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Executive Voice

How Pekela Riley Is Disrupting The Salon Industry

Pekela Riley is the Diverse Strategy Specialist for Ulta Beauty, apart from being a highly coveted and top-ranked celebrity hairstylist, Pekela ‘PK’ Riley is the founder of True + Pure Extensions. She handles several crucial roles among them; salon owner, educator, influencer, and entrepreneur. She has been celebrated for several noble things, her aesthetics in texture and haircutting, her beautiful coiffures that have graced the pages of Vogue, Essence, Modern Salon, Sophisticates, and many more. For this reason, she has been featured in Elle Magazine as one of the ‘Top 100 Salons in America.’


Creating a dwelling brand in the salon industry


Everyone has a turning point. For Pekela, it came with a big question that henceforth centered all the decisions that she was making as a stylist and salon owner, “Does this decision make my client feel good?” That is the question that made her focus on skillset, service offering, and offering the greatest value to her clients. 


After putting great effort into healthy beautiful natural texture styling – she positioned herself favorably to align with the early catapult of the natural hair movement and timely launch of a premium offering within the value chain; ‘True + Pure Extensions.’


Obstacles faced in the journey


Everyone faces some obstacles at some point. For Pekela, it was since her childhood. In an exclusive interview, she said, “I grew up in extreme poverty and an environment smothered with a myriad of socio-economic and cultural obstacles. Thus I was never a stranger to adversity. Within the industry, I found it challenging to leverage my success locally in Jacksonville, FL, into national beauty brand and top tier media freelance opportunities through agencies requiring a reputational and geographical placement in the top entertainment markets i.e. NY & LA.” She said as she continued, “This was also compounded because I was a black woman seeking ascension within a segment of the industry that too often subscribes to tokenism.”


Overcoming the obstacles


Pekela leveraged the opportunity that she had with industry brands looking for her and built her national campaign portfolio. This helped her build the experiences she had to relationships that helped create an attraction point that created demand due to the elevated brand image with validated performance. She continued explaining how she doubled down on her personal belief and self-determination as she networked and learned many new things. 


Be unique


As she concluded the interview, Pekela said that everyone is gifted differently. She was obsessed with seeking the most magnetic and liberating value offering for awakening the most inclusive inner and outer beauty points. 

“I also have a touchpoint within the entire value chain of the texture consumer, from hairstyling to product management to education to social engagement to mass media promotion to retail – to truly understand, value and service this consumer where she is based.” She concluded. 

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