A Willimantic mother is making her small business dreams come true, in part, from a kitchen in Hartford.
Lizbeth Marquez began Locks of Liz in 2019, and has big dreams for the Connecticut based hair care line.
“Locks of Liz is a haircare brand that caters to natural curls, kinks and waves. We do that by offering plant-based products that are all-natural, handcrafted,” she said.
The Willimantic mom decided to take the leap and start her own hair care line while transitioning to wearing her own natural curls and while working with cancer patients as a medical assistant.
“I started creating formulas. I had lots of patients asking me about my hair and I just felt inspired helping them find something natural that wasn’t using any chemicals because they were already getting the ravaging effects of that. So I came up with Locks of Liz,” Marquez explained.
Starting a business as a woman of color in a largely male and corporate-dominated space was daunting at first. Liz said she wasn’t sure where to begin, but got help from the Women’s Business Development Council.
“As women of color, it is harder for us finding somebody that can really relate to what we’re doing and they really made it feel easier to talk about our brand and why it's important and really try to understand where we’re coming from.”
She’s making her dream reality at Hands On Hartford, a social service organization, which in addition to offering use of a commercial kitchen for local small business owners also provides supportive housing a food pantry and supportive housing for people in need.
"She’s very, very dedicated to her product be very fresh. So having this kitchen to have a fresh product is very important to her. And we want to support her in that. And so far so good with Liz,” said Molly Reynolds, special project coordinator for Hands On Hartford.
In the year since she’s started selling her products, Liz has them for sale in salons in New Haven and Norwich along with an online business.
Her goal now is to grow the brand, expanding her product line and all-natural formula while continuing to be an example that anything is possible for anyone.
“I think a lot of us think we can't really make it, that there’s not a space out there for us. But there definitely is” said Marquez.
To learn more about Locks Of Liz, visit https://www.locksofliz.com/