Entrepreneurs Of Color Q&A: Alejandra Martinez Of Innersense

Entrepreneurs Of Color Q&A: Hairdresser And Beauty Director Alejandra Martinez Of Innersense

The brand is fully made by hairdressers.

Alejandra Martinez

Once people meet the loves of their lives, they always talk about how they wished they had met them sooner. I never knew what anyone meant by this — till I met the Innersense Organic Beauty foam dry shampoo.

Sure, it won't keep me warm on lonely nights, but at least I'm falling asleep knowing I'll wake up with perfect hair. Furthermore, the brand story is one I fell in love with the second I met founder Joanne Starkman. The love story begins with her and her husband, Greg Starkman, founding the brand out of a desire to create a non-toxic, effective beauty regime for her daughter, Morgan, who was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome at 22 months-old — something that had yet to exist in the market.

Perhaps one of the biggest champions of the Innersense Organic Beauty story (beyond its conception into some of my favorite things to douse my tresses in) is Beauty Artistic Director Alejandra Martinez. Since the moment she's started at the company, the already-embedded values of inclusivity have come to the forefront: under her, Black, indigenous, people of color, and disabled communities are represented with powerful, infectious beauty.

What is the story you hope to tell with Innersense Organic Beauty?

Our story is all about love: Innersense Organic Beauty cares about YOU! Our organic hair care will work for YOU, regardless of hair texture or type, and we value our relationships with the salons and stylists we partner with.

What has been your biggest challenge and highlight as an entrepreneur?

My biggest challenge is narrowing down my ideas. I am a wild and fearless dreamer and that has pushed me through obstacles, even when I didn't view them as obstacles at the time.

How much does coming from a marginalized community play in to your work?

Every day I get to show others what living your dream looks like! This in itself shows other Black and Brown girls they can do it, too! I'm very aware of our marginalized community and my heart will always rule my actions because of what I saw growing up.

I love speaking at career days in high schools because if there's one message that I want to share with our young people, it's that college is not the only option or path you need to take to have a successful future!

I promote living a life where you can earn your money based on your talents and what you choose to invest time on.

If you're a quiet person like I was in high school, the beauty industry is amazing because it's rooted in one on one relationships. We have the honor of intimately sharing our lives with our clients, and offering support to those who may not have even expected to feel it in a hair appointment.

How do you feel social media has changed the way you do business?

At the end of the day, I will always be grassroots. I built my entire business off guerrilla marketing and free haircuts. Then word of mouth soared my business into a full clientele within months. I believe it's the love of the work that will bring you the resources that you need.

What advice would you give to entrepreneurs from marginalized communities?

My advice is to write your own story. It all starts with a dream that you support by taking steps towards visualizing and actualizing.

I never dreamed of being an entrepreneur, yet here I am after surrounding myself in very specific environments. I've created a nurturing and healing space for myself and my clients through my vision and dedication.

After cultivating the community support needed to take this leap of faith, I've opened a multi-use space for artists, yoga, healers, and my beloved hairdressers.

What can we expect from the future of Innersense Organic Beauty?

For many of you who already know and love the brand, inclusivity has always been at the heart of Innersense Organic Beauty. But now, more than ever, we are taking a stand to make sure people who are underrepresented are seen.

We want to make sure Black, indigineous, and people of color are represented within our community, as well as our full-figured, disabled, and special needs brothers and sisters.

You can also expect a reignited focus on growing our team of educators and platform artists, and a team for runway shows!

We want to be a resource for how to care and style hair without using the traditional harmful products that the members of our industry have unfortunately had to use in the past. Most organic brands are unable to keep up with the needs of the hairdresser.

Innersense Organic Beauty is made by hairdressers for hairdressers.

That's huge!!

Rapid Fire

What are your favorite accounts to follow on social media?

@themonacut has changed the way I look at texture and silhouettes

@curlsbysunflowersandscissors is a wonderful resource for all hair textures, but I specifically value the coily hair tutorials!

@andy_doesyourhair creates looks that are gender-fluid and creative.

@brazilianstylist because her work is flawless and inspiring, and tutorials are FIRE!

To what one characteristic of yours do you attribute your success?

My open-mindedness

Tell us a book you'd recommend.

All About Love by Bell Hooks

What charities do you support?

@DrinkingGourdFarms is building a movement of Black gardeners, farmers, and homesteaders in Phoenix. To free us, we must feed us. And @puente.az a human rights movement in my community.

What is the item in your closet you wear the most?

I have so many currently! I've been throwing on this one long skirt that has the most brightly colored strips. The shapes of the stripes paired with brown diamonds remind me of Mexico.

What is the one haircare product you can't live without?

Color Radiance Daily Conditioner, because I feel like when my hair is hydrated, it doesn't need anything else in the form of stylers. This conditioner nourishes my hair so well, I simply hand-style and go!

What is on your nightstand?

My alocasia plant with four new baby leaves sprouting, a vase with fragrant flowers, a big Citrine crystal, and my journal.

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