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Uncle Funky’s Daughter vs. Hello Curly: What’s Really Going On Behind this Popular Natural Hair Care Brand?

Avatar • Sep 5, 2014

by Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl

 

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Sometime ago, I wrote about the annoyance of natural hair companies changing their ingredients, and named Uncle Funky’s Daughter (UFD) as an example of changing a cult product and upsetting several curly girls. However, the original UFD Curly Magic returned in the form of Hello Curly’s (HC) Curl Stimulator and faithful users flocked to the newly designed site to snatch up their old favorite.

Then…something kind of strange happened. On UFD’s Facebook page, they announced that they were bringing back the original Curly Magic and that they had the rights to the formula. Confusion ensued. This announcement, meant to excite consumers, only brought more questions. How could UFD hold the rights to the formula while HC claimed to own the rights? If they retained the rights to the formula, why did they change in the first place? Why didn’t the new owners introduce themselves sooner (it seems as if they only did after I specifically asked who they were on their Facebook page)? I, among others, didn’t know what to make of this. I had several people even contact me to see if I knew what was going on.

 

UFD Comment 2_natural_hair

 

UFD Comment_natural_hair

 

Well, I did some research and got some answers (kind of). I was fortunate enough to speak with Tonya Goff, HC’s owner, about the potentially brewing conflict. Of course, this is only one side of the story, as I was not able to speak with UFD.

Tonya, who let me know that the original formula to the curl stimulator gel is not patented, made it clear that she does not want to be compared with UFD or their formula. However, it’s quite common in the marketplace for one company to analyze the formula of another product and attempt to copy it. Kind of like when you go into Sally Beauty Supply and see their GVP brand, which mimics products from Paul Mitchell, CHI, Clairol, and more, for a discounted price. Do they perform exactly the same? Usually not, but the ingredients lists are nearly identical.

However, Tonya doesn’t see this as something negative or deceitful (I may beg to differ as a consumer if UFD does not have the old formula). She said, “If there’s anything I can do to bless anyone if they want to start something on their own, I send them blessings, and if it’s for you [the consumer], then that’s good. It’s all about energy and I’m willing to share that with anyone. Hello Curly is about the energy of the brand, I remade the product the people wanted and it satisfied a need for them.” Well said. When asked about the formula, she added, “We can’t say which is which – I know she doesn’t have this one but she might have something else.”

I appreciate Tonya’s positivity, but it seems as if the decision to purchase UFD or HC is more of an issue of brand loyalty and using whatever formula works best for you. Personally, I bought the new HC Curl Stimulator and will assess how this product compares to the original formula of Curly Magic. At least I know the quality of that product was undeniable.

UPDATE: Before this article went to print, I was also able to speak with Renee Morris, who is now President of UFD. She likened their ownership of the original curl stimulator formula to the situation regarding Coca Cola changing their formula to “New Coke,” then changing it back after everyone demanded the original flavor. When I asked how the acquisition of UFD would impact this kind of situation (as the original curl stimulator was not the current formula when ownership changed), she assured me that they obtained all of the formulations associated with the brand in the acquisition, even the “archived” versions.

Confused yet? You’re not alone. Honestly, I am now uncertain as to whether I want to support either company further, because something doesn’t sound right. But, as mentioned above, it the product works for you, it works, whatever formulation it truly is.

 

Have you bought Hello Curly’s new Curl Stimulator? Will you purchase the revamped Uncle Funky’s Daughter Curly Magic? How do you feel about the transparency (or lack thereof) of natural hair companies?

Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.

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JoiGirl
JoiGirl
6 years ago

I have tried the new Hello Curly gel. I never tried UFD, but the HC gel elongates, defines and maintains moisture extremely well. I will continue to buy it.

It seems strange that the original UFD formula was not patented. Did Renee mention anything about Hello Curly?

Elle
6 years ago
Reply to  JoiGirl

No, I asked her about Hello Curly, but she said that she couldn’t comment what another was doing because she didn’t know.

Grace
Grace
6 years ago

I’m confused, too. So basically the original owners of UFD sold the business. The new owners changed the Curly Magic formula and didn’t get the original owners to sign a non-compete clause. The original owners then started a new line with the old formulas and started selling it while telling the public it was using the original Curly Magic formula. This is sloppy and messy. I bought the Curl Stimulator and I really liked it. Won’t be buying again now after reading this.

Dee*
Dee*
6 years ago
Reply to  Grace

Thanks for the lesson 🙂

Grace
Grace
6 years ago
Reply to  Dee*

Sorry. It was really more of a question to confirm my understanding even though I didn’t put aNY question marks.

Grace
Grace
6 years ago
Reply to  Grace

I take my comments back now knowing this was the result of a divorce settlement. The Curl Stimulator worked well for my hair. I will buy it again.

Stacy Hardy
Stacy Hardy
6 years ago

The original owners of UFD had to sell due to a bitter divorce. I love UFD’s original formula which is the same exact ingredients in HC. If UFD will be marketing the original UFD as well as HC, then for me, it will come down to costs.

