My Story. My Words.
Hi. I’m Rochelle Pydana Buckner, the founder and creator of Pydana Collection. Whether you were brought here by my deep conditioning thermal caps or my collection of natural hair and skin care products, I’m glad you’re here. I spend quite a bit of time talking with my customers and getting input on products - how I can make them better.
But I haven’t always been what Google calls a “beauty product supplier”.
As a Kid...
I actually grew up in Georgetown, Guyana, South America with my mother, father and my younger brother. If you know anything at all about cricket, you may have heard of my father, the legendary West Indian cricketer, Milton Pydana. My mother, Audrey Pydana, was a nurturer - both privately and professionally. She was the Head of Nursing at a local hospital until her untimely passing when I was a teenager.
As a Scientist….
While I haven’t always been in the beauty business, I’ve spent much of my life as a scientist. In 1993, my younger brother and I immigrated to the United States to live with our father in Brooklyn, New York. I worked part-time gigs before relocating to the Metro Detroit area to attend college at Michigan State University. #GoGreen!
I was like a lot of college students - I worked odd jobs to pay bills and have a little cash on me (and I do mean very little cash). I put myself through college as a full time student by working and saving, even sleeping on the floor, and at times having to decide if I'll spend what little money I had on gas or food. I took classes even during the summers and within 4 years, I graduated with a degree in Clinical Laboratory Science.
After college, I guess you can say I followed in my mother’s footsteps - I worked in a hospital serving and helping people, too. No, not as the Head of Nursing. I helped couples suffering with infertility to conceive via Assisted Reproductive Technologies and did clinical lab testings… that is until my husband and I relocated to the Atlanta metro area with our son.
As a Mother...
Mommyhood is a funny thing. In retrospect, it goes by quickly. But when you’re taking care of your home and your family - and left on a constant diet of Sesame Street as many moms are when they have toddlers - the daily routine of being mom can make it seem as if time has slowed down.
I believe it was that slowing down - and being fed up with the unhealthy state of my natural hair and the "natural" products on the market - that finally gave me room to consider how I could use my expertise as a scientist to do something else.
The Birth of Pydana Collection
When my son was old enough for pre-school, I made my way back into the workforce, again as a scientist in a hospital. And while I love the work, the thrill was gone. The passion that drives you to push a little harder and to inquire a little more was gone. In its place was a rekindled interest in beauty, of all things!
Now, to give you some background, Guyanese women are experts at maximizing and maintaining beauty. My mother and grandmother had always taken care of our skin and hair with things found in nature - the juice from okra to cleanse hair or an avocado, cupuacu butter and babassu from nearby Brazil to nourish and moisturize hair and skin... The backyard was our neighborhood beauty supply store.
The idea that I could use what I knew about natural beauty to create safe, healthy, natural products for women of color was intriguing. I mean, I was brought up knowing what was good for hydrating the skin and hair, what to use to protect the hair from heat, and how to keep skin healthy, clear and vibrant.
FYI: Guyana is a tropical climate - “tropical” is always code for humid air and frizzy hair. It’s also hot there... year-round.
In 2016, I finally made the decision - knees knocking - to use my background as a scientist to create a line of products for women like me who wear natural hair. I’ve been processed, I’ve been unprocessed.
#TeamPerm and #TeamNatural
I wanted to make products not only for myself and family but for women of color that would support their decision to go natural. Products that would simplify the transition process and help you maintain great looking hair that was also healthy. I wanted to make products my mother and grandmother would use. I tested my first product nearly 400 times before I sold even one unit, and I listened (and still listen) to the feedback I got from my handful of paying customers I had in the beginning.
The bottom line is I believe as women of color we should have a selection of luxe hair care and skin care products that are safe for our wallets and our hair and skin. God gave me the will and the skill to bring the Pydana Collection to life and then to market.
If you ever have a question, comment, or recommendation, I’m easy to find on social media @pydanacollection and @pydanaskincare.
Thank you for stopping by!