Behind the Scenes with Brandie Kekoa•
Posted on September 19 2017
Behind every amazing brand is an equally awe-inspiring leader, visionary, and creative spirit. Be Kekoa is no exception with owner and CEO Brandie Kekoa at the helm. Today, we are lifting the veil behind the brand and telling the story of Be Kekoa’s fearless female leader – Brandie Kekoa With over a decade of industry experience, Brandie credits her grandmother and aunt for inspiring her journey into professional haircare and styling. "I remember seeing my aunt in the hair salon and thinking, I want to get paid to have fun." But as
Brandie’s passion for hair grew, so did her vision and ultimate direction. After a couple of years working in a large salon, Brandie knew her time as a just a stylist was drawing to a close. At the four-year mark, the salon environment had become too much of a distraction – and it was officially a wrap.
With dreams of salon ownership and creating her own line of products, Brandie stepped out on faith and created what's known today as the Be Kekoa Salon and haircare brand.
Six years later, the Be Kekoa Healthy Hair Studio in Temecula, California is thriving – breathing fresh life and curls by the pound into wine country. With a focus on growing and maintaining healthy hair, the Be Kekoa Healthy Hair Studio is always abuzz with faithful friends and new clients looking for a personalized approach to hair care. While Brandie’s salon specializes in cutting, styling, and coloring natural hair, her client roster includes women (and men!) who regularly sit in her chair to receive thermal straightening services.
Brandie is a certified Devachan and Ouidad stylist and has trained alongside industry giants like celebrity stylist Felicia Leatherwood. She’s even learned a few tricks of the trade under the late Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s. As a master of all textures and types, it was only right that Brandie go all-in and launch her haircare line of the same name, Be Kekoa. The Be Kekoa brand was born from her married last name Kekoa, which in her husband’s native language means “warrior”. The bold, fierce, and courageous spirit of Be Kekoa is evident in the form and function of her entire product line and brand. In an industry that awards conformity and puts certain curl types on a pedestal, Be Kekoa is proud to represent the beauty in every kink, coil, curl, and wave. “I was tired of using products that didn’t work for my type of curls,” explains Brandie on the origins of the Be Kekoa line of products.
“All of the bigger companies had rules and standards they expected their curly hair professionals to live by and not everyone’s hair fits neatly into a little box. Some of my clients don’t have a visible curl pattern. Others have three, sometimes four different textures. The same product prescription doesn’t work for everybody – and it shouldn’t.”
“I’m a rule breaker – and everything Be Kekoa does is about breaking the rules. Our products. Our signature curl cutting method. Our Tamanu Oils.”
Poised to disrupt the haircare industry in a major way, Brandie is sure that Be Kekoa will chart its own path to notoriety by avoiding trendy buzzwords and superfluous ingredient claims. “Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your hair,” explains Brandie. Brandie and her small but mighty team are working tirelessly to position Be Kekoa not only as a brand that is truly for all hair types but also the first hair care brand to show and prove when it comes to giving back – starting with their line of Tamanu Oils.
Sustainably sourced, Be Kekoa has an exclusive fair-trade agreement with the people of Huahine in French Polynesia. Be Kekoa ensures that the culture and mana of Huahine are preserved and appreciated with each bottle sold. For Brandie, fair-trade isn’t just about paying a fair price for goods and raw materials. It’s about building up people and communities – creating a ripple effect of economic empowerment that improves access to resources and the quality of life for all.
It’s about sharing and paying homage to the people, their history, and their culture – while appreciating the entirety of what they bring to the table.
“I’m tired of seeing big brands capitalize on the natural hair and indigenous communities and not give back.”
A wonder woman in her own right, Brandie wears a lot of hats. Wife. Mother of two. Daughter. Stylist. Salon Owner. Haircare company CEO. And more! That is a tremendous load to balance– even for the most ambitious among us. While Brandie juggles Tamanu Oil twist-outs and teenage melodrama with a hearty laugh and a smile, she’s managed to create a method out of the madness. “I put my spirituality and my family first. Mixed with a little determination, everything else falls into place.” While other business owners focus on industry trends and investor relationships.
Brandie’s biggest secret to growth and success isn’t based on fancy marketing or being a social media sensation. In fact, it’s pretty old school. Her secret? A positive mindset. “You’ll be surprised how far you get by wishing well for others and their successes.” In addition to yoga and walking; gardening is Brandie’s favorite type of therapy. “I can garden all day barefoot,” she laughs. “It helps me slow down and enjoy the simple things in life.” Simplicity is at the heart of Brandie’s personality and resonates throughout the Be Kekoa brand. In fact, she is a self-proclaimed lazy natural. Wash & Go’s, puffs, and twist-outs are her low-maintenance go-to’s for styling. Brandie’s favorite product? It’s a tie. “It’s so hard to pick – but I gotta say, Be Clean is my go-to. It’s a lazy natural’s dream product and I can’t live without it.” Tied with Be Clean is the Tamanu Oil. “All the Tamanu Oils in the collection are very special to me because I have a special and real connection to the people and the island. Plus, it has amazing healing properties.” Brandie and Be Kekoa’s climb to success has been six years in the making with no signs of slowing down. From Tamanu Oil Farm tours in French Polynesia to shower scene cameos on HBO’s Insecure, there is more on the horizon – and you’ll have to stay in the loop to find out what’s next! Keep up with Be Kekoa on:
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