At SlickFit™, we Do Both. And by that we don’t just mean we believe in getting in a stellar workout whilst keeping our edges laid and slayed (no biggie), we also appreciate that our valued SlickFit supporters may want different things when it comes to getting to know us: so we made sure to cover both versions for you!
The SlickFit Story
A Quick Run Down
SlickFit was founded by Lee-Ann Bostwick - a now 23-year-old award-winning entrepreneur, Chartered Physiotherapist, former fitness instructor, proud 1st generation Brit-Jamaican-Guyanese natural-hair-nurturer from South London *breathes* – in a nut shell (click here for her bio to find out more about Lee-Ann).
Like a growing number of people, Lee-Ann would say she cares quite a lot about her hair, as well as keeping fit and healthy, especially given her professional field and her own long-term injuries which she manages with exercise.
Once the then, Final Year Physiotherapy undergraduate student realised that there were probably quite a lot of other people, like herself, who found taking care of the two to be not so easy sometimes, she set out on a mission to change that.
That mission, packed with many ups and downs along the way, and some truly impactful people (ye and naysayers alike), lead her to this thing called SlickFit™: finally bringing her hair and fitness journeys together in perfect harmony.
And to have you reading this now, we hope, means that said mission has extended to you, or your loved ones, and your journeys, and now you no longer have to choose between your hair routine and workout regime. You can Do Both. Woo hoo!
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The SlickFit Story
ALL the Details!
So here’s the SlickFit™ Story so far in a bit more detail, if you’d like to hear it :) plus a little look to the future. Hope you like a good story told in the third person!
SlickFit™ Do Both
To SlickFit™, ‘Do Both’ encompasses not just the flexibility to look after your hair and your health at the same time, but the mantra and ethos to ‘Do Both’ also very neatly sums up the journey to creating this solution. ‘Do Both’ served as a constant motivational phrase along the way – to be and/or do what was often more than one thing at a time, and embrace that wholeheartedly.
Do Both: Student Physio x Entrepreneur
SlickFit™ was started by founder and then, Final Year Physiotherapy Undergraduate student, Lee-Ann Bostwick (now Chartered Physiotherapist, Lee-Ann Bostwick, BSc (Hons), MCSP). Lee-Ann found herself increasingly frustrated by an ongoing struggle: maintaining both her hair and her fitness routines.
Do Both: Hair x Fitness
For Lee-Ann, the two were probably equally important to her, and yet they seemed to always end up being two competing priorities. Despite her efforts and good intentions, she’d always end up falling short of juggling them successfully.
When her hair was freshly washed or styled, she hated undoing her hard work: lying on gym mats or constantly having to put her hair up in practical styles. And when she couldn’t be bothered to get her hair into a gym-friendly style, or when her hair was, well, less than presentable, she found herself not wanting to go to the gym altogether. Even if it was leg day!
But surely there was a product out there she could buy to solve this problem. Something flexible and sturdy, something slick that fits well (😉). Something sporty and stylish, that would also be snag-free and gentle on her precious edges? Something that would (big one) not require excessive time, prep, and having to watch numerous tutorial videos to master. Something she could hop online and quickly order, or find in a store if need be. But something that she just knew would be the answer to keeping her on track towards these two goals of hers she’d been struggling with.
And well, if her hair could stay nice for longer, and if she was getting in her desired number of workouts a week, she’d even feel better, look better, maybe get through that degree a little easier! Furthermore, having an ongoing knee condition meant she really couldn’t keep skipping the gym too often if she wanted to continue doing that small thing called walking and keep her knee pain at bay…
Surely there was a headwear thingy out there like the one she had in mind, just waiting for her to look it up and purchase. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, search as she might, there just wasn’t. Similar-ish sorts of products, sure, but not the thing that she knew would solve her continuous hair vs fitness dilemma. Or not yet, of course… Thankfully we’ve got SlickFit™ for that now!
