Ciara Imani May
Running a business

Ciara Imani May is revolutionizing how hair extensions are made

In honor of Black History Month, QuickBooks is spotlighting Black-owned businesses, their stories of courage, and celebrating their success. Find more resources for Black business owners here.

Name: Ciara Imani May

Location: St. Louis, MO

Business: Rebundle, which makes plant-based hair extensions from banana fiber.

Ciara Imani May hair

Photo credit: Instagram/

What is the biggest lesson you learned in the first year of business?

In my first year, I was very focused on the product and was thinking too small. By that, I mean I was excited about the development process and didn’t spend enough time building out other fundamental parts of the business, such as operations, marketing, and so on.

What was the most surprising thing about becoming a business owner? 

Hiring is the most difficult yet important part of being a business owner. You literally have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the right fit for some roles, and that can be exhausting. Once you make the right hire, though, you have to coach them and keep them excited about their work because you don’t want to lose them.

Rebundle hair

Photo credit: Instagram/

How does running your own business make you feel? 

Some days I feel defeated and exhausted, other days, I’m invigorated and inspired. As I get older and my business gets older, I have found healthier ways to cope with the constant ups and downs, such as setting boundaries with my work, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and spending my days doing more of what I enjoy and am good at. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve overcome or are working to overcome? 

I’ve overcome major bouts of depression and anxiety. Most founders are nearly always on edge, but I’ve found ways to keep myself “even-keel” so that I can make clearer decisions. 

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An abundance of resources have been made available to black founders, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what other communities receive.

What challenges do you feel are unique to Black small business owners? 

Of course, black founders deal with a lack of funding, sometimes a lack of access, and often a different support system. An abundance of resources have been made available to black founders, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to what other communities receive. 

What advice would you give to other Black business owners just starting out? 

Find the right team and build a winning product.

Rebundle hair extensions

Photo credit: Instagram/

How do you engage with the community?

With our community, I personally respond to most customer inquiries. This keeps me connected and in tune with what our customers want. 

What is a moment in your small business career where you had to be courageous? What happened?

Waking up every day and choosing to continue is an act of courage. We’ve faced some extreme hurdles, such as growing too quickly and deciding to pull the product from the market. Sounds crazy, but I truly felt it was necessary to ensure long-term success. We relaunched a few months ago and things are moving in the right direction.

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Waking up every day and choosing to continue is an act of courage.

What are your proudest moments? 

I’m proud of the team I’ve assembled, of our pending patent, and of the testimonials we receive from customers that are experiencing peace of mind while wearing our products. 

What are the next big plans you have for your business? 

We see ourselves as the future of hair extensions and have plans to inspire change in this industry—from both a health and environmental standpoint.

Ciara Rebundle hair extensions

Photo credit: Instagram/

When you’re having a tough day, who or what inspires you to keep going?

My team and our customers.

How do you maintain a work/life balance as a small business owner? 

Setting boundaries (not working too late every day, eating three meals a day, taking at least one full day off a week, watching my favorite shows, spending time with my dog, Nevens).

What’s your “power song”?

“Every Season” by Roddy Rich.

Rebundle hair extension

Photo credit: Instagram/

To learn more about Rebundle and support the business, visit their website or check out their adventures on Instagram.

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