New Natural-ish salon opens in Detroit with focus on natural hair care, beauty supplies

At a new small business in Detroit’s University District neighborhood, you can get your natural hair done, a protective hairstyle like braids or twists or restock your favorite beauty supplies.

The business, called Natural-ish, celebrated its grand opening at 6375 W. 7 Mile Road in Detroit on Wednesday, nearly two years after owner Aquila Peeples started working on it.

“I just wanted to make sure that it was somewhere that people will come to, so this is the area I feel like people will come to,” said Peeples. “I want to make sure people will know that we’re here.”

(L to R) Andrew Lucco, the director of Motor City Match, Thomaesa Bailey, chief of staff for Detroit City Council member Angela Whitfield Calloway, Kim Tandy, Aquila Peeples, owner of Natural-ish, Deputy Mayor of Detroit Todd Bettison and Sean Gray, the vice president of small business services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation during the ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the hair salon in Detroit on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

First-time customers of Natural-ish will receive a $50 voucher for services and a $20 coupon for online purchases for a limited time.

Why here and why now?

Black women often use hair relaxers to straighten their hair but that can create hair loss or other problems, which became part of the reason why Peeples wanted to start her salon. After using hair relaxers and other chemicals herself, Peeples experienced her own hair loss, she said in a news release. The news release said she looks at her work as an extension of the mission of the CROWN Act, which prohibits race-based hair discrimination in Michigan.

The salon’s opening was supported with a $65,000 cash grant from the Motor City Match program, which is a partnership between the city of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, the Economic Development Corporation and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Natural-ish was a round 21 cash awardee and is now the 151st business that has opened with support from Motor City Match. 

City officials, DEGC representatives and small business owners joined Peeples for her grand opening event.

Sean Gray, vice president of small business services at the DEGC, said in his grand opening remarks that businesses like this help people to “embrace who they are.” 

Aquila Peeples, the owner of Natural-ish, a Motor City Match business winner that is a natural hair salon and beauty supply store on 7 Mile Road in Detroit, talks with the media and others gathered at her store during a ribbon cutting on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

“We’re really excited for this business, in particular because it’s so important to be a part of giving people a sense of dignity, a sense of self-worth,” said Gray.

Peeples is not new to renovation and said that she renovated her own home and increased its property value. The salon reflects her renovation knowledge. When she first walked into her empty building, she said she could envision the green walls throughout the space, the chairs lining the back wall and the shelving that displays the products. The beauty supply store focuses on selling healthy and environmentally-friendly products, including Mielle and Design Essentials.

A look at the front of Natural-ish, a natural hair salon and beauty supply store owned by Aquila Peeples, a Motor City Match business winner on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

“I wanted to have it where people understood that we are focusing on improving health,” Peeples said. “Not just making people look good. We want to improve it.”

“Even with the hair — it’s not just any braiding hair,” she said about the products and hair used in the process. “It’s non-toxic. We made sure it was copper-infused, so you don’t have to deal with the negatives of just getting your braids done.”

In the back of the business is the salon, which will focus on natural hairstyles, like a wash-and-go for about $100; protective styles, such as braids and twists; and hair loss restoration, for people experiencing alopecia or scalp disorders. Peeples, who is also a trichologist who has studied problems of hair and scalp, sells products that work toward hair growth. Hair consultations with a holistic doctor are also available.

Some of the hair for sale at Natural-ish, a Motor City Match business winner owned by Aquila Peeples, on Wednesday, August 16, 2023.

Natural-ish will eventually grow to hire 10 to 12 employees and the salon will also host training for residents to become certified natural hair care specialists.

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Contact staff writer Chanel Stitt on Instagram at @bychanelstitt.

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