Originally from South Africa, AG Hair co-founder Lotte Davis was acutely aware of the disproportionate inequality and as a child she recalled witnessing “some significant atrocities” and continual injustice toward people during the Apartheid era. Later, while living in Canada in the 1960s and ’70s she became aware of another injustice—the discrimination against women. She recalls, “both of those things really formulated who I am.”
Products that work
Davis began her career as a graphic designer before she and her husband John co-founded AG Hair from the basement of their North Vancouver home in 1989. Her goal was to bottle the empowerment that comes from having a great hair day. She did that by creating a line of haircare products made of naturally derived ingredients that don’t contain salt (sodium chloride), paba, parabens, gluten, DEA and are not tested on animals. AG’s holistic hero ingredient for their natural product line is apple cider vinegar (ACV) known for its healing properties.
A different standard of beauty
The brand is determined to create a different standard of beauty. “We don’t think of beauty in the traditional sense. It’s more than how you look. At AG we’re most inspired by simplicity and confidence. While we look to magazines and runway shows for hair trends, it’s the girl reading the magazine that we are drawn to and the effortless style we see on the street outside the show that truly fascinates us. By choosing simple natural ingredients that work—we’re giving you the results to be confident about your hair and ultimately yourself. To us, nothing is more beautiful.”
As the company grew so did its goals. AG Hair products continue to use simple, natural ingredients formulated for the complexity and intricacies of different hair types, helping women build confidence about their hair and ultimately themselves. The company is built on three brand pillars: Products that work; a different standard of beauty; and giving back. The last brand pillar is rooted in Davis’ belief that, “It’s not just people who have a responsibility to do good in this world. It’s companies, too.” Once it’s understood that real beauty comes from real purpose it becomes clear how small acts of charity can make a big difference in our interconnected world.
After regular visits to Kenya and Uganda, Davis started her own charity called One Girl Can to empower girls through education and break the cycle of poverty and gender inequality for girls living in marginalized areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The holistic model was created around the belief that education for girls is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality, and lays the foundation for sustained economic growth. One Girl Can offers support and resources to girls from the time they leave primary school, until the day she gains meaningful employment. Since 2008, AG has donated a portion of proceeds from each product sold to support One Girl Can.
To date the registered charity has raised enough money ($3,009,951 U.S. dollars) to build six schools; provide scholarships for more than 400 girls and has delivered mentoring workshops to 15,000 more. High school costs around $500 a year in Keyna and Uganda: most families earn only $1,000 annually. The charity’s long-term goal is to provide one thousand scholarships by 2025.