Many young African-American girls go through the daily morning ritual of getting their hair done in a cute, age appropriate hairstyle adorned with barrettes and hair bows. At the end of a long school day and an intense recess, a girl’s hair is disheveled and contains fewer barrettes than before. However, an 8-year-old and her mother came up with the perfect solution to this all too common problem.
“My mom would spend a lot of time fixing my hair in the mornings and I would go outside and play outside and just lose all my barrettes then come back with no barrettes at all,” Gabrielle Goodwin told WISTV.
Gabrielle’s mother Rozalynn Goodwin had the idea to create a barrette after a Twitter rant where she complained about purchasing numerous barrettes that aren’t efficient and of constantly losing them. Her frustration yielded an unexpected response from her pastor— “Sounds like a market you need to break into.”
The journey to a much-needed invention started four years ago.
“I approached it at first as a science project. We’d lay out barrettes on the kitchen table and study the features that worked,” Goodwin told the Washington Post.
Together, Goodwin and her daughter, Gabby, invented the Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette. The barrette contains teeth and craters on both sides that trap the hair, securing it in place. According to the Washington Post, Goodwin wasn’t looking to start a business but wanted to sell the design. After approaching a major company that set up a focus group to assess the idea, the company declined to move forward. Not settling, she asked if the company could help her make one bow.
“I can show my daughter that anything is impossible.” Goodwin said.
The barrettes come in two different styles that were hand-drawn by Gabrielle— the “Little Lady” is shaped like a ladybug and the “Sweet Pea” is shaped like a sweet pea flower. To date, Gabby Bows is sold in 91 stores, 32 states and five countries.
“At that point, we had invested so much and I’ve always wanted my daughter to believe she could do anything,” Goodwin told the Augusta Chronicle. “I couldn’t communicate, as her mom, giving up on her dream.”
Gabby says the best part of owning her own business is getting to travel and her play dates. The 8-year-old entrepreneur hosts events that allow the Goodwins to promote anti-bullying and sponsor a children’s shelter, inviting the children to play and the community to bring a wish list item for the shelter.
“I have friends at school, and I can think of what it would be like to not have friends. We should all be nice to one another,” Goodwin told Midlands Biz. “The thing I like best about having my own business is traveling. I’ve been to Augusta [and] Chicago… it’s a lot of fun to show the barrettes and meet new people.”