Nichole Ashley Moss opened her own beauty supply store, Soulful Strands after her strife of driving over 80 miles to purchase Black hair care products.

As Here Is Oregon reported, the California native and her family moved to Corvallis, Oregon several years ago after she lived there for a year. Upon her arrival, she quickly noticed that many Black Americans weren’t living in the area. According to the 2023 World Population Review, only 1.39% of the 60,991 residents are part of the Black community. Due to the lack of people of color, there aren’t many businesses that cater to the needs of her people, especially when natural hair care is the focus. This caused her to launch a Facebook group in 2017 after wanting to stay connected to the Black people she had run-ins with.

When she and her husband would take trips to Portland, nearly an hour and a half away driving, the entrepreneur would stock up on hair care items because a beauty supply store near her residence didn’t exist. Moss would normally spend up to hundreds of dollars since the pair didn’t travel often to the city.

“I went to Portland and spent $400 at Mid-K Beauty, because we have to stock up when we go out there; there’s nothing like this inward, nearby,” Moss said in an interview with Here Is Oregon.

This frustrated Moss so much that her husband told her to look into opening a beauty supply near their home. Her partner’s suggestion sparked her interest since she was a recent graduate who earned her business degree and was looking to launch her own company at the time. So, Soulful Strands, named by her son, was her way of filling in the obvious gap between the beauty services her town provided and locals with textured hair.


Though it was an uphill battle for her to secure a business loan, Moss opened the doors of Soulful Strands on Nov. 11. Although it’s not located in the area she originally hoped for or is the size she wanted, she’s happy where the store landed. It’s located downtown across from a braiding shop in a college town that has a variety of people included in their Black community.

“Obviously there is a college here, and there’s a lot of Black students here. We have a lot of African people and mixed-race people here,’ Moss said.

She sells vast options of hair extensions, conditioners, accessories and other products often used by Black women.

“For many years, Black people have not liked their hair; we’ve been told to straighten our hair and make it more presentable,” she said. “Your hair is like a plant. You got to water it, and if you don’t, it’ll die, like a plant. It’s causing me to learn a lot more working here.”

Moss has plans to eventually move into a new affordable storefront that has more room so she can offer more items like makeup and beauty products, fashion accessories, African prints and more.

“I want my whole shop to be a one-stop shop,” she said.