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DāO defies all odds and takes you back to your natural.

An inspiring story about staying true to yourself. Read on to find out about DāO's journey to provide customers with non-toxic, nature-inspired, truly mindful products for hair care.

1. Tell us about the inspiration that prompted the start of DāO?

DāO (pronounced day-o) very simply is an acronym meaning Defy All Odds. And Detroit represents the city where we met and where the business began. Defy All Odds is a personal mantra we created not too long after we met. We are both free spirits and have been intentional about blazing our own paths since we were kids accomplishing things that defied all odds. It was fate that brought us together. We truly believe that our union was predetermined and we were meant to bring something special to this world that encourages others to defy all odds just as we have.

2. How does DāO contribute to the betterment of society?

Erin: Our #DaOMovement campaign was born from personal experiences. In my first job out of college, my manager told me that my natural hair was inappropriate for the work environment and violated company policies. This set me on a course of severe anxiety and insecurity as I desperately attempted to change my hair texture with chemical treatments and lots of heat styling to not only fit in at work, but greater society, in general. It wasn’t a healthy time for me as I sought acceptance and approval from those around me, instead of owning who I was, curly hair and all! I began to understand the value and power in this ownership after I cut off all my hair two years ago to start fresh.

Willis: We want people no matter their stage of life to learn from Erin’s experience and not feel the need to compromise who they are for a manager, a lover, a family member or frankly, anyone. It’s so critical in this day and time that people live their truth, love who they are and own their identity whatever it may be. Even though my full head of hair stopped growing the way it did at a younger age, and forced me to rock a bald look, I still care about looking my best and being well groomed. We hope through our #DaOMovement to spread this message and empower everyone to own who they are.

3. As the market continues to invite competition, even in the sustainability and social responsibility space, where do you see DāO fitting into the ecosystem in the next 5-10 years? Willis: In five years, DāO will be a global household name. We are seeking to be one of the world's first augmented reality beauty and wellness companies and are very excited about the way in which technology will change people's engagement with our wellness platform. In that time, I foresee our mind, body, and hair A/R retreats changing the way people look at self care and redefine what it means to live a “Natural” life. Our products will be in several hotel chains that align with our brand ethos, as well as retailers to give DāO the biggest global reach, faster than any other company in the hair care industry!

Erin: I would say the long-term vision for DāO includes technology growth, product line expansion, and the creation of beauty and wellness spaces. As a Detroit company, community comes first and it’s important to be intentional about connecting with individuals to engage our mission. I envision DāO beauty and wellness spaces built out across the globe in cities that are ethnically diverse and culturally rich. This non-traditional retail store would be a community-centered place of healing, engagement, and commerce inspired by our appreciation of nature, mindfulness, and non-toxic products.

4. What are your most popular products? 

By far our best sellers are the Naturel Moisturizing Spray and Vitalise Balm. The Naturel spray is DāO's first product and what got us nationwide attention for our quality ingredients and powerful inspiring messages. It is a water-based leave in conditioner infused with amazing hydrating and strengthening ingredients including Hemp Oil, Açaí Berry Extract and Neem Oil. Our lemons to lemonade product is the DāO Vitalise balm. To accommodate Will's beautifully bald look we needed to create a product that works to moisturize dry scalp without leaving it greasy and too shiny. Vitalise does that and more! Packed full of nutrients including Capsicum Extract, Mango Butter and Chamomile Oil, this product quickly became a customer favorite for everyone -- women, men and children alike.

5. If you had to give a piece of advice to a start-up company, what would it be?

Erin: Be humble. Sit down! Yes, I love Kendrick Lamar. There’s so much wisdom wrapped up in those simple phrases. I’m beginning to learn that the key to a healthy and happy life is remaining humble despite the successes I may achieve because just as easily as they seemingly come, they can just as quickly be taken away. And I interpret the “sit down” statement to mean “be patient.” In this instant gratification world of nearly on-demand everything, we can sometimes grow impatient, which can lead to negative thinking and behavior. Good things do come to those who are willing to patiently and positively wait for them, and I’m definitely willing to wait for my blessings.

Willis: Some of the best advice I have ever received came from my grandmother when I was a young kid. One evening I was hesitant to ask for a donut before bedtime because I hadn't finished all of my veggies at dinner. When I mentioned my craving to my grandmother as she tucked me in, knowing it was too late, she gave me a message that would stick with me for life. Her reply was “Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed.” She then went on to say “the worst I could have said to you is No, but at least you would’ve tried.” In this situation I didn’t quite understand the analogy, but I did understand the word “no” doesn’t physically hurt, therefore I should not fear going after what I want. As I matured, this thought process has given me a confidence to achieve my most lofty goals.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with Sustainable Inc.! For more information about DāO Detroit, please visit their website here:

Disclaimer: Sustainable Inc. does not endorse businesses or their practices. The purpose of this blog is to provide information to readers.



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