Behind every company, there stands a fierce leader with a strong team to make things happen. In the case of Royal Locks, that happens to be mother, entrepreneur and overall superstar - Casey Simmons.
To give Royal Locks customers a better idea of the person-behind-the-products (and because I’m genuinely curious), I asked Casey some questions on her curly hair journey, and how Royal Locks turned into the company that it is today.
So Casey, what is the story behind how Royal Locks first came into your life?
My husband and I bought the company in late 2019 from its founder. The founder created Pro Curl Cream Gel after mixing multiple products at home! I loved the concept of a simple product that worked really well, and did the job of both a cream and a gel. At the time, I really needed it in my life and I hadn’t seen many products like it.
Royal Locks came into our lives at a pivotal time. In the past, I had worked for over 20 years as a professional consultant. I went part time when our son was born, and stopped working altogether when our daughter was born. So we had a very “traditional” set up at home for several years. My husband worked, and I was a highly active volunteer for 2 major non-profits. I loved it; this matrix was what I wanted and needed at the time. However, when we decided to purchase Royal Locks, I was ready to go back to work in a traditional setting.
Where does the name "Royal Locks" stem from?
- High quality products and customer service.
- Available to everyone, and inclusive of all curl types.
- Ease, without sacrificing style, is one of the greatest luxuries.
- Products that are carefully crafted for everyone's curly hair journey.
What was your personal connection to the curly hair community at the time?
My own experience trying to figure out curly hair was not easy.
When I had my first child and all the hormonal changes of motherhood, my formerly straight hair became wavy. But… I didn’t know it at the time. All I knew was it was a horrible, frizzy, coarse mess. I struggled with my new identity as a mom, and a different look was not helpful. I didn’t feel or look like myself. I missed that confidence and balance.
I kept straightening my hair for years. Which was fine if I was meeting up with friends, or going on a date with my husband. The problem was, when I just wanted to be natural it didn’t make me feel like me. I started seeing more waves, and began to research hair care. I found that many women experience changes in hair texture throughout their lives, or choose to stop straightening, and wear their hair naturally curly. I didn’t know hormones changed hair!
So, was it a bit of an aha moment? Did you feel like you had found “your people,” so to speak?
Yes! These women were also overwhelmed when attempting to understand how to manage their new curly patterns. Additionally, they too felt a connection between their look and individuality. Changing your hair changes how you feel, and for many it’s important to have your look represent the real you.
As I began to care for my hair with wavy and curly suggestions, I started to like it! I felt it was a great compliment to express my personality: unique, approachable and fun.
I was so happy to discover Royal Locks Curl Care during that time. I loved that the products worked with simple steps that fit into my new lifestyle, while delivering beautiful results.
What are your core values when working with a team as a business owner?
- Everyone must be heard.
- The owner doesn’t always know best. I’m smart enough to know that I’m not always the smartest person in the room. I feel it’s important to rely on the talents of others, I hired them for a reason.
- Delegating, executing, and accountability is important.
- Make a decision, and move on. Stick with it, and see it through.
- Go with your gut. If you really don’t feel someone or something is in the best interest of the business, move on quickly.
We’ve touched on how your hair changed during pregnancy during your curly hair journey. If that hadn't happened, would you still have been drawn to the hair care world?
While I’ve always loved hair, fashion, and beauty (in my own way), owning or working in haircare wasn’t on my radar. Like I mentioned, I did something completely different professionally before.
I have to say - I’m really glad I found curl care. I’m so happy to have the opportunity to own and operate Royal Locks. I’ve been able to put a lot of my own personality and values into our brand, and it’s been extremely rewarding.
“The curl care community has a welcoming energy, the kind you get when meeting up with close friends. You arrive, and everyone smiles and waves you over. They’re excited to hear from you, and have you there with them.”
What does having wavy curly hair mean for you and your identity?
One of my all time favorite things to do is to go to concerts and listen to live music. When you’re at a concert listening to one of your favorite bands there is a general sense of authentic, freeing, wild abandonment and happiness. You look around and see that others are celebrating this same enjoyment right along with you. It’s not just an expression of feeling, but a celebration of community.
When I think about curl care and what it means to me, I immediately feel something similar. The curl care community has a welcoming energy, the kind you get when meeting up with close friends. You arrive, and everyone smiles and waves you over. They’re excited to hear from you, and have you there with them.
Curls are uniquely beautiful, and seem to represent an inner personality. I want to show that off to the world so that we can celebrate our curls together.
Does being a mom affect the way you run your business? If so, how?
Yes, and more yes. A healthy work/life balance is key to a successful family unit (and my sanity). Boundaries can be really hard to make and even harder to maintain, but they’re extremely rewarding.
It’s important to me to have a hard stop in the afternoon when school ends. I might take a call, or finish up tasks later that afternoon, but I like to give my kids my focus for a bit at the end of the school day.
I’m also learning to do something for myself a few times per week. This could mean an activity with a friend, my husband, or just by myself. I take a break and reset, if even only for 45 minutes. I also exercise almost every day, no excuses. I set it up in my calendar like a meeting. Some days it’s a hot mess struggle, but it’s always better than nothing!
Time away from the business is so important in today’s (mainly) remote world where the expectation seems to be immediate response. It can be intense and overwhelming. You can get caught up in “the grind” very easily, and then there’s nothing left. I think taking a short occasional break to remember I am a complex person with multiple layers and needs makes me a better, more attentive owner.
How do you make the most of your team on a day-to-day basis?
Delegate! I think I am a very good delegator, and can make decisions without questioning them because of my experience as a Mom. I have never lived remotely close to family. My husband and I had to create a system and village of our own because we’re not fortunate to have family to help. That means we’ve always outsourced. I have no qualms at all asking for help, and feel it’s super efficient and beneficial to all involved. I can't do it all, don’t want to, and frankly feel it’s just not smart.
My kids can get a better balance from having many others in their life to guide them, ask questions of, and find inspiration from. I feel the same way about running a business. There are so many uniquely qualified people out there, and we’re fortunate to have a few of them. So I am happy to delegate and, in return, receive benefits from their expertise and talents.
And finally, what advice would you give to someone who has a dream of starting their own business?
Try it! But do it very consciously and thoughtfully. I’m adventurous, but not very spontaneous. I like to think about why I really want to do something, what I am going to get out of it, what am I giving up, and how I'd feel in a few years if I didn't try it.