In a time where women are shining a light on each other’s successes, leaving unnecessary competition and scrutiny in the past, SILKE London’s founding Mother/Daughter duo are a prime example and answer to...Who run the world?
SILKE London is an independent hair care brand which began in Christine and Maria Sotiriou’s living room in London. To celebrate International Woman’s Day we thought you’d like to get to know them a little better with the below Q&A:
What did you do prior to the launch of SILKE London?
C: Prior to SILKE London I was working in a corporate financial firm.
M: I’d been a hairstylist for over 32 years before founding SILKE London.
How did you get into the hair industry?
C: Well, for me it was seeing the transformations the first iteration of the SILKE Hair Wrap was delivering to my mum's clients, then their family friends, then friend and family of friends of friends. Seeing that, and my own personal hair journey with the product, was a real light bulb moment. I wanted to get out of finance as I always craved something bigger and more creative, and I knew taking SILKE London to the next level was it.
M: Coming from a family of hairstylists, it was a natural progression for me, I started as an apprentice at just 15. What really made me want to delve deeper into the industry was that no-one knew how to manage my mixed heritage hair...
What is the seed of SILKE London; when was the moment you came up with the idea?
M: As a hairstylist, I had access to every product, treatment and technique on the market, and I still couldn’t find anything to help my hair grow, shine, prevent breakage or hold its style. Things would work initially, but nothing was ever permanent.
One morning, while staring at my pillow strewn with broken hair and split ends, it hit me: extreme damage happens when we are most unaware – in our sleep!
It all began to make sense. The breakages, split ends and bed head I was experiencing were the result of abrasive movements of bed linen against my hair cuticles.
As a woman of Mediterranean and Caribbean descent, I looked to my roots and started sleeping in every type of cap, wrap and material you can think of. Even going to bed that first night with a pair of tights on my head (60 denier of course).
It’s then that I realized, wrapping my hair specifically in 100% pure silk delivered incredible transformative results. Widely known for its benefits to the skin, why couldn’t it do the same for our hair?
Looking at the haircare market I found there were only very limited bonnet styles typically in synthetic satin for me to choose from. Whilst there were many ‘in the know’ regarding the benefits of wrapping hair, there were so many women around me who didn't.
So that’s when I decided to create the SILKE Hair Wrap.
Between you, what's the dynamic...who does what and why does it work that way?
C: We say Maria is the “ideas” woman, and I’m the “make it happen” woman.
She’s got the skills, and I pay the bills.
Why do you think this brand has been successful?
C: I think because our hero product, The SILKE Hair Wrap, really does work to transform the health of hair, and the effects can often be so dramatic even for our sceptics, people who would never usually write reviews, make comments on social media or take photos etc. are. Having that real consumer voice attached to our product validates it. Which I guess translates into success!
M: It’s real and it really works. All my life I didn’t find anything that worked, and the first night I went to sleep in my SILKE Hair Wrap I knew instantly others would feel the same.
One business rule to live by?
M: Listen to your gut. (Said very aggressively)
One quote to live by?
M: Never, never, never give up.
What's been the hardest part journey for you so far?
C: For me, it’s been trying to compartmentalize my life. Work has seeped into everything. As we’re a self-funded, self-made business, in the beginning our house was effectively an office-come-warehouse, we often had to watch tv over a tower of boxes! Which makes it impossible to escape. But, when it’s yours, and you love it as much as I do, sometimes it’s hard for me to even want to escape too.
M: The hardest part was the initial risk. As a single mum with 3 kids, I took a calculated risk because I believed in us and our products, but although calculated, it could have gone wrong at any time.
What's been the highlight so far?
C: So it’s really funny. Whenever something amazing happens, when we achieve milestones and hit goals, we celebrate for maybe 5 minutes. And then its game-face back on. When you’re so focused on moving forward and getting better with each day, the last thing that we achieved, becomes exactly that; the last thing we achieved.
M: My highlight is the very personal messages we’ve received from customers where our SILKE Hair Wrap has changed their lives. A lot of people don’t seem to realise just how important hair can be to a woman’s confidence. It’s only when you lose it or your hair is really difficult to manage that you realise what it means to you.
What's next for you both and SILKE?
C + M: We want every woman to be wrapping their hair at night. Once we achieve that, we’ll get back to you with the rest of our list for ‘things to do’ and 'products to launch'...