Most Lakelanders have heard of former mayor Gow Fields and longtime Polk County school board member Kay Fields. But there’s another member of the Fields family making big news.
Gow’s sister, Lakeland native Angela Fields, 56, is receiving national attention for her haircare line, CurlyCoilyTresses.
The Class of 1985 Kathleen High School graduate and former cheerleading squad captain’s hair care products were recently featured in Black Enterprise, which touted them as the “first ever 100% dye- and fragrance-free products for curly hair.”
Back in 2019, they were listed in an Oprah Daily article touting the best products for 4C curly hair.
“The national press coverage from Black Enterprise, and the resulting attention has left me feeling both blessed and favored, and busy!” Fields said. “I’ve worked incredibly hard to launch and scale CurlyCoilyTresses and I often have to stop and reflect on where it started and where it is now, and all of the successes and milestones in between.”
Fields aims to help Black women who want to wear their hair in its natural state, and not use chemical straighteners, which are often referred to as relaxers.
CurlyCoilyTresses specializes in treating dry, frizzy, and undefined natural hair, Fields said. Product bundles range from moisturizing kits, deep conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and serums, to satin bonnets and pillowcases.
“(My products) lock in moisture and cut styling time by half, while being safe for sensitive skin and noses, fragrance and dye-free, clean, and never tested on animals,” Fields said.
She added her products are unique within the American market because they “exceed the European standard, the most restrictive standard governing cosmetic ingredients.” According to an article in The Guardian, the European Union bans or restricts “1,300 chemicals while the US has outlawed or curbed just 11.”
Pumpkin seed oil, butters, oats and purified water are among the natural ingredients Fields uses.
According to Fields, the impetus for starting her hair care line was having chemical hair straightener spilled on her face during a hair appointment in Tampa.
“The licensed cosmetologist dropped her brush and spilled relaxer on my face! And she didn’t use a neutralizing shampoo over the entire affected area. I had to undergo chemical burn treatment with silvadene cream. Silvadene (cream) can’t be exposed to sunlight and must be covered in bandages,” Fields said, adding she was treated by Dr. Rebecca Holly Marshall in St. Petersburg.
Fields said this traumatic experience served as a wake-up call that she needed to stop using chemical straighteners and also start using healthier products on her hair. It led to her creating her own products right in her kitchen.
“I started right where I was, and used my life-long journey of learning all-things hair after twice losing my hair (to chemical relaxers), to create the natural hair care products I needed,” Fields explained. “At the time, it wasn’t about selling products.”
Then in October in 2014, she was laid off from Itron and decided it was time to launch a haircare line off of the products she’d been perfecting for the past year.
Fields noticed that while she transitioned from chemical relaxers to styling her hair in its natural texture, she encountered an increase in allergic reactions. Allergy testing revealed she was allergic to different fragrances, she said. She then tried many different fragrance-free products and said none of them worked for her hair, or without causing a different allergic reaction.
“I decided to go all in by buying raw ingredients and making my own products … I identified the ingredients I wanted and created formulas, documenting every step of the way. If the results weren’t ideal, I’d document and try another, and another and another. I purchased additional ingredients and kept going until I found what worked,” Fields explained.
Fields said she now runs CurlyCoilyTresses full-time, and also works part-time for Trendcet as a product development coordinator and coach. Aside from selling at a few trade shows across the country, she said most of her sales come from online customers. Her focus now is scaling the enterprise.
“I plan to add additional products to the collection – shampoos, styling products, protectants and complimentary tools – and to grow sales in the U.S. market,” Fields said.
Fields also spends her time talking to young girls at Girls Inc., where her sister-in-law Kay Fields is the executive director. Angela Fields said she loves to encourage the girls to dream without limitation.
She admitted the entrepreneurial journey hasn’t been easy and she’s made many mistakes along the way, including not effectively communicating what made her brand different from various others and not outsourcing some of her business tasks.
She said it’s important for entrepreneurs to identify mentors, be open to advice or constructive criticism, know their customers and understand what matters to them and what their pain points are.
Fields sells her products on her website, curlycoilytresses.com. She said if customers are unsure about which products to try, they can take her hair quiz for recommendations.
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