I met Crystal Colon via Instagram like most of you and she introduced me to her amazing satin bonnets. Her bonnets are created with beautiful fabric and are vibrant, bold and colorful. She’s a very creative and savvy business woman that has always stood by her word and always delivers. Her satin bonnets are the first bonnets to fit all of my hair and maintain my pineapple and all us naturalistas have heard about the pineapple struggle. She has created a product that every girl with textured hair, whether kinky, wavy, coily or curly should invest in…a satin bonnet! And Crystal has even went further than that by creating a satin headband, scrunchies and shower caps. Learn how Crystal maintains and styles her beautiful wash n gos, her daughters’ hair and what inspired her to open the Florbella Boutique. Also enter the PrincessLinzz and FlorBella Boutique Holiday Giveaway below!
Crystal, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Where you’re from etc.
I am originally from Chicago, but grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (among other places) and I now live in San Antonio, Texas
How long have you been natural? What has been a challenge, if any of being a natural girl vs. relaxed?
My last relaxer was December 2008. I DID NOT big chop. I transitioned and then cut the remaining relaxer out of my hair in March 2010. The only challenge I have experienced, is with becoming a product junkie (the struggle). I see things and want to try them even though I pretty much know what I like at this point. I am struggling with trying to finger detangle only. I get frustrated because I don’t have time for that but I ALWAYS use a wide tooth comb!!!
What are some of your staple products?
I love Eco Styler Gel and Kinky Curly Curling Custard as my wash & go stylers. For twists I love the Design Essentials Naturals Creme Gel. It gives my twists so much lustre and shine. My fave leave in is Kinky Curly Knot Today (I wish it came in a larger container) I was a DIE HARD Mixed Chicks girl until I learned about the Curly Girl Method (no silicones and sulfates) so I gave up my favorite Deep Conditioner and Leave In to embark on this Curly Girl Method journey. I miss my Mixed Chicks Leave In!! I wish they could make a silicone free (or at least water soluble silicone) version. I SWEAR by Tresemme Naturals Conditoner for detangling. There is no need for me to ever try another detangler. It is silicone and sulfate free so that’s it for me. I use it on my hair and my girls. I also am in love with Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa Conditioner.
What do you look for when you are purchasing a hair product? What is important to you?
I look for products that are sulfate free (shampoo) and silicone free conditioners. I like all natural products as well. I do use non all natural products. I love to find something that is a great product that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. I am raising 2 babies and product prices can be ridiculous. At least when I was using Mixed Chicks I was spending a lot to get a lot. A lot of things now are expensive for a little jar.
Describe your go-to style.
My go to style is a wash n go. Wash & go is such a misnomer. I wash, rinse, apply conditioner, detangle, rinse, apply leave in, apply product for about an hour and then go!!!
What do you think is the best style on your texture of hair?
I like a wash & go and I also like a bun (even though I am still trying to perfect the high bun [which my husband DOES NOT care for]). For me the best styles are what my husband likes because I want to look beautiful fof him so I love when I try a style and he tells me he likes it a lot. He recently told me that he likes the twist and curl. He also ALWAYS tells me my twists look nice when I wear twists. I wear twists quite a bit as well. I have a lot of hair and grow weary of dealing with it. Also, because I have to tend to my girls’ hair, I don’t like to tend to my own so I twist and forget it.
You have 2 beautiful daughters with amazing hair. For those ladies are struggling with their daughter’s hair, can you let everyone know the regimen you have in place for your girls?
You have to have patience. My girls have 2 different textures. My baby girl has very fine hair and her hair is harder to deal with, believe it or not. Since her hair is so fine it gets fair knots very frequently. She dislikes having her hair combed.But the key for me is TONS of conditioner. I relied heavily on Janell of Kinky Curly Coily Me for tips on my oldest daughter’s hair. My daughter’s hair is not the same texture as Janell’s, but Janell’s product reviews pointed me in the right direction. I learned to do the mix with water, conditioner and oil and it has been a LIFESAVER when it comes to detangling my girls’ hair.
I style their hair once a week (on Saturday) or once every two weeks depending on the style they have. (i.e. braids) I wash with Mixed Chicks Sulfate Free shampoo or Shea Moisture Restorative Shampoo. I also detangle with Tresemme Naturals. I do use oil on my baby girl’s scalp because she tends to get dandruff. I also use Trader Joe’s Tea Tree line to tend to her dandruff.I use thick creams on my eldest daughter because he hair is thicker and thirstier. I love the As I Am Double Butter Cream for her. For Carri (the baby) my style of choice is 2 Pocahontas braids. For Tina she likes buns, two Pocahontas braids and the side pony.
You are the beauty, the brains and the hands behind Florbella Boutique. What made you decide to create satin apparel for the natural woman?
