Paris is always a good idea, and this month tgin will be in the City of Lights.
The NHA event is in its 6th year and brings together thousands of women who attend hair tutorials and see the latest products for natural hair.
Last year Chimole Williams, the co-founder of the Natural Hair Academy told Essence.com, “This is such an event for the diaspora. All of the African women are here, the Caribbean women are here, American women— they’re all mixed in and blended. They bring their own different flavor.”
Paris is known for its fashion, its art, and its food, and now its growing natural hair community. Our founder and CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson can’t wait to meet all of the naturalistas and introduce them to tgin. We’re excited to see the natural hair scene in Paris and feel the love. It’s going to be magnifique!
It all happens June 10th at Parc floral de Paris.
For more details and tickets check out the Natural Hair Academy at www.nhaparis.com.
We hope to see you there!
Here at tgin we’ve been working hard. and we have some exciting news, to share with you. We want to introduce you to two new products in our Moist Collection.
The first product is tgin Curl Bomb Curl Definer Moisturizing Styling Gel , a unique formula that aids in moisture retention, while providing long lasting curl definition. You can create soft touchable curls without the crunch using tgin Curl Bomb without parabens, sulfates, petrolatum, lanolin, artificial colors, or animal testing.
Our second product is tgin Smooth & Hold Edge Control. Infused with Vitamin E and castor oil this nutrient rich formula promotes hair growth and holds edges in place without building up and flaking. Perfect for creating sleek styles, polished ponytails, and tapered cuts. Great for natural & relaxed hair!
You can purchase these two new products right here in the tgin online store, Amazon, Select Sallys beauty supply store, Target, Walgreens, CVS and your local beauty supply.
Will you be purchasing the two latest additions to add to your tgin collection?
We can’t wait for you to try them. We know you’ll love them.
Thank you for your support over the years.
It’s your chance to win! That’s right tgin is now on CVS shelves and to celebrate we’re giving away a $250 CVS gift card.
All you have to do is:
- Find tgin at your local CVS
- Take a shelfie in front of the shelf
- Shout out your city
- Tag us on Instagram @tginatural #tgincvs
Get out there to your CVS for your chance to win. Good luck!
This year, the tgin team celebrated the holidays and our launch in CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreen’s by having a holiday dinner with our brand ambassadors at Wildfire in downtown Chicago. Last year, our holiday dinner was cancelled, because our CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson was diagnosed with breast cancer that same day. But God…. Her health has been restored and the company did not miss a beat.
tgin started out in the trunk of Chris-Tia’s car, each year evolving and gaining exposure from US to the UK in the natural world. We are honored to be a part of Chris-Tia’s dream and have been blessed to have a wonderful year. Cheers to an amazing 2017!
This past week, tgin hosted ninety 10th grade students from the Young Women’s Leadership Charter School (YWLCS) to expose them to entrepreneurship. YWLCS is the only all girls public school in the City of Chicago, whose mission is to inspires urban girls to engage in rigorous college preparatory learning in a small school focused on math, science and technology that nurtures their self-confidence and challenges them to achieve. A majority of the students hail predominately from the south and west sides of Chicago.
After kicking off the morning with donuts and orange juice, our CEO, Chris-Tia Donaldson welcomed the girls to Industrial Council of Northwest of Chicago (ICNC) and shared her journey from Harvard lawyer working in corporate America to hair care entrepreneur. The girls were then invited to tour our facility, interact with Chris-Tia on a personal level, and ask questions about the business that got them excited about their futures!
Overall, this was a wonderful event. Special thanks again to ICNC for considering us for this opportunity.
We want to congratulate our CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson on being selected for the very prestigious 2016 class of Crain’s Chicago Business “40 Under 40.”
Since 1989, Crain’s has honored more than 1,100 people, many of whom have gone on to receive national recognition. Among the stars who have earned the title since the list’s 1989 inception are Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rahm Emanuel, Lisa Madigan, J.B. Pritzker, Grant Achatz, Ken Griffin, Harper Reed, Alpana Singh and Hebru Brantley.
The 2016 class continues this tradition. Selected for the honor from more than 1,000 nominations are the following: a record-breaking musical artist who just returned from a major tour; a nationally recognized chef; a scientist who is leading the international fight against Alzheimer’s; and a host of bright young company founders and CEOs who employ people around the world.
In addition to Thank God It’s Natural, companies represented this year include Boeing, MillerCoors, Caterpillar, ParkWhiz, KnowledgeHound, Grubhub, Oak Street Health, Advocate Health Care, Northern Trust, United Airlines, BreakThru Beverage Group, Univision, Discover, Baxter International, Leo Burnett, Lou Malnati’s and Kimberly-Clark.
