Meet Dianna Cohen, Founder of Crown Affair, a high quality haircare brand rooted in ritual. One with clean ingredients, effective formulations, and beautiful handmade tools you'll look forward to using every day.
What does a typical day in-the-life look like for you?
I start every day with my morning ritual. I wake up about two hours before I start work so I can journal for 30 minutes, followed by 30 - 45 minutes of stretching and foam rolling while listening to a podcast or audiobook. After that, I’ll make coffee in the kitchen and settle into my work day in my office at home. Every morning we have a 10am ET team meeting to kick off the day, and then it’s a mix of meetings and work blocks that cover every single area of the business: product development, hiring, launches, partnerships, investor meetings, creative brainstorms, the list goes on. Everyday is different and so much fun. I feel lucky I get to build this universe and spread a new mission around clean, mindful care in a category that’s been driven by styling and professional for so long. Because there’s a lot happening during the work day, having consistently in my morning and evening window routines grounds me through it all.
Why did you start using CBD?
My friend Verena, the Co-founder of Gossamer, really guided me to this world and I’m so grateful. I enjoy Rose Delights— their recent collaboration with Gossamer is truly wonderful. I also love an afternoon or evening window with Sweet Reason.
Social Stigma or Socially Acceptable?
Socially acceptable. You do whatever you need to do to feel whole.
Tips for starting a business?
Resilience. Wake up every day and find a new way to build.
Just start. Start to do the thing you feel deep down in a small way. It can be a google doc with ideas, an MVP site that might one day be an app, a first small gathering that could become a platform or event series. It’s not easy to be a beginner in a world that measures the final result, but just start and before you know you’ll look back and see how far you’ve come.
Start assembling your ‘avengers’ team. Be it a leadership coach, that friend who always tells you the truth, your partner, the former co-worker who you really creatively flow with. Build your avengers team and have them on call when you need another brain to solve problems.
What inspired you to start Crown Affair?
I’ve always been the friend who is really, really into haircare. I’m not sure when it happened, but people would text and DM me for haircare tips, recommendations on products they should use. I wrote down my ritual at the time, which was about 12 steps of how to take care of your hair and really be kind to it. It was shared beyond my network, and very quickly it became clear how little guidance and education existed in this category. So much of haircare is rooted in color, cut, and style— which is an amazing form of self expression— but I didn’t see any brands out there that I could self-identify with or brands that fit on my shelf or inshower with my other products. I would swing by a beauty retailer and look at the haircare section, not only were there so few clean brands, but the language and branding around them was still selling perfection— hashtag hair goals' and ‘good hair’ days and models with blow outs that didn’t enhance or embrace their natural hair patterns. I wanted to create something rooted in my personal ritual and care, and connect with women who are seeking the same sense of wellbeing in this part of their lives.
Photo: Elena Mudd
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned through the process of bringing Crown Affair to life?
Who you’re building this with is everything.
Ritual is a big part of Crown Affair. How do you see hair care as part of people’s self care and daily ritual, in general?
Crown Affair is deeply rooted in my personal haircare rituals. Haircare is a reflection of our wellbeing, and I see it as much a part of a wellness routine as much as how we take care of our bodies and our minds. I wanted to create something that inspired you to care for your hair every single day. Be it a mid-day refresh, an evening brush wind down, your in-shower hydration deep conditioning experience, or a post-shower nourishing serum. It’s all about taking time out of care for your hair, instead of styling frustration.
Favorite memory since starting Crown Affair?
Launch day was really special. Seeing the orders come in on Shopify from people I didn’t know, seeing the press roll in, sitting there with my team until 3am. It was pretty magical. Also launching a limited-edition collaboration with Violet Grey was really cool to see live, as was the Goop launch! We’ve been lucky to have really wonderful, supportive partners early on in our business.
Looking into 2021, what’s top of mind for you at Crown Affair?
Continuing to expand the Crown Affair universe, creatively and through our innovative in-shower product assortment.
Launching a company and a calm, quiet mind usually don’t go hand in hand. What are your go-to tips to handle stress?
Joan Didion once said, “I don’t know what I think until I write it.” I really swear by taking pen to paper to slow down your thoughts, process, and manifest the things in your life.
What is something new or interesting that you’re doing for your health or wellness these days?
I started taking baths again. I’m usually a shower person, but this newfound time at home has transformed my bathroom rituals into full spa evenings.
What or who inspires you?
Jane Goodall is incredibly inspiring. I also admire Adam Grant’s work on team and culture. I listen to theologian and poet Padraig O’Tuama’s podcast ‘Poetry Unbound’ every week. Jim Henson and Mr. Rogers are also major inspirations in my life.
Let the silence do the work.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy going to museums, watercolor painting, reading, cooking, playing video games, and traveling.
Best piece of advice you ever received?
The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.
What does success mean to you?
Success is about the experience, it’s in measuring the journey. It’s not always easy to be present in that when you have goals and a vision for the future, but being present in all the goodness of friends, family, play, and work now is what success is to me.
Go-to morning ritual and go-to evening ritual?
A very empowering way to start and end the day is with The Five Minute Journal. It’s an easy, accountable way to keep a gratitude practice. I also journal and stretch every morning. Making coffee is a favorite ritual to start the day. In the evenings I honor my bath and/or shower time. I look forward to hair wash days— starting with brushing our my hair, cleansing and moisturizing the scalp and strand in shower, and then the post-shower ritual with The Oil for my hair, and using the De La Heart lymphatic drainage tool for my body is the best. I’ll wind down with a cup of tea, sometimes with CBD, and hang out with my fiance. Sometimes I’ll end the evening with a book or a great show before heading to sleep.
Brand you love?
The Row, Lauren Manoogian, Madhappy, Outdoor Voices, Birkenstock + Elder Statesman
Early bird or night owl?
Somewhere in the middle?
Life hack of all life hacks?
Drink more water.
Photo: Elena Mudd
#1 hair care tip?
Be kind to your hair. Love it and take time on the journey to understand it. Hair is a part of and reflection of your holistic wellbeing.
Most played song right now?
Just the Two of Us, Bill Withers and Grover Washington
Favorite current read?
The Overstory by Richard Powers
If you could grab lunch with one person, who would it be?
Favorite Sweet Reason flavor?
Peach Jasmine. (I have to pick two… cucumber mint :)