Let the Entrepreneurial Spirit Rule: Puretopiah Turning Heads

Multicultural Hair Care System for Children Launches with FSBDC at UCF Assistance

January 18, 2022


Contact:  Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or hthayer@ucf.edu

                  Charles Wheeler, Consultant, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4846 or Charles.Wheeler@ucf.edu 

Orlando, FL – The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Alicia Sangster, CEO, founder, and product co- creator at Puretopiah, the maker of a unique, multicultural hair care system for children. Sangster encountered a problem, invented a solution, put the pieces together and then turned to the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) for assistance with starting up and launching her new business.

Alicia Sangster, a Jamaican immigrant, often found it difficult caring for her daughter’s thick, curly, multi-textured hair, made even more challenging by her child’s ultra-sensitive skin. With the help of her brother, a chemist for over 12 years, she began her quest for a natural, gentle, safe product that made it easier for children’s hair to look great longer, without frizz and with silky-smooth curls, all from a product made from nourishing, vegan ingredients. The result is a 4-step hair care system comprised of shampoo, conditioner, detangler and curling cream that is an easy to use, wash-and-go answer for intense hydration and longer lasting curls.

“Puretopiah is the first plant powered multicultural brand to give your kids up to four days of moisture and curl definition without the use of damaging chemicals or having to convince your kids to wear satin bonnets,” says Sangster proudly. “It makes it so much easier for us parents to care for our kid’s hair and make it look great longer. It’s why we like to say ‘Puretopiah. Your Beauty. Your Way. Naturally.’”

Sangster the entrepreneur had found the solution, but now wanted to share it and make a business out of it. That’s when she turned to the FSBDC at UCF. “I had seen articles where people shared their success stories from working with the FSBDC,” she recalls. “I decided to reach out for assistance because I didn’t want to navigate alone this landscape of starting a new business in a whole new industry that I wasn’t familiar with.”

“In working with the FSBDC, I have really experienced a lot of support,” continued Sangster. “As entrepreneurs, of course we rely on family and friends, but it helps to take it to another level where you’re getting support from someone who has been there and done that.” In fact, the FSBDC helped Sangster in multiple ways: setting up the business; developing packaging/labels/sales/website development. “What I really appreciated was that I could be myself in my interactions with my consultant Chuck Wheeler,” says Sangster. “Even if that day was a horrible day and I didn’t know if I was going to move forward, I was able to feel uplifted at the end of those sessions and keep going.”

“What I have achieved since working with the FSBDC is going from a mere idea to fully launching my business, which I did last week,” Sangster concluded. “There are so many things that you just don’t realize that you have to do as a business in order to launch and I definitely could not have done it without the help of the FSBDC, so I say: ‘Thank You.’”

For more information about Puretopiah, please visit: https://puretopiah.com/.


About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2020, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,000 jobs created, retained or saved; $1.2 billion in sales growth; $59.1 million in capital formation; $53.4 million in government contract awards; and 86 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2020, Florida SBDCs provided 162,519 hours of professional business consulting to more than 24,100 client businesses, resulting in almost 38,000 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $488 million in government contracts acquired; and $553.5 million in capital accessed.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.

FSBDC at UCF | 3201 E. Colonial Drive | Orlando, FL 32801 | p 407.420.4850 | f 407.420.4862
sbdc@ucf.edu | www.sbdcorlando.com