PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Imagine growing a business from a sticky mess in your kitchen to an international empire. That’s what a Mount Airy woman was able to do over the past 20 years.
Kisha Hudson is a solutions finder. The problem she solved– “how to deal with kinky coily hair.”
“It was a big old sticky mess at that time because I didn’t; know what I was doing,” she says regarding her first product.
Hudson is the creator of the “Caramel Treatment,” a pre-conditioner she made in her kitchen by combining honey, bananas and other ingredients. At the time, her goal was simply to create something that would tame her then three-year old daughter’s hard to comb mane.
“She had hair that was thick and unruly and would cry all the time whenever I combed it,” she says.
So one day after work, Hudson went to 7-11 and purchased honey and bananas. She had read about natural ingredients for years and gave it a try. After more research and trial and error, she created the first batch of caramel and the results were immediate.
“I could really see a difference,” says Hudson, who was known in the 1990s to give her clients chemical relaxers. “I took the product into the salon and my clients loved it– they asked me could they buy it.”
Hudson then created E’TAE Natural Products Corporation to protect her assets. The Dobbins High School grad researched FDA guidelines, found a manufacturer and began creating her products legally. Fast forward and Hudson’s business has grown into a full scale salon, product retail store, shipping center and the corporate offices of E’TAE supporting 53 employees.
Reporter: When you started your products in your kitchen- did you have any idea that 18 years later, you would have an empire?
“No, not at all,” says Hudson, “I was concerned about my daughter having manageable hair. It wasn’t like I had a mentor or anything, I was not in business programs, I didn’t go to school for business or anything, I’m just naturally just a problem solver.”
E’TAE, which ironically is “EAT” backwards, has seven products that are sold to salons and beauty supply stores all over the world. In the coming weeks, E’TAE will open a second location, which will focus on girls ages 5 to 12.
E’TAE products work in several steps. Caramel coats the hair for 20 minutes and acts as a deep conditioner. Next, there’s shampoo and conditioner and a moisturizing butter cream. The products leave the hair soft and manageable- ready for blow drying and the flat iron.
“I believe in our products,” says Hudson, “it makes me happy to see our clients leave out with this healthy and shiny hair.”
A mother a wife, Hudson had her challenges. She lost clients early on in her business when she launched her products. Today, she hasn’t looked back. She advises that other women with a good idea they believe in do the same.
“If I would have listened to people and given up years ago– ETAE wouldn’t be here right now,” she says, “I say to other women– if there’s something out there that you’re good at– do it and just don’t give up.”
For more on E’TAE Natural Products, go to etaeproducts.com.