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For Nicole Rose, hair is heritage. The founder of Ella Dean, a natural haircare brand for textured tresses, was instilled with the ethos of hair as a means of individual and communal empowerment from an early age. Her great-grandparents founded Dean’s Beauty Salon & Barbershop in 1954, a family-owned Portland institution, while her mother is the author of Hair Dance!, an illustrated children’s book honoring the beauty of African-American hairstyles. Rose launched her haircare range in tribute to both her great-grandmother Mary “Rose” Dean, and her grandmother Gloria “Ella” Dean, who extended the business’ reach beyond the salon by teaching at a cosmetology school and becoming an often-cited expert in the haircare community. “I really look up to my grandmother for everything. I watched her as a young kid and seeing how she took the shop to a different level in the Black community, I am really grateful for that,” Rose comments.

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