Josefina Bonsundy Nvumba   16 August 2019

A portrait of a founder of Krowned Christiane Sungu wearing a white blazer, orange head scarf and hoop earrings

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.”

Christiane Sungu and Lucrece Legacy sitting indoors next to each other dressed in headscarfs and black and white outfits“A

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.

Christiane Sungu and Lucrese Legacy on a beuaty pageant Congolese beauty in the United Kingdom

Credit: Dudu Images

Who inspired you and how?

My inspirations are the hardworking women I come across all the time in my personal life, in the media, and online. It’s so easy to become discouraged in life and allow negativity to consume you. But then you look around and see so many women making moves, making changes, being their authentic selves and winning against the negativity. So, I think to myself, if they can do it, so can I! Let all us women make it to the top, together.

What challenges did you face in setting up your business?

The greatest challenge in creating Krowned was the transition of the idea to the execution. It was a lot harder than I imagined.

We overcame these barriers by simply talking to others about what we had in mind, getting feedback and asking for advice. I also went to tons of business events and workshops and spoke with business advisors and mentors. That’s what helped us to get on the right path.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t get too stuck down in the ordinary stuff. Be extraordinary. Life is for living.

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This story has been brought to you by WorldRemit in partnership with Rootencial. Rootencial is a social initiative celebrating the roots and potential of African and African diaspora communities, while also aiming to create opportunities for them.

We at WorldRemit have decided to give a shout out to beautiful natural hair. Read the full article here. Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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