Client Spotlight: Gwendolyn Walker

Gwendolyn Walker’s innovative techniques and dedication to healthy, natural locks are making waves in the hair care world.

The Fort Wayne-based hair-care entrepreneur styles hair for a nationwide clientele, and also nurtures hair, through special procedures and products she has developed and marketed with assistance from friends at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC).

Gwendolyn owns Pure Expressions natural hair-care products, shaped by knowledge she gained in a styling career spanning more than 30 years. In that time she has studied not only styles the appeal to her clients, but the equally important factor of the health of their hair.  She approaches hair care from a more holistic and environmentally healthy perspective and has developed a two-stage process she calls LaceLocs™, that is personalized for each client.

Most— but not all — of Gwendolyn’s customers are African-American or biracial women and men. She skillfully manipulates her clients’ hair into micro-locks, which she has trademarked as LaceLocs™. This initial step, which Gwendolyn terms the “install” — generally takes 15 to 25 hours to complete, after which, LaceLocs™ clients return every six weeks for her “maintenance” service.

“The matting process is kind of like the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the butterfly,” she says of the transformation.

Gwendolyn’s performs her loyal clientele’s LaceLocs™ installs and maintenance sessions in places like Kansas City and Dallas as well as in Houston, where she can enjoy a visit with family members while there. The schedule allows her to spend three weeks at a time in Fort Wayne, where she works on her Pure Expressions product development.

Stephanie Taylor, former operations manager for the NIIC’s Community Navigator Pilot Program, became Gwendolyn’s mentor when Gwendolyn signed on to the program in 2022.  “We met each week, and she helped me recognize the responsibilities and take the next steps to make things happen,” Gwendolyn says of Stephanie’s guidance. “She provided the needed accountability for me to keep things moving.”

That movement has blossomed into a hair care-and-nourishment product line that now features eight items — including instruments designed with the cooperation of high school students at Fort Wayne Community Schools’ Amp Lab at Electric Works — and will be adding a couple more very soon.  Most of Gwendolyn’s orders are through Pure Expressions’ website, and she still maintains limited hours at her original studio, on Stellhorn Road near the NIIC headquarters.

A person of deep faith, Gwendolyn sees a purpose to her work beyond making her clients took better. She believes that enhancing a person’s physical appearance, by nurturing their scalp and hair, comes with the added benefit of improving their frame of mind.

“I believe I was created to make a difference,” she declares. “So I use these gifts I’ve been blessed with to help people feel better.”


Enter search term...