Luke was left heartbroken when he saw his son coming home crying over his har. The dad at the moment realized that nothing over the years has changed and no matter how we progress, Africans will always be treated differently in terms of their physical appearances.
It is really heartbreaking for parents when their child tells them that they dislike any part of themselves. However, when Luke Carthy's son came home crying about his first week at primary school the dad could relate well to his child.
Luke who himself also attended a mostly white primary school knew what his child felt at his school and knew how his hair became the center of attention for his white classmates as it ‘behaved so differently to how everybody else’s did.’
And initially what started out as interesting for his classmates eventually turned him into believing that he was ‘inferior’ because the products he needed to treat it ‘weren’t available’ as widely as so-called ‘European’ haircare products.
In an interview with UNILAD, the father-of-two said that because he couldn’t get his hands on appropriate hair products without having to embark on ‘a half an hour journey on the bus to find these specialist hair shops’, he grew up ‘not feeling represented, not feeling accessible, not feeling seen.’
20-years down the lane, Luke imagined that the scenario would be different considering the fact that the world is more inclusive ‘would assume’ that with ‘progression in culture and society that things would have moved on.’ but seeing his son crying over his hair made him realized that nothing has changed all these years.
Luke further noticed the lack of representation for Afro hair through his daughter, who began asking questions such as ‘why can’t my hair look like that?’ and ‘why can’t my hair be straight?’ after seeing beauty adverts on TV.
Understanding the situation, Luke said: ‘It made me realise that things haven’t progressed as far as I’d hoped, and it’s physically on my doorstep now.’
Luke already has experience of working in e-commerce and so he set out on the journey of coming up with his own business and create Afrodrops, a company that not only sells Afro hair care products but also aims to create an accessible community where consumers can be educated on the best haircare for them.
Where his children played a huge role for Luke to coming up with the business idea and launching it, he also recognized there was a ‘real appetite and demand for knowledge around haircare.’
In contrast to the European haircare products that aim to remove oils, Luke explained that with Afrocentric haircare it is ‘all about retaining that moisture, that oil, the hydration.’ Unfortunately, however, he wasn’t aware of this for the first 21 years of his life, as he noted: ‘You can’t walk into Tesco and read the back of the bottle and find out what you need, it’s just not there.’
The man now hopes that one-day Afrodrops will offer haircare products of its own brand however, for now, the brand focuses on acting as a stockist for other brands that focus on being ethical, prioritizing haircare, and making a difference, rather than simply churning out products for profit.
Sharing the vision of his brand, the dad said: ‘She’d realised that her child’s hair was nothing like her own hair, and so it’s like, ‘Where do we go?’ So that is the perfect example of a customer who needed help, and we were able to do so and find products that worked for her child’s hair. That really epitomises what Afrodrops is about. It’s just to help.’