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/.