Joy of Curls Owner Meets New Clientele Through Downtown Farmers’ Market Incubator Program
This article includes an interview with Joy Hankins, a Black business owner in Greater Des Moines (DSM) who participated in the Downtown Farmers’ Market Incubator Program.
Incubator Program Q+A
What kind of business do you run?
Hankins: I run The Joy of Curls, a plant-based hair and skin care brand for textured hair. My business also provides textured hair styling lessons to parents, primarily in the foster care community.
When did you participate in the Downtown Farmers’ Market, Out to Lunch, World Food & Music Festival and other Downtown DSM events?
Hankins: I participated in the 2022 Summer Market season and it was wonderful for my business.
What goals did you have when you accepted the offer to be a part of these Downtown DSM events?
Hankins: I really had the goal of connecting with the community and letting them know I’m here. My business began in 2021, and it’s been a challenge to get out and meet my customers. The Market provided the perfect opportunity.
What did you enjoy about participating?
Hankins: I enjoyed the constant interaction with families who were able to test samples of my products and provide feedback. I also enjoyed the sense of community among the vendors. Many were so supportive of my mission and became customers as well.
What was the most surprising thing about being a vendor at Downtown DSM events?
Hankins: The most surprising thing was rain or shine the community comes out to support and sometimes that rain is more like a torrential downpour! It doesn’t seem to deter the faithful Market crowd.
Have you seen any changes to your clientele since being a part of these events?
Hankins: Absolutely, although my products are marketed for textured hair, they are all-natural and great for the skin as well. Many customers bought my hair oils because they loved the fragrances and wanted to use them as body oils.
What is your next big project?
Hankins: I recently completed an interview with Emmy-winning producer Nik Heftman of CBS Mornings. I’m excited to be a part of his series which highlights small businesses in Iowa who are making a difference in their communities. This interview will air through his media outlet, The Seven Times.
Are you returning to the Downtown Farmers’ Market, World Food & Music, etc. this year?
Hankins: Oh yes, you can find me Summer 2023 at the Downtown Farmers’ Market. Final dates will be announced on my social media accounts.
How can people support you outside of these events?
Hankins: Every purchase of Pumpkin Baby Curl Care oil allows me to use proceeds to donate this oil to Iowa foster families, and it’s a great way to support and also enjoy a clean product that was handmade locally. Following my Instagram accounts (@thejoyofcurlsbeauty, @curlscareculture) and sharing posts with friends and family is another great way to support.
Who are some of your favorite local businesses?
Hankins: Jess Deserts, Nadia’s French Bakery and Scenic Route Bakery are at the top of my list. I’m a major foodie, and I believe in treating myself often!
The Downtown Farmers’ Market Incubator Program presented by UnityPoint Health – Des Moines supported underrepresented small and/or startup businesses at the 2022 Market. Participants must be owned, operated and actively managed by one or more persons who are LGBTQ+, a disabled veteran, a person with disabilities, a woman or of color. The Incubator Program is sponsored by Center at Sixth, EMC Insurance Companies, Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families and Principal®.
Looking for tools to help grow your startup or small business? Visit the Small Business Resources Hub to find the information you need.
Greater Des Moines (DSM) welcomes diverse talent to the region. As one of the fastest growing business communities, inclusion and attracting diverse talent in the workplace is a key strategy of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. Learn more here.