Dominican-American entrepreneur Magdaline Hurtado started her business after she saw the marketplace lacked hair ties that cater to natural hair like her own.

Por Alma Sacasa
Mayo 27, 2021
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Hello Updo
Credit: Courtesy

Hello Updo founder Magdaline Hurtado was in Dominican Republic in the summer of 2019 when she came across a problem many women encounter. "I just wanted to get my hair up because it was so hot, but my hair tie kept snapping on me. I asked my boyfriend to stretch out some new ones. Then I thought why can't I buy scrunchies already made for my hair type?" she tells People CHICA. "I have big, coily, coarse hair. I made the decision to just [make some ties for my type of hair]. I'd made products for myself [before] and ended up loving it so much I decided to make hundreds with my mom to sell them."

Since then, Hurtado's mom Magdaline Estevez —a.k.a. Maggie— has been working by her side on the line, which they launched in March 2020. Currently, they offer silk scrunchies in two sizes to accommodate different hair textures. "My mom taught herself how to sew to help me on this endeavor," Hurtado shares. "My grandma gave me her [sewing] machine and some pointers. So far [my mom] has made over 2,000 scrunchies for the brand. I owe her my entire life."

Even though Hello Updo has been running for a year, Hurtado is still learning the business. "When it comes to branding, it's taken me this entire year to really solidify it. We are slowly rolling out new colors," she says. "I knew it was a necessary product because most of us have our hair up all the time. My mom is really my right hand in any decision that I make."

And she adds: "Honestly, the story behind [Hello Updo] is wanting inclusion for my own hair. I wanted to feel included by the beauty industry, the hair industry. Because I didn't see it, I decided to create it myself."

As a Dominican-American, Hurtado knows first hand that one size does not fit all when natural hair is concerned. "We are so diverse and our hair textures are so diverse. You can look at one Dominican and then look at another and they look nothing alike, in every aspect," she shares. "I really feel like Hello Updo is a reflection of our culture. I want to be able to celebrate and highlight different hair textures through the brand. I was inspired [to do the first scrunchie by] my own hair, which is textured hair, but I decided to do the second scrunchie because not everyone has the same type of coil or curl that I have, and that's something I see within our culture."

Hurtado previews there are other products in the works. "I'm working on silk pillowcases," she says. "I know it's like the best-kept secret within the hair care industry [to use them but] I don't see it being offered to [women with] textured hair. We also have hair that we need to protect and we wear turbines to sleep. We have bonnets in different sizes. Why [aren't pillowcases] marketed to us? Why doesn't a woman of color own a brand that's on the shelves of these major stores that has pillowcases for textured hair?"

Her five year plan includes placing her products "on the shelves of every major luxury store, as well as affordable stores too. And [in] a lot of small businesses, salons, spas that are owned by women of color," she says. "I'm big on that because I just want to be able to elevate the community. It's not just about the product itself, but also the relationships I'm building. That's where I want to be in five years, internationally [too] in order to reach and serve everyone who needs it."