For many women and children with unruly, curly hair, Tomasina Boyd Boone ’93 may be revered and considered the wonderful wizard of Oz.
She launched an online haircare and beauty company, Afro Puffs (www.afropuffs.com.au), a division of Beauty Named Ltd., after trying for years to find haircare products in her new home in Australia (often referred to as Oz by locals).
“As a black woman, I was struggling to find haircare products that would protect and hydrate my hair,” Boone said. “I found myself importing a lot of things from the states. Then I started thinking that I can’t be the only one.”
Today, her company is supplying haircare products to curly-haired women of a variety of ethnicities who live in all corners of the globe—from London to Malaysia to Brazil.
“What I like best about working in the beauty industry is the ability to make a person smile,” said Boone, a former board member of the Oswego Alumni Association and the 2004 Commencement Eve Torchlight speaker. “I’ll receive messages that will say, ’I have a mixed child and your products and information helped me so much.’ That’s really rewarding. I love that beauty can make people feel happy.”
Before moving to Australia with her husband, Eric Boone, for his work in international law, she was a self-described workaholic as the advertising beauty director at Essence magazine in New York City.
It took her years to adjust to the slower paced lifestyle as a stay-at-home mother of two daughters, Emerie and Talia. But she keeps busy now running her company, serving as president of the parent-teacher organization at her daughters’ school and volunteering at a variety of community and service organizations, including programs with the Aboriginal Australians.
For example, through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., she helped organize and facilitate a workshop about the parallels in health issues between Australian Aboriginals and Black Americans at a United Nations conference held in Australia for NGO representatives.
“The safe haven that I found in Oswego helped nurture me into the woman I am now,” Boone said. “And I feel like this Oz is the same kind of environment for my girls. I can’t even begin to explain to you how I ended up in a place called Oz twice in my life, but I take comfort in it.”
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