It’s easy to let comments, likes and follows get the best of us but Freddie Harrel reminds us of what really matters – being authentically you.
With big hair and a bold style to match, Freddie is a pro at self-expression. After leaving her job in finance, she made a major career shift. Her passion led her to the beauty and fashion industry where she began working with big brands like ASOS and Topshop. Shortly after, she launched her hair company Big Hair No Care to inspire women to love their natural textures.
Big Hair No Care produces ethical afro hair extensions made of premium synthetic. The product line includes everything from clip-in hair extensions to affordable lace front wigs. The brand streamlines protective styling to be quick and easy.
When she’s not creating new styles for Big Hair No Care, Freddie makes sure to keep her creative energy flowing. With her beautiful family of three, her confidence workshops and her endless style features, there’s nothing that Freddie can’t do.
We sat down with Freddie to talk about the importance of self-care, her dream collaborations and the latest with Big Hair No Care.
On Being Frankie
Before Big Hair No Care, Freddie posted anonymously on her blog I Go By Frankie. For many years, Freddie struggled with depression. But after launching her blog as a hobby, she reached a point where everything in her life began to make a turn for the better. She knew it was time to shed bad habits. As Frankie, Freddie explored every ounce of herself without feeling restrained and allowed herself to heal through her writing.
“The blog was a way to explore myself and make peace with myself. I thought that maybe it that it could be useful one day.”
It was through her blog that she discovered her love for clothing and fashion and began working on digital marketing strategies for large fashion companies.
On Maintaining Herself
It’s easy to be boxed in by society. Our culture obsesses over labels. Whether you are a woman, black, educated — or like many of us all three, people will try to trap you into the stereotype of that “box”. In reality, we are all individuals with diverse characteristics.
In an interview with StyleLikeU, Freddie says, “Before I am a woman, before I am Black, I am Freddie.” This quote serves not only serves as a reminder that we are human but; also, that we are different. We each have our story beyond the basic stereotypes given to us.
We asked Freddie what habits she has developed to preserve herself, despite all of the labels that are projected on her.
“I journal a lot. I write a lot. […] those things are really at the soul level. It’s really me facing what I am going through, what I am learning, what I am struggling with, what I am happy with. All this is the self-discovery journey that I am very, very passionate about and every day I do so much around it.”
For Freddie, practicing self-care is crucial to making sure her true-self remains whole.
“I think self-love is nurturing who you are before anything else, that self that you are before any other thing. I find that it shuts up the noise from the outside if you are very good at building that relationship and keeping it as sacred as it should be.”
On Finding Confidence
Freddie is an advocate for self-discovery. Self-discovery is essential because it allows you to learn more about why you do certain things and who you want to be. She launched SHE Unleashed Workshops to remind women of their power and potential. In the workshops, she shared her tips and tricks for sustaining confidence.
Even Freddie struggled with feelings that she had nothing to offer and couldn’t find her purpose on Earth. Freddie found that by developing a deepened relationship with herself led to her acknowledging who she is.
“Start with finding validity in who you are. That’s something I have struggled with. I just felt like I was lower, inferior to everyone else, I have nothing to bring. What was my point being here on earth? What’s my purpose?”
She pulled herself out of a negative mindset by embracing all of herself.
“I can see how unique I am because I am a cocktail of so many personalities that therefore there’s no baseline for us to compare ourselves. I wouldn’t be able to compare myself to you because you’re like a dozen different personalities and I am just my own cocktail.”
In knowing who she is, she finds her confidence.
“Having the sense of validity and you’re so unique that therefore you have to belong, I find that gives me confidence just to know that because, in the end, we are all here to be the best of ourselves. Confidence is definitely something that we deserve. It’s something that we need to fulfill what we are here for.”
On Combating Her Fears
As we entered 2018, Freddie vowed to “live beyond the fear fence”. Last year, one of her biggest fears that she struggled with all of her life occurred. Her father passed away suddenly.
“I have always been really scared to lose my father and I thought that the day he’s gone my life is over […] My dad passed away three months ago out of the blue […] so I am literally living beyond fear.”
Now that her biggest fear has become a reality, Freddie is determined to find her voice and combat her fears head-on.
“This is the year that I feel that I need to step more into everything that I do […] just be bold with it”
Her mantra for the year is to think big and bigger and see what happens.
