"Everything For Redheads"
Recently I was delighted to discover a new website for redheads called Everything For Redheads. Co-founded by this lovely redhead mother-daughter team, Jennifer and Jessica, their website is described as a community and ecommerce site "by redheads, for redheads and those who love redheads."
Frustrated by their inability to find good beauty products for redheads in their own 'Ginger Nation' of Britain, they decided to search for suppliers and products on their own. They also realized other redheads probably were struggling with the same frustrations -- and thus the website!
Based in the United Kingdom, their website's mission is to "to make a website that gives Redheads what they want. Whether you’ve been a Redhead since birth or a Redhead by choice we have a number of products such as redhead shampoo & conditioners, cosmetics and much more!"
I'm so pleased that Jenn and Jess agreed to the interview and let me 'pick their brains' and find out more about their lives as redheads...
SO, pull up a comfortable chair and let's get on with the questions!
1) Hello Jessica and Jennifer and thanks for taking time to share with us! Please tell us a little bit about your family.
JENNIFER -- Hi Deb, I'm Jennifer - usually known as Jen! I am married and live in Yorkshire, in the north of England with my husband Graham and an ancient Irish setter dog (he is red-haired too). I have a brother, Alex, 4 years older than me and he used to be very dark when he was young - he is white now! I was born with lots of ginger hair and it has always been curly and thick. My parents were thrilled to have a ginger girl so I had a positive start. I grew my hair long in my teens and it has become my trademark.
JESSICA -- I am unmarried and living in a small town in Yorkshire, not far from Mum. I would love a pet some day, but don’t feel it would be fair with the amount of time I spend at home. I also have a sister, who is traveling at the moment, but we hope to have her home to stay soon. She is actually a brunette like my father and I have inherited my Mum’s hair colour, but hers is curly and mine is more like my Dad’s – slightly wavy.
2) Where did you grow up?
JEN -- I grew up in Heanor, Derbyshire, a mining town in the midlands - it was quite a depressed area but I had a happy childhood with great parenting. Later, in my early twenties I moved to Market Harborough, Leicestershire, where I lived for 27 years and married and had my 2 daughters. I moved here to Yorkshire 4 years ago when I remarried
JESS -- I grew up in the midlands in a town called Market Harborough, and I really enjoy going back to visit. I think my childhood there was quite idyllic looking back, and I’m grateful for the start I got in life.
3) Jessica had mentioned to me there’s always been a redhead parent somewhere in the last few generations of your family. So...was your own red hair a big surprise at birth? What’s your family’s heritage?
JEN -- My father had red hair and was thrilled that I did too. His family had red hair running through it in previous generations and I also have a cousin with red hair. When I was pregnant with Jessica I assumed that I would have a red-haired child, so I was not surprised at all. I was happy. However, when I had my second daughter, Julia, I was indeed surprised that she wasn't a redhead and actually was very concerned that she could get mixed up with the other babies in the nursery! It had never crossed my mind with Jessica and her red hair as there wasn't another baby in the hospital like her.
JESS -- We have only traced back our heritage as far as Sheffield, in the North of England. So although if we go far enough back we might find Gaelic or Viking roots explaining our red hair, we haven’t found any evidence in historical records.
4) As you know, redheads worldwide deal with the stereotypes (good and bad) about their temperament [See my "Stereotypes" page]. Do you believe redheads really do have a different temperament?
JEN -- I am a strong woman and I believe that this is mostly because of the self-belief that my parents gave to me. I stand up for what is right and that can be interpreted as being 'feisty'. I have had to defend myself against ridicule merely for having ginger hair so that might have shaped my reactive nature somewhat. I suppose it could be the same for other redheads?
JESS -- I think being picked on at school or generally being marginalised for centuries would cause a temperament change in most people. Maybe it’s a chicken and egg situation: do you learn to be strong and stand up for yourself because you are a redhead, or are you born that way? I would lean more towards the nurture theory on this one.
5) Teasing is another big issue for redheads, especially growing up. Did you experience this yourselves? If so, how did this affect your self-image?
JEN -- I love my red hair and would be a different person without it. I was bullied and picked upon a lot between 11 and 15. It was nasty, vindictive and senseless. It made me feel different from my contemporaries, at first in a bad way but later more positively. It taught me a lot. For me it was worth it!
