A great new piece from strategy and business.
Growing up in one of Rio de Janeiro’s impoverished favelas, Heloísa Helena Assis realized that there was enormous demand for an affordable product that would tame Brazilian women’s unruly curls. In 1993, Assis and her partners — a former nanny, a cabdriver, and a McDonald’s employee — started a business called Beleza Natural (“Natural Beauty”) in the basement of a modest house in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. The company was an immediate success. Beleza Natural was soon scrambling to keep up with demand, unsure of how to pursue strategic growth with limited funding. Now she’s replicating it around the world.
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