FEMME NOIRE is a haircare line that HBO’s Insecure’s producer and lead actress, Issa Rae, named as her #2 Black-owned business to shop within her 10 Black-Owned Business Shopping Guide in Essence Magazine last year.
The CEO, Nadja Renise, believes Black women can feel confident growing and flaunting their curly hair, and she named the company FEMME NOIRE because it means "Black woman" in French. Her products honor our “HAIRitage” without compromising our health. Nadja hand selects plant-based ingredients that don’t damage our bodies because too many products are linked to cancer. FEMME NOIRE products are natural, cruelty-free, vegan, PETA certified, and free from sulfates, parabens, mineral oil, paraffin (petroleum) silicones, DEA, glutens, and phthalates.
Nadja’s goal is to help women look and feel confident and sexy from the boardroom to the bedroom. She also believes in paying it forward by reserving a portion of our profits to donate to women’s empowerment charities. They also donate clothes, blankets, and beauty products to local women’s shelters and organizations, and they sponsor women so that they can provide for their families. Some organizations FEMME NOIRE supports are Women For Women and Equality Now.
Next month Nadja and FEMME NOIRE are hosting the 1 Inch X 1 Month Growth Challenge for hair growth. Learn more about the brand, challenge, and Nadja below.
Fancy: How would you describe your swagher? What makes Nadja, Nadja?
Nadja: I’m a quiet storm. On the surface, I’m reserved, and I mind my business, and that’s true, but I’m also passionate and learning to be more vulnerable. I’ve spent years hiding behind the quiet side because it’s safe. I’m learning to lean into the storm and feel comfortable showing that side too. I feel that way with fashion and hair also. I love a classic black or hairstyle (aka a safe look), but I bring in the storm by adding a peek of skin or a pop of color.
Fancy: I read that you were a marketing major. How did you get into the beauty industry?
Nadja: Since I was a child, people have complimented my hair, so it’s become part of my identity. I’ve lost my hair three different times for three various reasons, and every time it was traumatic. When I lost my hair, it killed my confidence. I needed something that would regrow my hair fast and boost my confidence. I needed to feel something besides ugly and bald-headed. So I created products that restored my hair and made me feel sexy at the same time—boom- instant confidence booster. Hair is what I love and how I help Black women, and I’m able to use my marketing training and apply it to my business. So nothing is lost; everything I’ve done comes full circle to support my journey.
Fancy: So tell us about your hair care line, Femme Noire.
Nadja: FEMME NOIRE is home of the Sexiest Natural Hair Products Ever! We help Black women with kinky hair grow, moisturize and love their curls using products that work.
Fancy: What do you think makes your Femme Noire products sexy?
Nadja: My products use cocoa butter and smell like chocolate. Not only is it good for our hair, but the chocolate fragrance is an aphrodisiac. Having chocolate skin and smelling chocolate make women feel yummy. I like to keep it fun and flirty when it comes to naming my products. I use wordplay to shift how we talk about Black hair. So I embrace the word kinky as it relates to our hair and as being a sexy woman. From that, I get names like Knotty Nectar or Glowjob.
Fancy: What Femme Noire products do you use on your own hair regularly?
Nadja: All of them. Seriously, I stand by the products. I wouldn’t be able to sell anything that I didn’t use myself. However, if I have to pick favorites, it’s the Flower Bomb Rapid Rejuvenation Oil and Sweet Cream Moisturizer. I use them the most.
Fancy: What inspired the 1 Inch X 1 Month Growth Challenge?
Nadja: Honestly, I got frustrated with how companies and stylists were misleading us. I’d talk to women at hair shows, family, friends, and even strangers on the street, and I kept hearing the same thing from them, “I can’t grow my hair.” The things they were doing to grow their hair were the exact things keeping their hair from growing.
I decided to help as many women as I can unlearn the bad hair habits they have so they can reach their hair goals. People think Black women can’t grow their hair long, and that’s not true. With this challenge, we’re going to show the world we got them inches!
Fancy: How will this challenge differ from your last one?
Nadja: I’ve revamped this challenge making it more fun and interactive, and I brought in several guest speakers. This challenge is about hair, but it’s also a mind, body, and soul experience. For Black women, hair is more than just hair. It’s tied to who we are, our values, confidence, and lifestyle choices. In this challenge, we’re adding length and fullness, but we’re also shifting mindsets, releasing baggage, and throwing a lil slow twerk in there too. It’s a safe place for women to show up and grow together.
Fancy: What other types of activities will take place during the challenge?
Nadja: We’ll be creating affirmations, meal plans, dancing, talking with a Black woman physician who focuses on health and beauty, meditating, and celebrating ourselves.
Fancy: Who might be a good participant, and how can they participate?
Nadja: This challenge is for naturalistas—women with kinky coily curly type 3 and type 4 hair, women who are busy moms and don’t have a lot of time to spend on their hair and/or are tired of wearing wigs or weaves to cover bald spots.
We welcome women who are newly natural and just big chopped to women who have been natural and even women who are seconds away from going back to the relaxer. Give us 30 days, and we’ll show you longer, healthier, stronger hair.
Connect with Nadja and Femme Noire below.
Francheska “Fancy” Felder is a quiet Southern, media mogul in the making. In 2010, she launched SwagHer Magazine, an empowerment and lifestyle publication for the progressive Black community.
Fancy’s passion for all things creative combined with her love for writing, Black culture, and business guided her to also offer her public relations, creative, and branding services, making the magazine more of a media boutique having its own subscription clients as well as advertisers, hence why the name changed to SwagHer Magazine & Media.
SwagHer Magazine uses positive media and storytelling to create new narratives and mindsets around Black people, their communities, and the businesses and organizations they lead. Fancy executes campaigns for Black women-led businesses, coaches, authors, and girl bosses so that they receive more visibility and establish themselves as an authority.
The Mississippi native is also one half of Theories & Thoughts Podcast, a discussion-driven show that tackles Black issues and taboo subjects with a kitchen table talk feel, which she hosts with Arnya T.M. Davis. The two also co-produce and host Theories & Thoughts Deep Dive, a millennial talk show.
The former teen mom graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College with her associate’s in marketing management and studied mass communications with a focus in public relations from Southern University A&M College.