Curl Jam: Holy Curls
Founder Badria Ahmed on how life in the capital initiated a hair care awakeningRead more
As the birthplace of hair saviour Holy Curls, London and its eminent creativity gave founder Badria Ahmed the ideal playing field in which her curl-centric products could thrive.
“Growing up in Sweden, I didn’t have many options when it came to products that catered to my afro hair,” says Badria Ahmed. “I went on a journey of self-exploration and learned about the structure and composition of my curl type to understand how to care for it properly, and from there Holy Curls was born.” And for the hair care brand’s founder, London seemed like a logical home for a creative venture that was long overdue.
Her move to the capital was born from a different aspiration, and yet the world she uncovered provided the first push towards her brand’s beginnings. “Studying creative writing in this city meant I was always looking for creative inspiration,” Ahmed tells us. “I was blown away by the immense amount of raw talent and creativity that live in this city. Moving to London was really like a new world opening for me – it made me want to create.”
I was blown away by the immense amount of raw talent and creativity that live in this city – it made me want to create
In spite of the inspiration she found, Ahmed confesses her connection with London was more of a slow burn. “At first, I found it difficult to feel at home here,” she says. “I needed to get to know London to fully understand and appreciate what the city is about. But when I did, I fell in love.” Now, the city has become central to her brand and the modern woman Holy Curls aims to empower: “I always say that if we can win over the hearts of London, we can take on the world. The city has massively influenced our brand ID and the way we speak to our customers.”
With a way of living unlike other European cities, for Ahmed, there’s one distinct part of her London education to which she attributes the closeness of her network. “I have London to thank for many of my personal relationships today,” she says. “I shared a house with four of my best friends; house sharing is such a London thing and you really become a family living like this. Some of my fondest London memories were made during these years.”
Peckham is just up the road from where I live. It’s such a cultural mashup and sums up so much of what London is to me.
Now, it’s not only closeness but moments of calm that fuel her creatively. “Being a part of the bustle of the city while at the same time being completely on my own always clears my head and puts things in perspective.” Running business operations from her South London base, she finds a sense of escapism much closer to home: “One Tree Hill is a natural reserve with some amazing woodland walks and one of the best views of London. People who aren’t local in the area don’t know about it – sometimes you have the place to yourself.”
Luckily, when it’s bolder stimuli she seeks, Ahmed’s neighbourhood alone provides a vital source of inspiration, suggesting that just one vibrant slice of the capital is enough to serve all the creative energy she – and her business – needs to move forwards: “Peckham is just up the road from where I live. It’s such a cultural mashup and sums up so much of what London is to me. Stalls selling everything you could ever think of. Shops banging Nigerian pop, smells of salt fish and spices. Bakeries and galleries. There’s creativity here. There’s art here. It’s a pretty awesome place to live.”
A LONDON SECRET...
Borough Market is a touristy food market, but I still love it. You can get some incredible food and produce here. Brixton Village has a great mix of restaurants, bars, cafes, galleries and little shops. Maltby Street Market is small but I love the vibes here, hidden away under the railway arches in Bermondsey – you have to know about it to find it.