Spain-based Vanessa Lopes Explains How She Converted Her Kitchen Side Hustle Into A Profitable Business

Vanessa Lopes. Image via Linkedin/Vanessa Lopes


Vanessa Martins Lopes is a model. She is a Spanish-based Finnish-Bissau-Guinean entrepreneur. She started her business after years of struggle to find hair products that fit her fluffy ‘fro. Due to a lack of better options, she turned to producing her own products in her home. What began as a side venture eventually became her full-time employment.

She was living in London at the time, but decided to relocate to Spain in the midst of the pandemic. She had to decide whether to continue working for someone else or develop her own project, according to her. This is when she and her partner decided to go all-in on The Wild Curl, a natural hair care line devoted to curly hair.

“Running my own hair care company, and going self-employed really helped me to find my purpose. I have always felt sad there were never services for us, and now I am trying to contribute to the change,” she told

Although she is based in Spain, The Wild Curl is a UK business and according to Lopes, running your own company and being self-employed in Spain is a bit harder, citing bureaucracy.

“In London, everything is digitized, if you want to form a company, you just go to Companies House, and everything goes very fast. Here it’s more traditional, so in that aspect, I am happy that we’re still a UK-based company,” she said.

Lopes was born in Guinea-Bissau, while her mother was born in Finland. She lived in Finland for the majority of her life. She was nearly always the only Black person in school, work, the gym, with friends, and almost wherever she went as a child.

She started practicing rhythmic gymnastics when she was 4 and later joined the national team of Finland, traveling almost every month abroad to international competitions. “This awoke my curiosity about different cultures, languages, and people. Since then one, I was always dreaming to live abroad, I was just waiting for the right moment to do so,” she said.

She had hoped to go to Brazil before settling in Spain, but she elected to go to Spain instead, just for love. She met her partner, Albert, at university, which led her to forgo her desire of moving to Brazil. She and her partner lived in Spain for three years before relocating to London for work. They did, however, return to Tarragona, Spain, in 2020.

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