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Kimmie Stylz, Winner of Alabama Launchpad Competition, A Natural With Hair Care

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Kim Cornner, also known as Kimmie Stylz, won an Alabama Launchpad Award this year. (Stanley Parrish)

By Keisa Sharpe | For The Birmingham Times

Kim Cornner’s gift for styling hair came so easily that she almost missed her calling.

“I had friends tell me that I should do hair, and I was like, ‘Everybody can do that. They were like, ‘Kim, you have a gift.’”

That gift has paid off for Cornner, also known as Kimmie Stylz.

“I’ve been working for myself full-time for eight years now, and it is absolutely a blessing being able to just come back to that which just came easy to me,” said the stylist, who received a $25,000 boost in April, as the winner of a Alabama Launchpad pitch competition.

“It’s a program that lasts about six weeks or so, [during which] you are matched up with advisors and pitch coaches to try to position you to be able to present your company at a different level,” Cornner explained.

Offering safe products that contain natural ingredients for African American hair is the driving force behind the Kimmie Stylz hair care line. (Provided)

The reward is proof that her passion is paying off, she said, adding that she believes she won the pitch competition because of two things — the presentation of her products and her personal story behind the creation of Kimmie Stylz.

“For years, too many Black women have suffered health issues from using harsh and harmful hair care products,” said Cornner. “I have suffered on both ends. One, having my hair damaged from products with unhealthy ingredients, and, two, I received a hysterectomy due to fibroids, which I believe was from using certain chemicals for so long on my hair.”

Her own testimony fuels her enthusiasm for offering safe products that contain natural ingredients for African American hair—and is the driving force behind the Kimmie Stylz hair care line.

“Creating the hair care product line was easy for me because this is what I do every day. I work with many products, and I’ve seen products that didn’t work. I wanted to create something for my clients that worked,” said Cornner, who makes nearly all of her products in her Birmingham home.

It started with her mixing her own products using natural oils “through trial and error” and took time. The Kimmie Stylez product line now has a total of nine items, including shampoos and conditioners, along with Biotin and Tea Tree Scalp Treatment, Aloe Vera Moisturizing Spray, Avocado and Jojoba Anti Breakage Oil, and a Coconut and Olive Oil Curling Cream.

Clients have told others about the products, and that has led to even more business. To keep up with demand, Cornner has a devoted team that includes family—her mother, Wanda Little, daughter, 13-year-old Eva, and son, 8-year-old Zae—to not only help her fulfill orders and but also keep her encouraged.

“They really believe in my product, and I have [their] support,” said Cornner, a 2005 George Washington Carver High School graduate.

Moving to the Magic City

She is originally from Trenton, New Jersey. Her family relocated to Birmingham in 1997, following one of her aunts who moved to Alabama for a job. Because the family was new to the state, they leaned on each other for support—and that closeness is something the stylist values to this day.

“We didn’t know anyone, so that forced us to rely on each other and stay very tight knit. We are very family-oriented, and we always celebrate holidays together. That’s what I love most about my family—how close we are. I believe relocating to Alabama brought us closer,” she said.

While growing up in Trenton, Cornner wanted to be a pediatrician or physician’s assistant. A lack of finances prevented her from choosing that path, but she embarked on another one. She earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Clinical Laboratory Technology from Jefferson State Community College in 2011 and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Walden University in 2019.

Meeting Customers’ Needs

Cornner points to one product her customer’s love: the best-selling No Oooch & Ouch Detangling Serum. She said customers enjoy her service because she takes on their pain point, and this specific detangling product helps with that.

“The biggest issue I’ve seen with styling natural hair is a lot of women were afraid of [hair washing] because they couldn’t get [their hair] or their kids’ hair to detangle,” Cornner said. “I created this serum that, when applied to natural hair, allows the curls to slide apart from one another.”

Customers frequently do a double-take when she puts the product on their hair: “They spin around in the chair, admiring the results, and ask, ‘What did you put on my hair?’” said Cornner, whose customers often confess that her product gives results they’ve never seen before.

Kimmy Stylz is run out of Cornner’s home, which has proven extremely helpful and convenient for the mother of two. “It has been a blessing to have a home-based business and be able to watch my children grow up. … The convenience of it all has really helped, too,” she said.

Cornner cares for all styles of natural hair, including braids, and she specializes in loc hair styles. “I love to teach people about their hair, not just how to style hair but … how to care for their hair. I understand now that hair care really is a lost art,” she said.

To learn more about Kim Cornner and the Kimmy Stylz hair care line, visit https://www.kimmiestylz.com.