Christiane Sungu is an aspiring lawyer, entrepreneur and hair enthusiast. Congolese by birth and raised in England and Belgium, Christiane’s entrepreneurial initiative is an extension of her desire to help people build more confidence. How? As a co-founder of Krowned, she empowers women through haircare and hairstyles!
We spoke with Christiane about the link between hair and self-esteem and found out what inspires her.
Please, tell us about the work you’re doing.
I dream of giving back to the community one way or another. At the moment, I’m working towards becoming a lawyer, but I’m also a hairdresser.
My love for roots, be it cultural or follicles, has led me to set-up a social enterprise, called Krowned, together with Lucrece Legacy. We create online content and organise events and workshops on healthy hair care, hairstyling methods and general confidence-building. Our objective is to bring to the forefront the effect of beauty self-esteem on women’s identity and confidence.
“We aim to empower women through hair to equip them with the confidence to succeed.”
Why women and why hair? Why is Krowned important?
Hair can seem like a trivial topic, but women spend an average of £751 a year on their hair (almost twice as much as men). We all worry about how to style, colour, or wear it.
As black women, we also have the pressure of deciding whether to have “natural” hairstyles or not. The manipulation of our hair can, over time, cause distress or affect our self-confidence. When our hair is treated in the right way, it can give us as an extra spring in our step. Once we look good, we feel good and we act accordingly. Quite simply, our hair can “make or break” our confidence.
How does law link with hair and empowering young women?
When I started my law training, I realised that I have a passion for empowering people. The legal profession empowers people by providing trusted advice, which gives them the confidence to make a sound decision.
Given my love for hair as a hairdresser and building up the self-esteem of young women, that link was always there. Krowned combines these passions by empowering young women through hair.
How has being part of the African diaspora influenced your work?
Krowned exists because Lucrece and I are passionate about our mixed African and European identity.
We met in a beauty pageant – competing to be the face of Congolese beauty in the United Kingdom. We both aimed to represent our roots in the diaspora. And off the back of that, Krowned was born.
Being part of the African diaspora has influenced us a lot, even down to the spelling of our company name ‘Krowned’ with a ‘K’, rather than a ‘C’. We use ‘K’ because we are in fact Kongolese, not Congolese. Our country was known as the Kingdom of Kongo before colonisers adapted the K to a C. That simple change in the way we present our brand is how we remain grounded in our roots.