon. The response was overwhelmingly favorable as women were reporting positive results and demanding other products to maintain healthy hair. In 2002, the NouriTress brand was expanded with hair maintenance products i.e., Stimulating Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner. In 2007, with revenues steadily increasing, her one part-time employee moved from the basement into their new office space. In 2012, she got her first BIG break into a major retailer, J.C. Penney, and soon after expanded to Target stores. Today, NouriTress products are currently sold in retail stores such as Walgreens, several Grocery store chains, select beauty supply stores and salons nationally and internationally such as Canada, United Kingdom and Africa. NouriTress is celebrating the addition of two new major retailers in the first quarter of 2017 Walmart and Sally Beauty Supply stores.