Our Founder’s Story

My name is Joanne Blake and I am a UK-born entrepreneur and proud single parent of two.

I had the inspiration for Swimscarf in 2014. My blood pressure was at dangerous levels so my doctor recommended I start swimming. As a single mum, and my youngest having Cerebral Palsy, the challenges that come with raising kids were having a huge impact on my health.

On my regular swimming trips, I tried swim caps that were clearly not designed for voluminous hair. They were uncomfortable, tight and made me look bald! What’s more, the water got into my cap and my hair was wet after an hour of swimming.

For women who invest a lot of time, money and pride into our hairstyles, it is important that our hair isn’t damaged by chlorine or water.

It reminded me of why I disliked trips to the pool as a young girl, bringing back memories of my mum painfully hot-combing my hair after swimming. Even as an adult on holiday, I’d long to jump in the pool but avoid it for fear of chlorine damage and having to spend hours restyling my hair afterwards. (I’m sure many black women share similar memories!)

 

When I spoke to my black friends, they all said the same thing. My friends with afros or weaves had to stuff their hair into two caps, one friend said the latex rubbed off her edges.

I suddenly thought about the effect this was having on the health of black women. Genetically, those with darker skin are more likely to have high blood pressure and heart disease. This was a huge barrier to helping women manage these health issues. Why should black women avoid the pool because of the lack of inclusive swim caps?

I decided to make my own cap. One that kept hair dry and chlorine free without compromising on style. A unique silicone headscarf, it’s easy to use, fits various voluminous hairdos and comes in five colours.

I am proud to say it is the first inclusive swimming headscarf with black women in mind. I want to get women of all hair types and skin colours into the pool.

I’m excited to give black women, girls and teens the opportunity to feel included at the pool and not to dread what their swimming lessons will do to their hair, like I did.

I know my own health and wellbeing has increased since swimming frequently. If my Swimscarf will let girls swim with confidence, not with self-consciousness or worry, I will have succeeded in my project.

Thank you so much for all the support. Sign up to my mailing list and follow my social media for updates for our new and improved Swimscarf.

Joanne x

 

 

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