We want to thank Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine for featuring Chris-Tia along with these other amazing individuals. In the never-ending small business arena, there is always work to be done, Chris-Tia continues grinding towards her goal of making tgin a household name.
Click here to check out the full article and see Chris-Tia Donaldson being featured in Crain’s “40 Under 40”
Thank God It’s Natural was recently honored as New Exporter of the Year by the Illinois Governor’s Office. tgin had the opportunity to network with local and foreign government representatives, economic development organizations and many Illinois companies who share a goal of growing their business activities abroad.
The Governor’s Export Awards are Illinois’ highest recognition of export achievement, honoring Illinois companies that have achieved excellence in exporting, as well as organizations that provide export assistance.
“Illinois has the best location, the best people, and the best infrastructure of any other state in the nation,” Governor Rauner said. “Our businesses and entrepreneurs are the backbone of the Illinois economy and this year’s recipients exemplify just that. They are excellent leaders and innovators with reach across the globe, but their impacts are most felt right here at home. We’ll continue to stand up to the status quo and political insiders in Springfield for a balanced budget with reforms to help businesses grow and create jobs in communities throughout our great state.”
Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti presented the awards at a reception Tuesday evening at the Union League Club of Chicago.
Most recently, our CEO Chris-Tia Donaldson successfully completed a sales pitch on tgin’s export activities to a panel of astounding judges at the XPORT Challenge, and brought home the 3rd place prize! This time Chris-Tia achieved the New Exporter of the Year award. Illinois is the largest exporting state in the Midwest, and the fifth largest exporting state in the nation.
Special thanks again to Governor Bruce Rauner, Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and everyone at the Governor’s Office for this opportunity!
Recently, our CEO, Chris-Tia Donaldson was honored to be a guest on BlackDoctor.org Facebook Live. Chris-Tia had a chance to share parts of her breast cancer journey, and answer some questions you might have about treatment and prevention.
You can read Chris-Tia’s Q&A of the Facebook Live event here:
1. I remember running into you often at LA Fitness years ago and I’m guessing your health is something that you take very seriously. Was the possibility of breast cancer something that was on your radar?
Absolutely not. There is no history of breast cancer in my family. I was also just 36 at the time of my diagnosis. When I thought of breast cancer, I thought of people like Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Joan Lunden, Suzanne Sommers and Christina Applegate. I never gave much consideration that this was something that could happen to me.
2. How did your diagnosis come about? Did you discover something abnormal during a self exam?
I was actually taking a shower and noticed it then. Initially, I thought it was hormonal related, because I had a cyst removed from my breast in my 20s. Given my age and the fact that I felt perfectly healthy, breast cancer was the furthest thing from my mind. After two to three months passed, I made an appointment to see my doctor. Although she did not think it was cancer given the lump’s size, shape and the fact that it was soft and movable, she still recommended a mammogram just to be safe.
3. Your diagnosis came at the time of some very important business deals for TGIN and you pushed forward as planned. How did you know that was the right course of action for you, rather than stepping away to focus strictly on treatment?
When I first was diagnosed, my doctor asked me when could I start chemotherapy. I told them I had a meeting with Target on 3/22 that I had to look good for. Based on that, we scheduled my treatments in such a way, that I would be off and looking and feeling good for that meeting. But, I soon learned that, you can’t plan for everything, because we ended up getting calls to do meetings with Walgreen’s and Rite Aid and I just had to wing it even though I was at my weakest.
4. Describe your treatment plan and experience with chemotherapy.
I had a lumpectomy, followed by 8 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. My doctors were extremely aggressive with their choice of treatment given my age. In older women, they tend to only do a lumpectomy and radiation, if the size of the mass is small, because of their shorter life expectancy.
In terms of the side effects, the biggest thing is extreme fatigue and mild nausea. Although I’ve never been pregnant before, I would say it is akin to a really awful pregnancy. I basically dealt with the side effects by taking it easy and resting a lot.
5. With hair and beauty being such a large part of what you do, were you concerned about losing your hair?
Of course, I was really nervous about losing my hair, especially since I run a hair care company. I’m supposed to be out there being the face of this hair care company, wheeling and dealing, and spreading knowledge of all things natural, so I felt a little nervous at times donning a wig. But it’s all good. I’ve never had any major issues or anyone say anything to me too crazy. The natural community has also shown me nothing but love since learning of my diagnosis.
Now product development is a different story. I’m the primary tester of our products before they are released for testing by a group and so I was in a real crunch to expedite our product development cycle in order to develop our Edge Control and Curl Bomb Moisturizing Styling Gel before I had to shave my head for treatment.
