What started as a personal natural hair journey for Hunter Phelps turned into a business venture when she reached her breaking point with harmful chemicals that further damaged her hair. 

In the summer of 2017 the Ross BBA student cut off most of her hair to remove the damage done by countless chemicals found in a variety of hair products. During her search for a better product she was introduced to the optiMize program. 

In an industry where ingredient lists commonly include unpronounceable chemicals, sulfates and parabens, Hunter decided she wanted to improve self-care routines with all natural ingredients. 

“I was inspired by their tagline ‘why not me?’ and that gave me a push to create the better product I was looking for,” Hunter said. 

With that, the idea for her business Terry Lu Naturals emerged. 

“I realized I could be an advocate for women and men in this community and change the self-care industry for the better,” she said. “Everyone should have the opportunity to feel like their hair and skin looks its best.” 

Named after her grandmothers, Terry and Lucille, who have provided her with inspiration throughout her life, the Terry Lu Naturals line is focused on giving customers the best possible hair and skin experiences through all natural ingredients. 

To help her bring her idea to fruition Hunter applied to the U-M’s TechArb Student Venture Accelerator while also participating in the self-hosted Zell Lurie Institute internship program. 

Currently a member of TechArb’s 18th cohort, Hunter has discovered resources to help bring her business to the next level. 

“The entire cohort is like a family,” she said. “We all genuinely support each other’s businesses and it is an amazing community I am excited to be a part of.” 

Hunter has now successfully launched two dual-use products for hair and skin, her Pillow Nourishing Mask and Blessed Butter, and plans to host a pop-up shop in her hometown of Detroit.  

“My products are for everyone and I look forward to reaching a large audience,” she said.