Grace
Grace
6 years ago
Reply to  Stacy Hardy

Now that makes more sense. I will continue to support HC knowing this. Thanks for the info.

naturally Tee
naturally Tee
6 years ago

was this the company that the woman was forced to sell in a divorce settlement and she then went to start a new company? or is this someone else

sherrybaby
sherrybaby
6 years ago
Reply to  naturally Tee

yup, that’s her.

T.
T.
6 years ago

I recall that sometime back Tonya Goff wrote a comment responding to a question about the changes in UFD explaining that she had sold the company, against her wishes, as part of the process of dividing up assets after her divorce. And then she started over again as Hello Curly. I don’t know what’s going on with the new UFD, but it seems to me that Hello Curly is the best bet if you liked the old UFD products. I’m sure that Ms. Goff spent a lot of time and effort and passion building up UFD and increasing its profile… Read more »

curious
curious
6 years ago
Reply to  T.

I would support the original especially since she was forced to sell her own company cause of her shady ex husband in a divorce trying to get half of her coins :sigh:. I just hate stuff like that and for the new owner to proclaim that she has the rights to the original girl please

reese
reese
6 years ago

I heard at my natural hair meetup on last Sunday here in MD that the owners of Uncle Funky’s Daughter and her husband/business partner got a divorce and the company got caught in the middle. I liked Curl Stimulator and hope it works out for the now past owners on a personal and professional note.

ManestreamBeauty
6 years ago

This is incredibly unfortunate. The problem is a percentage of UFD customers will not know that the founder/creator was forced to sell the brand and has started a competing brand. Those not in the know will think Hello Curly is a sister brand, or worse, a copycat. I just checked both websites and they are both using images of the same models with the same hairstyles, which further confuses customers. It must be difficult to start and grow a successful business and have it taken away from you, but from a branding standpoint Hello Curly should have a completely new… Read more »

Elle
Elle
6 years ago

Thanks for the article! A straight answer from corporations (‘people’ according to Romney & SCOTUS) is too much to ask for. Good luck to Ms. Goff — and protect your assets everyone! And no, I don’t like the lack of transparency in MANY companies. Particularly oil distributors labeling specially colored and fragranced soybean and CANOLA oil as EVOO, avocado, coconut oil, shea butter, palm glycerin — and then selling it to wholesalers and retailers who MAY not know the difference. They in turn include it in every beauty product and foodstuff on earth. How do I know my hair ‘hates’ coconut… Read more »

heynow
heynow
6 years ago

Why Elle so confused? I thought she was the one who posted about the divorce. If the person created the product with UFD then had to start a new company she still had the original recipe so did her husband. So as long as the consumer knows what those ingredients are that made the original good does it matter which company is selling it? Now this other woman who is now an owner of UFD is probably literally the other woman ie reason for the bitter divorce.

Carlee
Carlee
6 years ago

That situation is really weird. I personally don’t support UFD, even before it was sold. I went to the salon and had pretty terrible customer service. They hade a policy where you must pay FULL PRICE at the time you schedule your appointment, BEFORE YOU GET SERVICE. If you had to reschedule, they DIDN’T give you a refund. One day, I had to reschedule an appointment, but I hadn’t paid yet because I was a regular client, so they made a bit of an exception. Yet, I was to pay on the day of the appointment, still before I received… Read more »

Carlee
Carlee
6 years ago
Reply to  Carlee

By the way, I do think those previous UFD policies were absurd. Know what happens when I reschedule at my current salon–James Brown Hair in Philly(AMAZING, especially James)? They say, “Okay” and send me an email to confirm and have to record. My stylist is has such great client retention that he CAN“T TAKE NEW CLIENTS! You have to book like two maybe three months in advance to get to him, but now he has so many clients he can’t take new ones anymore in his schedule. That is how you have customer retention. Plus you let your skills and… Read more »

Earth218
Earth218
6 years ago
Reply to  Carlee

I too had a bad experience at the salon. Tonya was very unpleasant, rude and just had a poor attitude all around. I had gone in to get my hair done while I was pregnant and she made rude comments about my hair. On the other hand, the husband was always very kind, polite and we held very pleasant conversations every time I visited the boutique. He was the only reason I continued to patronize the business, he was knowledgeable of the products and was helpful in selecting garments. I did stop patronizing the business some time ago as well.

Angela
Angela
6 years ago

Like many of you I am confused. I also felt deceived. I had to contact their attorney just to get my products. I do not like the new formula of UFD. I have not tried Hello Curly. I am waiting to see if Tonya offer any specials for the Christmas season. I saw awesome reviews about the customer service and delivery being speedy. Time will tell who will hold up.

Tvshouze
6 years ago

Update: Hello Curly has announced on Facebook that she will sell all of her remaining inventory by October 31, 2014 and close her doors to persue other endeavors. If you like the product you may want to stock up.

HelloCurlyFan
HelloCurlyFan
5 years ago

The “original” curl simulator was the very best and had a huge following. When a company like UFD changes the ingredients to make more profit, it deceives customers big time. It was wonderful that Hello Curly sold off the original inventory because it would have been a tragedy to have it go to waste. On the otherhand, the new UFD curl simulator is an awful product and I feel ripped off to have invested in a product that went into the trash (the company was NOT transparent about the changes to the product) Thankfully I stockpiled Hello Curly. So with Hello Curly… Read more »

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