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The Start of Terry Lu Naturals

Hunter Phelps

A few years ago, if someone had told me that I would be running a business at age 20, I would have looked at them in disbelief. Entrepreneurship never crossed my mind growing up, but in June of 2017 that all changed. That summer, I made the decision to big chop my hair, meaning I would cut off all of my damaged hair and start fresh with my hair’s natural state. That was such a huge decision for me because I straightened my hair every two weeks faithfully since the age of 10, however, I was so tired of wetting it and seeing completely straight ends. 

After my big chop, I started doing what most naturals do by running to various stores to find brands to try, but I kept facing the same issues because all of the products I used left my hair feeling dry and uncomfortable. Basically, I was not happy with the ingredients they offered and all the packaging had complex and confusing names. Furthermore, I noticed that the products were not unique in relation to the other brands. Even when it came down to the color of the packaging, they were all pink. My frustrations carried on for the rest of that summer, and I knew that something needed to be changed within the industry. 

In September of 2017, I started my first fall semester at the University of Michigan. There, my entrepreneurial journey catapulted. During the third week of classes, a former student came to my business administration class to talk about a program called optiMize that she absolutely loved. OptiMize is a student incubator program that funds students to work on their start-ups or non-profits with the ultimate goal of helping make the world a better place. After hearing the student talk about her experience I was instantly hooked.

That following Sunday, I went to optiMize’s first meeting and I felt right at home. I loved optiMize so much. Today, I can attend any optiMize event and still get treated like family. Through this great organization, I was able to build Terry Lu Naturals from the ground up. I even thought of my business name at an optiMize session, as TLN honors my two grandmothers Terry and Lucille. After attending their program from October to February, I pitched Terry Lu Naturals and received $9,000 in funding. The rest is history. 

Terry Lu Naturals was created to help others by providing the best hair and skin experiences for our customers. I am so excited to see where Terry Lu is headed next. We have received amazing feedback from customers on our existing products, and I am so happy that I am able to share my products with others. God has truly blessed my business and placed wonderful customers in my path. If you would like to connect with Terry Lu Naturals, follow us on social media @terrylunaturals and visit our website at

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