Now, that my hair is growing back, it’s back to the same old testing. But my hair is a little different now and I’m waiting to see if it will go back to its old texture.
6. What are some things you did that helped you stay encouraged?
When I was first diagnosed and going through treatment, I would often “lurk” (okay maybe “stalk”) on the pages of people going through breast cancer treatment. Most people were extremely positive, and I would kind of live vicariously through their pictures, which allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
7. What advice can share to women who may be newly diagnosed, or have a feeling something isn’t right but are afraid to bring it up to their doctor?
Advancements in cancer treatment have come a really long way. If caught early, breast cancer is a treatable disease and is not a death sentence. The important thing is to know your breasts, stay in tune with your body, and talk to your doctor if you experience any major changes.
Also, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. If you don’t feel like your doctor is giving you the best advice, seek a second opinion.
8. What’s next for you and for TGIN?
The plan is to continue to focus on building and growing the business. Next year, we’ll be in more Target and Sally Beauty stores, plus we’re making a foray into the drug store market by launching in Walgreen’s, CVS and Rite Aid.
Given the overwhelming feedback to my story on Instagram, I’m writing a book called This is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Love, Hair, Faith and Business.
9. Tell us about your start – a lot of people may not know that you started at Harvard.
So, I went to Harvard for College and Law School. It seems like ages ago, but I tell people the funny thing is back then we were strongly encouraged to go into careers like medicine, business and law. Entrepreneurship was for the kids who “couldn’t get it right” But of course, Mark Zuckenberg changed all of that and the rest is history.
As far as tgin goes, back in 2009, I wrote a book called, Thank God I’m Natural to help dispel some of the most common myths and misconceptions about kinky hair. Like so many black women living in America, I spent almost a quarter century wishing for hair that looked nothing like my own, and thought I couldn’t wear my hair in its natural state, because my tresses looked nothing like Alicia Keys’ or Mariah Carey’s. Having a relaxer was so restrictive. It meant spending your entire Saturday in a beauty shop, or running from the rain, or not being able to go swimming when on vacation. When I decided to let go of chemical straighteners and go natural, I felt I had finally reached a point in my life, where I could say Thank God I’m Natural.
As a follow up to the book, we released a line of products by a similar name, called “Thank God It’s Natural” or “tgin”
10. With the products- did you start by creating/making your own batches of product?
We did. But I quickly learned that my greatest strength was in product testing and in the business side of things. My sister and niece are way better cooks then me, so when we started out with shea butters, we were making it in their kitchen. It was my niece’s job when she was in high school and college.
11. What was it like for you to not “second guess” yourself and blow it off?
Initially, I didn’t take the lump seriously, because I thought it was hormonal related. But after two or three months of not seeing any changes and talking it over with my girlfriends, I made the decision to take action and see a doctor. It was the best thing I could have ever done.
12. Did you have any second thoughts about doing chemo or were you on board right away?
I went to a Chinese doctor for a second opinion. But, I wasn’t taking any changes. With early detection, breast cancer can be treatable. I wanted to make sure I was doing everything I could to have the best possible outcomes, which is why I chose to be treated at Northwestern University Prentis Hospital.
13. What did you do to maintain a level of peace during this whole process?
I just talked to God and took one day at a time.
14. Do you have a deeper appreciation for what makes you beautiful internally after this whole process?
I sure do. Now, I’m much more conscious of my internal spirit and how that is so much more important than the hair we have (or don’t have) and the makeup we wear.
For more information, or to watch the interview live, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/Blac
A huge thank you to our friends at BlackDoctor.org!
It was literally hotter than July when I showed up at Sally Beauty headquarter in Denton, Texas this summer to give my presentation to the beauty team about why a partnership between tgin and Sally Beauty made sense. The 110 degree weather was definitely more suited for a two piece bikini and flip flops then a black sheath dress and high heels. This experience left me wondering how do people in Texas go to work, the mall or anywhere for that matter. I say this coming from Chicago, where we are home to temperatures of -11 in winter, but I digress.
Thanks to a long time connection from the beauty industry, I was blessed with the good fortune of being personally introduced to one of the key decision makers at Sally Beauty at an industry conference. This introduction in turn led to a few emails being exchanged, which in turn resulted in an invitation to present our line for consideration to a team at Sally Beauty headquarters.
Getting into a national retailer, however, is never this easy or quick for that matter. At least for us, it hasn’t been. Like with Whole Foods, Ulta, Target and many other retailers (small and large), we had reached out to Sally Beauty MANY times before. For the past two years, we had been sending emails, leaving voicemails and mailing samples, but we never received a response. Not a No Thank You. Not a We’re Not Interested. Not a Not at This Time. Just Nothing. Silence. . . .