This is a controversial topic for me. I was accused of stealing someone else’s idea. So I am so glad you asked this question so I can set the record straight. I started my blog in July 2012. After starting my blog I came across another young lady who made bonnets and I purchased one from her. When I got my bonnet, the woman who made my bonnet DID NOT make bonnets for kids. My girls kept asking me to buy them a bonnet. I had taken sewing lessons (which was a 2012 New Year’s resolution of mine) and I decided to make them a bonnet, simply to practice my sewing. When I made them one (and I didn’t know what I was doing) they showed their Papi (my husband) the bonnets. He came to me he liked them and told me I should make the bonnets to sell them. I told him that I didn’t think I should. He told me I should do it and after talking to a few friends of mine and some other business owners I knew to gauge their perspective of the idea of whether or not I should do it, I started doing it. Of course I was called a thief and copy cat and unoriginal and lots of other things. But I thought to myself, lots of people have blogs and it’s not problem, lots of people have T-Shirt lines and it’s no problem. They aren’t considered copy cats or thieves. I prayed and asked God to show me if I made the right decision and I couldn’t be happier. The thing that really made me comfortable with my decision was I actually did some research and discovered that there were other bonnet businesses that were actually in existence BEFORE the young woman I bought my bonnet from. So I didn’t ‘steal’ an original idea. So My husband, Tino, is the force, the brains, the motivation behind Flor Bella Boutique. The name is actually in homage to him. Flor Bella is Spanish for beautiful flower. I chose a Spanish name for my business in homage to my husband and my daughters who are Puerto Rican to honor their Latino heritage.
What are some of the pros and cons of being a business woman, full time government worker, mommy, wife and a naturalista (wash days are a pain)?
First off, I LOVE being a mom. Being a mom is stressful because there is no time off, obviously. I am blessed that I have a husband here to share the parenting duties. We alternate weekends taking the girls to gymnastics so I can complete my FlorBella duties.
My full time employment is an auditor for the government. That is a stressful job because no one wants to get audited and I deal with taxpayers everyday. They can be rude sometimes and that is sometimes difficult to deal with. The main pro is that I am gainfully employed, praise God!! However, it is hard to balance my full time job with the business and trying to have a personal life. Trust me, house cleaning has fallen by the wayside occasionally because I come straight home from work and then start sewing. My weekends are consumed with the girls’ gymnastics and more sewing. Most nights I am up till 2am sewing. I have slacked up on cooking which has hurt my waist line. I am praying for God to help me manage my time. I have recently purchased a planner to track my to do’s and my needs/wants. I want to read a few good books which I haven’t had time for and I want to fully commit to cross fit which Tino and I have recently started doing it. So a con would be finding time to enjoy life. I have neglected the girls hair a few times as well. But I have learned that its best to just do it and get it over and when it is done I have the remaining time to do what I need to do. My girls have told me that I don’t play with them enough so that is a goal to spend some quality time with them each day to do what they want. Of course, Tino and I need date night and we seldom get to enjoy alone time since we live here in Texas and have no family here. I am quite particular about who I let care for my girls so they are with us wherever we go. So I need to have some husband wife time more often. So I am working on planning all those things. It is tough but rewarding, nonetheless.
What goes into making a satin bonnet?
That’s proprietary. But I will tell you that lots of fabric, thread, elastic, time and love goes into making bonnets.
I love your bonnets because it can actually fit all of my hair under it, even when I wear flexirods. It has been my hair’s saving grace. Instagram faves and curlfriends HalfieTruths, MoKnowsHair and others have been wearing your bonnets. How does it make you feel to see everyone sporting Florbella Boutique bonnets?
I can’t put into words the gratitude I feel. I say that because I was NOT creative growing up. I can’t draw. I never imagined myself creating things. The first time I made the bonnets, to have my husband tell me he liked them meant so much. When people email me and tell me how much they love my items it boosts my confidence so much because I never imagined this for my life. I have always wanted to own a business and I feel God moving so much in my life and in my business and I feel so blessed!! Starting my blog and this business has given me a confidence I didn’t know existed and trust me when I tell you I was not a confident person growing up and even probably until maybe 2 years ago. Florbella is so much more to me than bonnets. Florbella has saved my life!!!
Whats next in 2014 for Florbella Boutique?
I am adding other items besides hair accessories. I want to improve my sewing skills and I want to add other items ( I don’t want to give too much away) but I will say that the product line will be expanding (with God’s blessings, of course) beyond just hair items in 2014. I will be positing on Instagram and Facebook as new items arrive. I also have a new site that will be launching soon. I have a wonderful designer who has created a logo for us that is now on the Facebook and Storenvy sites. I have a new blog logo and I am expanding my blog to more than just hair. I have a LOT to talk about (and we can’t wait to hear it).
Any holiday sales or holiday giveaways?
YES YES YES. Me and PrincessLinzz are giving away a bonnet, a shower cap and some scrunchies to 3 lucky participants. One winner will win a Florbella Boutique bonnet, the 2nd winner will win a shower cap and the 3rd winner will win a few satin scrunchies. Entrants have to like me on IG, Facebook and YT (info is below). We will be announcing winners on December 24th, December 25th and December 26th!
Facebook name: Flor Bella Boutique
Where can readers find you in the social media world?