( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Mompreneur Adria Marshall Founded Ecoslay to Provide Affordable Products and Inspire Others to Dream Big
ENSPIRE Contributor: Naomi Stamps
For Women’s History Month, ENSPIRE is highlighting mompreneur Adria Marshall. She’s the owner and founder of Ecoslay, a vegan natural hair-care line that provides reasonably priced products. All of her cruelty-free products are created in her Atlanta kitchen with the help of her dedicated staff. Founded in 2015, this business has expanded to 100 retailers around the globe and has a growing fan base. This mompreneur has over 40,000 followers on social media and receives positive reviews. She’s devoted to educating others on proper hair care and helping women feel beautiful both inside and out.
Before founding Ecoslay, Adria endured a long trial-and-error period of finding hair products. She struggled to find items for her hair type and spent a lot of money. She soon realized the importance of educating herself on ingredients rather than buying into product claims. Having a passion for the environment and gardening, Adria was happy to learn that natural ingredients worked better for her hair. During this time, she was focused on her software development career. This didn’t last long when her passion for hair and gardening grew stronger. This mompreneur merged her interests and created an edge brush that’s beneficial for the hair and landfills.
Her edge brush is made from bamboo, and she calls it a sustainable product. While most women resort to using old toothbrushes for edges, Adria encourages the preservation of our environment. After creating the edge brush, this mompreneur took it a step further and created Ecoslay. All products are packaged in reusable or recyclable containers to encourage consumers to practice environment-friendliness. While she enjoys creating her products, Adria hopes to inspire and mentor others to follow their dreams and believe in themselves.
“It’s important to take the knowledge you’ve acquired and pay it forward to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Being a mentor to many up-and-coming minds has enormous benefits for everyone involved,” she said. This mompreneur’s company motto, “Reach One, Teach One,” reflects this positive way of thinking.
ENSPIRE spoke with mompreneur Adria Marshall about Ecoslay, how competition motivates her, and her favorite products.
Before you started Ecoslay, you were building your career as a software developer. Can you tell us how you devoted your time to building up your brand?
Being in the IT space was a huge benefit when it came to starting Ecoslay. Having a tech background helped when it came to designing my website, building my social presence, email marketing, and managing my projects and time effectively. Having a passion for natural hair also made the late nights working on Ecoslay tasks more bearable – it’s true that when you’re doing something that you love, it doesn’t feel like work at all.
There were definitely some tough seasons while managing my full-time job and Ecoslay, but fortunately, I only had to navigate both for a short period of time until Ecoslay was able to be my sole income source.
How did your dedication to helping the environment and gardening develop?
My mother has a love for gardening that was passed down to her by her father. She, in turn, passed down this love to me. We spent countless weekends bonding over potted plants, fertilizing and pruning leaves. When you truly love gardening, you naturally develop an appreciation for nature, so it wasn’t something necessarily intentional, but something that developed organically (pun intended 🙂 )
Since there’s a lot of competition in natural hair care, how has it helped you to stand out?
I feel truly blessed that the things that make Ecoslay stand out are values that are truly important to me – the love for our environment is one such value. We’ve been around for 7 years and our environmental focus has been around since the beginning (our first product was a bamboo edge brush and our original slogan, “Slay your Edges, Not the Planet”).
I’m excited that environmental awareness is becoming a trend now – we’re waking up and realizing that the damage being done to the earth is real and that there are some clear, tangible steps that we can take to improve. While I’m pleased that Ecoslay is getting recognition, at the same time, I’m thrilled to see more brands take this journey with us.
What is your favorite product from Ecoslay and why?
Oh my goodness, it’s like you’re asking me to choose my favorite child! I think my favorite Ecoslay product is Moonshine. It is versatile, able to be used as a hair oil, scalp treatment, pre-poo, after-shower body moisturizer, and bath oil! And it simply smells incredible!
Some of your products have unique names like Jello-Shots and Applesauce. How did you come up with these unique names?
OK, this is an interesting story! Hot Sauce was the first topical product that I created – its original name was something like “Scalp Stimulator”, absolutely terrible. I spent a few days coming up with the name, branding, and label for the “Scalp Stimulator” and was fairly proud of my work. Then, my husband casually walks by and says, “That looks like hot sauce.”
I instantly knew that this was the perfect name and spent hours tackling the rebranding. Similarly, after creating the formula for our Apple Sauce, my toddler demanded, “Give me some of that Apple Sauce!” and the name stuck. Since then, we’ve decided to name all of our products after food items.
Share one hair care tip that’s overrated and one that’s underrated.
I think one overrated hair tip is around silicones. The curly hair standard is to avoid them at all costs but there are some times when they can be helpful. For instance, if you’re using a heat tool, nothing is going to protect your hair from heat damage like a product with silicone. And there are some conditioners and stylers with silicones that are quite effective. While I do personally try to avoid silicones where possible, the issue with silicone is not the ingredient itself but understanding how it can build up on the hair and prevent moisture from entering the hair shaft. This can often be compensated for by using the product in moderation and reaching for a cleanser capable of removing the ingredient.
An underrated tip is protecting your hair at night. Not only will using a bonnet or satin pillowcase help preserve your style, it’s invaluable when it comes to preventing the damage that tossing and turning on a cotton pillowcase can cause.
Who is someone in the natural hair community that inspires you?
I find myself very inspired by parents or parent figures with a curly-haired child who has straight hair themselves yet moves heaven and earth to care for their little one’s locks! I’ve received so many emails asking for tips and sending photos of their baby’s tresses along their precious journey – I get choked up every time!
Being a wife and mother of three, this mompreneur is dedicated to leading by example. She shows us that when you’re truly passionate about something, go for it. Adria is following her passions while helping others along the way. Besides this, she shows us the importance of doing your own research. Many companies promise certain results in order to gather cash. When you devote time to educating yourself, fewer issues will arise.
Learn more about Ecoslay here.
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