Founder Series: Nourish & Love with Stephanie Ayler

Brand strategy insights

Stephanie Ayler. Founder of Nourish & Love Co. Flywheel Strategy Founders Series.


Meet Stephanie Ayler, founder of Nourish & Love, a handcrafted hair care brand dedicated to the unique needs of textured and natural hair. From earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication to navigating the challenges of running a product-based business, Stephanie shares the inspiration behind Nourish & Love and the dedication it takes to create products that truly make a difference. Welcome to our June 2024 Founders Series in partnership with Yotpo’s Xcelerator Program, where we dive deep into the inspiring journey of an innovative entrepreneur who seamlessly blends creativity and business acumen to drive forward-thinking products in the hair care space.

Join us as we explore the highs and lows of this remarkable journey, and discover what makes Nourish & Love a standout in the world of hair care.

Stephanie Ayler. Nourish & Love. June 2024 Founders Series with Flywheel Strategy.


Q: Can you share a little bit about your background? 

A: I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication from Virginia State University, and I further honed my skills through online education. My creativity has always been a driving force in my life. Before diving into the world of hair care, I ran a graphic design consulting business. I am also a licensed cosmetologist, and I’m currently working on becoming a Trichologist.

As a mom of two boys, balancing family and business has been a rewarding challenge. My own personal hair care journey began even before the days of Instagram and YouTube as we know it now, when all we really had was Fotki.  Also, fun fact, Nourish and Love started out as a blog back in 2011!  In my parents’ kitchen, I found the courage to turn my passion into reality. Battling imposter syndrome and the fear of success, launching my own hair care brand two months after the birth of my first child was a monumental triumph. I refused to let doubts continue to hold me back; instead, I channeled my determination into crafting products specifically designed for highly kinky textured hair like mine.

Q: What inspired you to launch Nourish & Love

A: Frustrated by the lack of brands addressing the unique needs of our community and of highly textured hair, I wanted  to create something truly revolutionary. Drawing inspiration from my own struggles with finding products that kept my hair hydrated and healthy, I poured countless hours into research and development. Each formula is meticulously crafted, infused with nourishing ingredients to really address the needs of textured hair and to  boost confidence. I launched with 3 products and I now have close to 20 products.

Q: What makes Nourish & Love unique? 

A: Nourish and Love is a handcrafted hair care product range for textured and natural hair that brings spa therapy and rituals to everyday hair care practices. Our botanical-based products are rooted in science, and are formulated with ingredients that are not typical of hair care products like hyaluronic acid, white willow bark, and other exotic botanicals and extracts to provide your hair with the nutrients it needs to thrive. We believe that your hair care routine should be stress-free and enjoyable. That’s why we’re dedicated to creating high-quality, handmade products that cater to the unique needs of highly textured hair. We’re also committed to empowering our customers through education, so that they can feel confident and knowledgeable about caring for their hair.

"Nourish and Love is a handcrafted hair care product range for textured and natural hair that brings spa therapy and rituals to everyday hair care practices." Stephanie Ayler. CEO & Founder. Nourish & Love Co.

Q: What has been the most challenging part of bringing Nourish & Love to life so far? 

A: I think the most challenging aspect has been access to capital. I have operated this business solely off my own money, grants and gifts/donations from family. Is there a level before bootstrapping because that’s what I feel like I’m doing, I’m trying to get the boots to even strap them. All jokes aside, running a product based business has just gotten more expensive. The soaring costs of raw materials since 2020 have been extremely hard to deal with. I’ve had to raise my prices a couple times after putting it off as long as I could manage to. Another challenging part would be the mental load of being a solopreneur, I am quite literally doing everything in my business. Admin, design, formulating, manufacturing, shipping, you name it and I am doing it.

Q: What is the most fulfilling part of bringing Nourish & Love to life?

A: I reflect on my journey, I’m filled with pride knowing that I overcame obstacles to create something impactful. My brand isn’t just a product; it’s a testament to the power of resilience and the beauty of chasing your dreams and pushing past unimaginable struggles like loss, death and grief. With unwavering dedication and a deep-rooted belief in my vision, my brand emerged from my parents kitchen, ready to empower others like me. It’s more than just hair care; it’s a celebration of diversity, authenticity, and self-love. Through my brand, I am able to instill confidence and inspire others to embrace their natural texture, unapologetically. That’s beautiful to me, something I brought to life is helping someone.

Q: Best advice you’ve ever received or advice you would like to share with aspiring founders and entrepreneurs?

A:  I have received so much amazing advice along my journey but something that has really stuck with me is to be a vitamin and not a painkiller. A vitamin is something you take every day because you know it’s worth, you know how it’s helping you. It’s more than beneficial.  Whereas with a painkiller, you use that only when you need and until you no longer need it. You want your brand to be a vitamin and not a painkiller.

Q: Can you share a little about any exciting launches coming up for Nourish & Love?

A: There are a couple of products I plan to bring back for the Summer and we have some merchandise/hair tools  that will be available soon as well!

Q: What trends are on your radar in the ecommerce space, to help drive Nourish & Love’s growth?

A: Despite what’s going on, Tiktok is definitely on our radar and we’ve been slowly growing our account there. More digital channels and live shopping as well. We also plan to really lean into our subscriptions too.

 Q: Where can consumers learn more about you and Nourish & Love?

A: We are quite social and you can find us on your favorite platforms, Instagram, Facebook, Threads, TikTok, and Pinterest with our handle @nourishandloveco (except for Twitter where we are @nourishloveco). 

You can also join our email and SMS list to get exciting company updates and sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Interested in partnering with Stephanie and supporting founders as they bring their vision to life?

Contact Flywheel Strategy to start the conversation.

June 24, 2024

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