Do Both: Final Year Studies x Finding the Solution
So back to 2017/2018 Lee-Ann… After deciding she’d embark on the mission of bringing such a thing to life, even if just for her own use, she went about building on her idea: researching, lamenting, and more researching – and given that she had no sketch or design background, this would prove to be a trying, and in some ways, lengthy time of development...
Lee-Ann would talk over her idea for SlickFit™ with friends and family, running the concept by them and getting different perspectives to build on. One of her best friends, of Islamic faith, was especially excited about SlickFit™ and its smooth satin undercap, highlighting the issue of hair breakage being a major problem amongst wearers of headscarves of all hair textures, and how so many people would benefit.
Lee-Ann would always hope to form connections to help bring SlickFit™ about – a designer maybe, or someone with the skills to make this thing in her mind something tangible. Unfortunately, or fortunately, those connections never seemed to pan out (lots of getting left on read by friends of friends, or even being somewhat discouraged to continue with the idea by a couple of art and fashion lecturers she managed to get a meeting with – pshh). But in everything, even the disappointments, there was always a silver lining.
One of the best pieces of advice she ever got – from her good friend and Day 1 SlickFit™ family member and supporter, Seray Wright (who also ended up lending Lee-Ann her sewing machine when Lee-Ann’s broke down – saving production after it ground to a halt... great friend) – was to check out her university’s enterprise hub. This visit, for just a brochure of some sorts, lead to her discovering an EU-funded business programme called Evolve that they had available.
So, she prepared her first SlickFit™ pitch between her physio degree work, and secured a place on the course!
Since Lee-Ann's postcode meant she was required to move out of town for all of her clinical placements, and was now in her final semester at the university (there goes the, attend the business course in the evenings during term-time options), she could only commit to the Easter holiday intensive version of the programme.
After such an exhausting semester of courseworks, presentations and dissertation, Lee-Ann so needed the break. And she had already cut her holiday time down a third having booked on to complete a sports massage diploma course held during the upcoming Easter break. But alas, tired or not, if she wanted to make SlickFit™ happen, it was a no brainer – Do Both.
Although completing the Evolve business course didn’t connect her with some incredible product designer to magic up the SlickFit™ from her mind and solve all her problems, it was a pivotal experience, and she learned a lot and remained passionate. The best thing to come out of the business programme was unlocking a number of invaluable hours with a fantastic mentor. She read books, gained increasing inspiration and motivation with every meeting, and was encouraged to just say, sod it, and give making her prototype on her own a go.
Do Both: Professional by Day x Product-maker by Night
So, many (MANY) tries and fails later: from DIY flops, youtube lessons and an informal sewing lesson from her little cousin (thanks Ells xx), to light bulb moments, graduation and much needed words of wisdom… eventually came the SlickFit™ Sport: Athletic Top-Knot Turban 1.0. Fantastically showcased, courtesy of her beautiful friends in-front of (Adina Walford @a.svnnh) and behind the camera (Melique Ogilve @mjrdo. Check them out!), SlickFit™ ticked all the boxes of that very first vision.
So much so that when Lee-Ann put out word that a limited number of pre-launch SlickFits were available to pre-order to a number of her friends, they sold out in just a few hours! But not to worry, you can click here now and grab yours.
Something equally as cool as that, Lee-Ann and SlickFit™ went on to not only be nominated for, but WIN an award from that same business programme she completed, at the first annual Evolve Enterprise Awards evening. Lee-Ann took home 'Entrepreneur of Evolve' for SlickFit, as well as being nominated for the 'CU Social Enterprise Women in Business' Award, on 08/03/19 – International Women's Day – no less.
All before SlickFit had even had its full launch! Pretty impressive if you ask us.
Do Both: The Now x The Near Future
Looking ahead, SlickFit™ hopes to grow and expand our 2-in-1 hair-protecting headwear range and beyond. More colours, more versions and more new and exciting products for our SlickFit supporters are in sight! So stay tuned and thank you for your support.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the story so far. Much, much more to come!
That’s me (Lee-Ann) posing a little awkwardly by my clinical placement poster - “What should I do with my hands?!”