With over 2,800 stores worldwide, including stores in every state in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, Sally Beauty has a remarkable footprint in the beauty space. I had always thought a partnership with Sally Beauty made perfect sense given its size, its reach in the professional salon community, and most recently its growing commitment to carrying product lines that cater to textured hair. While this relationship was ideal in my head, we weren’t making any headway on our own.
However, in business, just like in life, no response or no progress does not mean things are not working in your favor. It also doesn’t mean that God isn’t working on your behalf; lining up everything you need to have, everything you need to know, and every person you need to meet at the appointed time. But, like they always say in church, Delay is not Denial.
When our products hit Target shelves in 2015, I had no clue what to expect. We had been selling online, and to a number of local health and beauty supply stores nationwide, but getting into Target was a whole different ball game. It has been a great relationship and I have learned A LOT along the way. Have I made some mistakes? Yes. Would I do some things differently? Yes. Were there things I wish I knew before we went national? Most definitely.
After years of waiting and following up with no response from Sally Beauty, I got a call out of the blue from an industry contact asking me to meet them at a conference two weeks later. There would be a possibility for us to meet with a key stakeholder from Sally Beauty. My contact had been watching our growth on social media, and put in a good word for us based on our relationship and her belief that we could handle the opportunity. With very little details, I booked the ticket and waited for more information. All along, I never saw things happening this way. But sometimes, the right people show up on your behalf and things are working in your favor behind the scenes, without you even knowing it.
When the opportunity to finally sell to Sally Beauty presented itself, not only did we jump at it, but we were ready for it.
Ready with the Pitch.
Ready for the Launch.
Ready for the Marketing.
Ready for the Promotions.
Ready for the Markdowns.
Ready for the Chargebacks.
Ready for the Weekly Reports.
Ready for the Paperwork.
Ready for the Forecasting.
Ready with the Right Questions.
Ready with Answers to the Hard Questions.
Ready to Say Yes.
Ready to Say No.
Unfortunately, I was still not ready (nor will I ever be) for that hot ass Texas weather in the middle of summer.
In hindsight, I’m grateful that we received the silent treatment. The unresponded emails, the unreturned phone calls, etc. turned out to be a blessing. The year that we spent building and learning with Target, and the many years we spent prior to that selling online and to local health and beauty supply stores, gave us the opportunity to grow our customer base and improve upon our business operations. Although God could have blessed us with Sally Beauty, Ulta, Whole Foods, CVS, Walgreen’s and Walmart all at once, I’m now realizing more than ever – things happen when they are going to happen, and how they are going to happen, at the appointed time.
This realization has not only given me peace and comfort in my professional life, but in my personal life as well.
As I get older, I realize it’s good to have a plan. Sometimes, however, things don’t go according to plan and the plans you have made for yourself are not necessarily the one’s God has in mind for you. I’ve learned that waiting, while incredibly annoying, can be in your best interest and will teach you to trust HIM. We all will go through a season where we will be tested and our patience will be tried, but breakthroughs come when and how they are supposed to. God is always getting you ready some way, somehow.
Finally, I’m also learning there is major truth to the phrase New Levels, New Devils. Sometimes, I wish I could be like “God, I’m cool at this level, because these new devils are a B*TCH.” But the waiting, the testing, the pressing, the trusting and the praying ultimately give us the strength to deal with what comes with promotion. Right now, I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you.
So, again, we all have our Target or Sally Beauty in our heart. That one thing we’re waiting and praying for. It could be a new job that pays more money, a bigger house, a baby, a husband, a new business, a healing from a disease, a restored marriage, but know that your season of waiting is meant to draw you closer to God, teach you the lessons to equip you for the next level, and strengthen your foundation for growth.
TD Jakes once said if you’re going to build a skyscraper it has got to have a strong foundation. Life’s tests, curveballs and delays are all about strengthening our foundation, so that you can move higher in life and deal with what comes with positions of greater authority.
So stay steadfast, stay strong and know that Delay is not Denial.
For a complete list of Sally Beauty stores carrying tgin products click here.
- Target Launch: Blood, Sweat, Tears & a Ton of Paperwork
- Target Update: We Walk By Faith
- Target Update: Honey I Need a Miracle
- Target Update: The Marketing “Plan”
CHICAGO! We’re giving away a limited number of tickets to our Target launch party this Thursday downtown. All you have to do to is email firstname.lastname@example.org with your favorite product and why you would like to celebrate this milestone with us. All entries must be received by Tuesday night at 11:59 pm CST
Please RSVP to email@example.com before Tuesday, March 31st, so that we may include you in our final count to the restaurant.