JESS -- Yes I did, but I have to admit it wasn’t as awful as I have heard some people experience. The thing that I found difficult about it was that it seemed to be so many, unconnected people shouting at me randomly, that I was left feeling there must be something wrong with me. I feel that if it were less people then I could more easily blame the nasty comments on one person’s upbringing or their own faults as a person. It certainly affected my self-esteem growing up, and to some extent now as well, but I’m proud of my hair and colouring now and would like to think that pride has compensated for any emotional wounds.
6) Can you share a bit of advice for other redheads, especially the younger people out there, on how to deal with the bullying/teasing?
JEN -- Don't let other people make your life a misery. I felt very unhappy sometimes and didn't want to go to school. It is always worth trying to laugh and be happy around bullies - don't be a victim. Seek the company of good people and stick with them. Bullies don't like to be outnumbered or challenged. Being bullied is a hellish, miserable experience and is sometimes inevitable. Bullies are inadequate sad, sad people who single out redheads to ridicule so that they can feel important and powerful. It's a sickness. You must remember that you are not alone and certainly not the only one being bullied and if you can stay strong and maintain your self-belief then in time, it will pass.
JESS -- I noticed that there were other redheads in my year at school who didn’t seem to get picked on, and I recognise now that bullies only really like to pick on an easy target. It takes a weak person to feel powerful by making someone else feel bad about themselves, and they don’t really pick on someone who is strong and confident in themselves; it’s no fun for them. So I would say; try not to react when a bully starts on you, their opinion of you is irrelevant, even IF it were true. Bullies seem to enjoy you fighting back as much as they do when you’re scared, so don’t think that matching their aggression with aggression will help. Bullying isn't something that only happens in the playground -- it happens at home, at work, in college and university but it looks a little different. So knowing how to avoid being a victim is a great life skill to gain.
7) What’s the worst thing about being a redhead?
and... What’s the best thing?
The worst - I don't do the sun at all - it's annoying, but I am used to it now. Luckily my husband isn't that keen either. I just seek out the shade and sun block up. It never stops me going somewhere. I recently visited Cambodia in their summer and although I struggled with the terrible heat I never got burnt.
The best - Being so different is the best thing. I have hair that can't be styled and so I just let my free flag fly. It identifies me completely and although I have never been beautiful - I believe that my hair has!
The worst - I still find it a challenge when my friends want to go out and enjoy the sun, want to go on holidays that involve laying in the sun or playing out in it. I just don’t feel comfortable. I’m constantly worried about having missed somewhere with my sunblock and I get headaches if I get too much sunlight in my eyes. I realise this makes me sound like such a wimp to anyone who hasn’t experienced exactly the same thing. It’s a shame whenever a friend has excitedly asked me if I’d like to go on a beach holiday in Europe, and it just sounds like hell to me.
The best – I love walking into a room and knowing I stand out from the crowd and am memorable because of my hair.
8) What helps you balance your personal and professional lives...to keep priorities straight in a busy world?
JEN -- The trick is to run your business and not let it run you. If you do something that you enjoy it's no chore anyway. Fulfillment from your work makes everything balance out in the end. Try to make some time for yourself to relax.
JESS -- Well I’m not sure I have this one sorted yet – but I’d say you can feel when you’re unbalanced, whether you manage to do anything about it is another thing. I do find that time with good friends and family does help me to feel better when I am under strain and stress, and I can go back to work feeling refreshed.
9) On your web site you cover a variety of topics pertaining to redheads including makeup and hair care products. How do you decide which products to list on the site? Are these products suggested by readers and/or used by you personally?
BOTH -- We listened to other redheads although we had a good idea what was needed from the start - we had the best qualification, being redheads ourselves. It was fun testing the products and we love 'everything for redheads ' shampoos and conditioners and the temporary colour mousse.
10) Your web site currently targets specifically the European community, but the products and topics also apply redheads everywhere. What are your future plans and goals for your website?
BOTH -- We will go wherever there is a demand for our products. We have started in the UK - it's market we know, but we would be more than happy to sell abroad.......'THE END'......
Again, thanks to Jenn and Jess! I enjoyed learning more about them and why they began their website, the great advice, how they struggled with teasing and self-esteem, and life as a redhead in general. As a mom of 2 redheads myself, I admit I've sometimes wished I also had that gorgeous red hair. I think they are just stunning! Well, I do wish them the best of success.
(Photos used by kind permission)
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Jennifer and Jessica. I'd be happy to post your comments below, if appropriate!
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