“The biggest fear has happened and I am still here and I am still strong so I might as well go for it.”
On Her Favorite Hair Products
Freddie keeps her hairstyles simple. A beautiful afro, mile-long braids and curly asymmetrical cuts are some of her favorite looks to rock. Her simple style makes a big impact because of how healthy and hydrated her hair is.
She shared some of her beloved products with us:
- Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Deep Conditioning Protein Pack
- Melanin Queen’s Deep Conditioner
- Afro Hair and Skin Co. Products
- Charlotte Mensah’s Manketti Hair Oil
On Big Hair No Care
Big Hair No Care began out of what Freddie recalls as a “lucky accident”. She was grossed out by human hair trade documentaries online and logged onto a forum to seek other options. At the time, the lace wig trend had made its way from the States to the U.K. and was booming.
She wanted a synthetic wig, but the quality was bad. Often, the wigs were extremely shiny and smelled of plastic. She found a supplier in the forum and began working with them to create wigs and clips for herself.
“That’s what I had been using for years. When I started the blog, people started asking ‘what’s your hair routine?’ I wasn’t blogging about hair so I never really mentioned it. When I realized that people thought it was my hair, I was like ‘no, no, no it’s not my hair.’ But I had nowhere to point them toward but I never thought I would make it a business.”
It wasn’t until her husband received a job offer in Geneva that she decided to launch Big Hair No Care as an e-commerce site. This made it easy for her to run the business from wherever she was.
On Synthetic Hair
There’s a huge debate between the ethics of human hair wigs and the use of synthetic hair. Freddie believes that it’s up to you what you choose to wear.
“My approach to it is that I do afro hair textures. I do the afro and blown out versions. When it comes to those textures I don’t think that you need human hair to match your hair. So, in that case, I think synthetic hair is perfect. It’s much more ethical, it’s much cheaper, it’s 80% cheaper. We are called Big Hair No Care because you just brush it when you buy it. You don’t need to detangle or to wash or condition.”
On Expanding Big Hair No Care
In March, Big Hair No Care is opening a dispatch center in Atlanta. They already ship to the United States regularly. By coming to Atlanta, Freddie will be able to do a huge official launch announcing Big Hair No Care’s arrival to the States.
So of course, we wanted to know why Atlanta seemed like the best place for her to base her distribution in the United States.
“I have never been to Atlanta and I am so excited because from what people say about this place there’s no place [like it]. […] I am so excited to be surrounded by so many black people. But also, to see so many successful black people in one place. The amount of black people that you have in Georgia is about [the number of] black people that you have in the whole of Great Britain or something like that.”
Freddie is looking forward to meeting new people in a new city and finding people to work with during her two-month stay.
On Dream Collaborations
With her mind on growing Big Hair No Care, Freddie’s list of dream collaborations is long. But there are a few people she would love to work with.
“I would love to collaborate with Solange in any way one day. I love Gabrielle Union. She’s one of us. She’s so down to earth. I really love Myliek from CurlBOX. I love her ethics and what she’s [doing] with CurlBox.”
On Style Experimentation
Printed pantsuits and bright floral print maxi dresses are just a few of Freddie’s staples. She loves to switch up her style to create new and exciting looks.
If you are interested in experimenting with your own look, she advises starting step by step.
“Tomorrow, wear something that you wouldn’t usually. Just wear it the whole day and then report to yourself in the evening, Was it the end of the world? If not, try an extra step the day after.”
She also adds to “always keep in mind that people won’t care.” Debrief with yourself on how the look made you feel and make adjustments from there.
On Her Future Plans Plans
Freddie Harrel’s plans for the year are big.
“With Big Hair No Care, conquer the U.S., France, and places in Europe.”
Her objective is to land a shop on the high streets in London. She also is launching a pop-up shop in Paris this year.
“It’s about time that we should be able to shop our beauty products in Superdrug and Boots in the UK or even Target in the U.S. There are no hair extensions [in these shops]. I think that because it’s synthetic all of the problems around hygiene are not there so we have a shot. “
Aside from Big Hair No Care, she has some personal goals for herself too.
“I would love to come back with the workshop, launch my podcast, and I am also about to launch a newsletter.”
It sounds like Freddie will be adding a lot more fun and collaboration into her life this year. If you want to follow more of Freddie’s journey through her Instagram, Big Hair No Care and her blog FreddieHarrel.com.