We met Ceata at a natural hair conference several years ago. Two things immediately struck us about Ceata, how kind and friendly she was and how eager she was to reach out and work with people in the community to help strengthen one another's goals. Like many entrepreneurs, she didn't necessarily set out to be one, but she had the drive, the passion and ideas, all she needed was a little spark. It is amazing how life can lead you down the right path when you follow your intuition. It has proved successful for Ceata, so we wanted to share her story.
CEATA E. LASH
When I decided to change my lifestyle and make the transition from relaxed to natural hair, I discovered that it was impossible to find accessories to accommodate the thickness and texture of my hair. Searching in stores and online, I realized that most accessories on the market are designed for straight, thin hair – NOT for my naturally thick, coarse hair! Existing products cinched my hair to its smallest point of resistance, creating “bunny tail hair” (not a good look for a grown woman), hair breakage, damage to the accessory and pure frustration for me!
I became determined to find a solution, but it just didn’t exist. As I became more aware of other African American women making the same transition — all with similar hair texture and hairstyles, it became clear we all had the same need for an easy-to-use styling tool that would help us achieve quick looks without stressing our hair. We also needed it to be sanitary, durable and affordable. A little more research revealed that there were others — men and women with curly hair, dread locks and braids — who were experiencing the same styling woes. It was then that the concept of the PuffCuff was born, but I wouldn’t let myself imagine that I could be the one to invent, manufacture and retail it myself. And, then, inspiration moved in.
Entrepreneurialism is my true passion. In the fall of 2011, I was blessed to have my 99 year-old grandmother come to live with my family and I. She had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and was close to death. My grandmother was my heart and I loved her dearly. In our quiet moments together; I often wondered, “Did she do everything she wanted to in her long life? Did she pursue all her dreams?” The answer was a resounding and confident, “YES.” She was at total peace in knowing her time was at hand. So I thought, ‘Would I be at peace with how my life turned out if the Lord blessed me to live to her age?” Knowing I might not get 99 years, if I put this idea on the shelf and left it there, I might not have the same kind of peace my grandmother had when death was imminent. I decided I had to at least try. If I failed, it wouldn’t be for a lack of trying. So here I am! PuffCuff LLC was launched in November of 2013. The first PuffCuff was available for purchase in February of 2014.