In conjunction with our launch of BAUCE HAUS, we interviewed black-owned businesses that supported our vision of creating a space where women of color could see their future self-made selves. Continue reading to learn more about Ellen Rucker-Sellers and Ione Rucker, the founders behind Rucker Roots, a natural hair product company specializing in premium products made with natural ingredients.
The business of hair is a billion-dollar industry. What inspired the two of you to get into it and launch Rucker Roots back in 2014, especially given that you had separate busy careers before starting a business together?
Rucker Roots: We started Rucker Roots because we were passionate about providing premium, natural hair care products. Growing up, our mother and grandmother really emphasized taking proper care of our hair without the use of chemicals and we wanted to share some of their teachings with the world.
Both of you have credited your family’s practices of leveraging natural vegetables for hair maintenance as the foundation for Rucker Roots. Can you please explain to us the science behind the root oils that are used for your products and why they specifically work for African-American hair?
Rucker Roots: Our Rucker Roots complex made of ginger, carrot, and turnip root oils is unlike anything in the industry. We don’t have any other competitors that incorporate turnip root oils in their product. Turnip root is excellent for the elasticity of the hair which helps with retaining growth.
In 2015, you two appeared on the show “Love Thy Sister” on WeTV. How did you get approached to do a reality show? What was the impact of having Rucker Roots products featured on the show?
Rucker Roots: We got approached by a producer who happened to be a family friend. We’ve been asked several times to do reality tv and we turned down multiple offers but when we got the opportunity to do our own family show, it was one we couldn’t turn down. The impact of having Rucker Roots featured on the show brought a lot of positive popularity to our product and a great fan base for the products.
What is it like to run a business with your sister? What are the advantages and challenges of the family business?
Rucker Roots: Having a thriving business [as sisters] have been a dream of ours since we were little. We used to create hair concoctions with our mother. So when we got the idea to expand our hair product, it was like a childhood dream come true. The advantages of working in a family business are that you can lean on your family when there are hardships in business. The challenges of working in a family business are that it could be a little tough working together as sisters because sometimes disagreements can turn really personal quickly.
What makes Rucker Roots products so unique? How is Rucker Roots different from other vegan hair products?
Rucker Roots: Rucker Roots is beyond unique from other name brand products. We pride ourselves on being having premium, salon grade products that allow our consumers versatility in the way they style their hair.
Which marketing strategy helped you grow your business the most? Why do you think it has been so successful?
Rucker Roots: We have lots of marketing strategies that helped our business prosper. We use social media and have been fortunate enough to be promoted on Good Morning America twice. I think Rucker Roots has been so successful because we look to God and our family bond for guidance and stay true to our southern roots that run deep in our message.
What is your advice for a young woman who wants to start a hair product line?
Rucker Roots: A lot of people say “I’ll wait when… or when I get this right I’ll….” Our advice is don’t wait for when. Just go for it. We take your failures and successes as learning opportunities to grow.