ANTWERP, BELGIUM – No matter what happens in life, you cannot let life just give you what it wants. You need to tell life what you want, work towards it and be ready to receive when life brings it to you. My name is Janine van Throo, a daughter, mother, sister, friend, but above all I am a woman of color. I am an entrepreneur, a speaker, a coach and The Natural Hair Therapist.
Born in Suriname, raised in the Netherlands, I have always been surrounded and raised by strong women. My grandmother who practically raised me while my mom was out working, taught me some great life lessons. She was a woman that did not tolerate excuses, was not afraid to tell the truth and worked very hard.
At the age of 13, I was making money by helping my uncle every Saturday selling his ( at that time) exotic products like vegetables, dried fish and other Caribbean food on the local markets. I guess this is how I was groomed, not even intentionally, to become an entrepreneur. I started my first business at the age of 19, I’d buy small stocks of lingerie and sold them to whoever was interested.
Natural Hair Journey
I started chemically treating my hair since I was 15 years old. You cannot imagine how thrilled I was when my mom told me I could finally have my hair done. Back then, this is something every teenage girl eventually grew to, we got to “do our hair”. It was like a confirmation that you stepped out of the girlhood into young lady world.
I loved the result on my hair, so much that after my first visit, I kept going back.
I didn’t mind that it took the whole day to get a re-touch and even endured the burning of the chemicals on my scalp. The compliments I received from people around me on how good my hair looked. As well as the feeling it gave me, made me continue this regime for more than 15 years.
I am sure some of the ladies know what I am talking about. Especially when I started working in the corporate world, I had to have my hair “done and look professional”. It was something you automatically did, like brushing your teeth.
Over the years my hair got thinner and thinner. I never paused and looked at what was going on. The thinning of my hair happened so gradually that it even seemed normal to me, loosing that much hair.
It wasn’t until one day, looking at my pictures from when I was 17 years old that I realized how much hair I’d lost. My first thought, after a stake of shock was, ‘I have to get my hair back!”
I started experimenting with all kinds of products that I mostly bought from indian stores. All of them promising growing hair, but not got my full hair back. Then one day I asked myself, what if I started over? After a lot of conversations and brainstorming sessions with myself, I finally decided to have my Big Chop. This is when you cut off all of the chemically treated hair and started over. For me this would mean a really tiny afro with less than 5 cm of hair.
I remember walking into the first black hair salon that I could find. The lady walked up to me and asked me how she could help. I told her, “I need to cut off all the chemically treated hair”. The lady looked at me and all she said was “hmmm”.
The lady took a step towards me, took some strands of my hair in her hand and asked: “Honey, are you sure? You want to cut it all off?”. “Yes Ma’m, I am sure”. All the while I was thinking, “lady, please do it before I change my mind”!
Of course I was not sure! I was scared. What if people laughed at me, what if it did not grow back, what if my man left me for this, what if…………….but through all the “what ifs”, I knew I really needed to start over.
I walked out of the salon with a really small afro and never felt so insecure in my life. I felt as if everyone was staring at me, laughing at me, shaking their hair with pity thinking “look at that poor girl with no hair.
I always had long hair, what the heck was I thinking? Why did I do this? Should I get a wig? It took me a couple of weeks to get used to my new hair. Then started to appreciate my cute curls, my own natural hair. Step by step I started to learn how to work with my hair. Also learned to “listen”to my hair, what she likes and dislikes. I started educating myself on hair, ingredients and products. But the best part of this all, I learned to love my hair the way it was. I was no longer ashamed of my own natural hair.
From Need To Niche
Finding the right haircare products for my natural hair was a journey I hadn’t prepared for. I entered yet another arena of trial and error, mixing and applying. Even experimented with oils, clays, herbs and plants. People noticed the difference in my hair and would ask me what to treat their hair and their children.
In 2004 I started my natural hair business as a web-shop where I offered natural hair care products. Mind you, today this is nothing special, but back then, we had no products and no knowledge on how to treat our hair. We were literally in the “ kindergarten of natural hair”.
The natural hair community grew and is still growing. More women and young ladies are starting to learn how to appreciate and love their hair. I started to share my experience and knowledge with a larger group of women. As well as took classes to be able to understand and treat hair better.
Since there was no education specifically on how to treat afro hair in its natural state, I started learning about hair in general. Then followed several studies and courses focusing on the science of hair; formulating products as well as trichology, dermatology for hairdressers , trichoscopy and basic medical knowledge courses.
First Natural Hair Salon in Amsterdam
In 2009 I opened the first natural hair salon in the centre of Amsterdam, offering several treatments to natural haired ladies. Soon enough parents with adopted children with afro- and curly hair as well as parents with mixed raced children found us. In that same year I launched my first natural hair care line.
I had the privilege and honor to work with hundreds, if not thousands of women all over Europe and in ( Suriname) South America through the years. Teaching them how to love and appreciate their own hair. But also about Ingredients, treating and understanding hair.
It took me more than 10 years to develop a hair care philosophy that covers all the important areas on hair care. This success philosophy is now being offered to salons all over the world.
Hair Care Philosophy
The philosophy is a holistic approach to hair care. Too often when people talk about hair care, they only think of the products you apply to your hair. Whereas, Hair care is so much more than just that! Every man and woman that work with hair should have the knowledge that goes further than just giving a good haircut or a shampoo!
They should know that; long before you see your hair, it is already there. Growing in your scalp. It starts from within, made by your body. This is why it’s important to give your body the building blocks it needs in order to grow healthy hair!
With my company, Just Natural Consulting, we offer white label products, Certification programs, workshops and masterclasses to salons and individuals that want to become a certified Natural Hair Therapist.
Another service that we offer is the assessment of the systems and processes your customers go through and create natural and sustainable business processes. We do not only do this for Salons but for every type of business.
I am humbled but also very proud to finally be able to offer this certification program. With this certification program I hope to help women start their own businesses and offer them the opportunity to become financially independent.
Especially today, every woman needs to be prepared to earn her own money. We as women need to have a mindset to not only earn our own money, but to excel in this as well. For ourselves and for the generation of women after us. We need to set an example. I believe it is most important for women all over the world, single or married, to have a certain level of financial independency. With Just Natural Consulting, I offer the opportunity to accomplish so.
Janine van Throo,
Founder of Just Natural Consulting, Speaker, Natural Hair Therapist,
FB profile: Janine van Throo