Having sold over 30,000 swimming caps, Soul Cap busts the old-age myth that black girls don’t swim (cue serious eye roll). Designed to accommodate thick curly hair and bulky natural styles like braids and locs, we talk to founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman about their team and mishaps in the pool.
Being two guys, how have you managed to ensure Soul Cap speaks so well to women?
Michael (MC): We’re a small business, and most of the time it’s just the two of us. But we do have an extended team of women (and men!) who we rely on constantly.
Toks (TA): We also get loads of help from friends and family with things like arranging photoshoots and helping out at events. These women are invaluable to us when we need to bounce ideas around or test new concepts and products. You’ve been friends for over 20 years.
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you as mates?
TA: We must have been about 15 or 16 years old and were boasting about how many laps we could do without stopping. However, neither of us had actually spent much time in water since doing lessons in primary school. So as soon as we got changed, Michael jumped straight in. Not realising actually how deep the pool was, he basically started to drown. I thought it was hilarious but leapt right in after Michael to try and be the hero but I couldn’t swim either – and so we both ended up getting rescued. It really wasn’t a good look.
How do you make sure tricky business decisions don’t affect your friendship?
TA: We’ve been friends for so long that we’ve naturally mastered how to comminucate with one another.
MC: We’re always open-minded and open to hearing each other’s ideas (even if they’re not very good).
Any advice for avoiding chlorine damage to hair?
MC: Hair acts like a sponge. It soaks up water and holds it, and that means it soaks up chlorine. To counteract damage, we advise rinsing the hair beforehand. Your hair will absorb the clean water, which means it won’t have the space to soak up the chlorinated pool water. When you get in the pool with a head full of fresh water, it gives you an extra layer of protection. However, if you really want all round protection you’ll need a good swimming cap. And we wouldn’t be very good businesspeople if we didn’t tell you to try Soul Cap!
Shop Soul Cap here.