Trinidad-born comb inventor takes on natural hair market with “Sharks”

When Noel Durity appeared on the Shark Tank in 2019, he danced his way into the pockets of billionaire investors Mark Cuban and Daymond John.

The “sharks”, while amused with Durity’s moves, realised his invention, the Twist It Up comb, was no laughing matter.

With their joint investment of US$225,000 in Durity’s invention, the billionaire businessmen, together with the young entrepreneur, are cornering the lucrative market for black natural hair.

The Twist It Up Comb is designed to create twists on natural hair similar to the popular sponges.

Shaped like a miniature tennis racket, the comb fits snugly in your hand, is portable, and, most importantly, easy to clean.

Durity, who was born in San Fernando, Trinidad, and migrated to the United States at the age of five, told Loop News that Twist It Up was born out of necessity.

Durity, thanks to his cousin’s suggestion, used a tennis racket to twist his hair. He tried using a curl sponge but had to throw it away every 10 days.

“I was doing real estate and mortgages and I did very well and I started travelling and as I started to travel I needed something to do my hair and I was travelling with a tennis racket and as you know it can’t fit in a suitcase so my mum gave me a very small travel racket which fit in my carry on. I lost it in Brazil and I went on a mission to find a way to shrink this racket and it became my personal mission,” he said.

He came up with a shrunken version of the racket in 2016 and showed it to his barber who immediately advised him to make it a business.

“I didn’t want to because it is for African Americans, African Americans with hair, African Americans with hair that want to wear their hair a certain way. I wasn’t going to leave a six-figure business, I felt like it was super-nichey,” he said.

When his barber got fined US$250 for re-using a curl sponge, Durity realised there was a sanitary aspect to his product that made it marketable. He started doing hair shows and barbers bought his product.

“Once I started noticing I could sell it, it became a business,” he said.

Durity went on Shark Tank as a personal challenge. He said he had a manufacturing problem that he needed to solve but he just thought it was cool to be on the show.

He auditioned three times but was successful on his fourth try because one of the co-producers had used the comb and liked the product.

For Durity, the mentorship he receives from Cuban and John is more valuable than their investment.

“I can’t put into words how to describe when I get a compliment from Mark or Daymond,” said Durity

It’s about the effort

Looking at his life and his successes to date, Durity said he doesn’t think that he is anyone special. What sets him apart from others is his understanding that his efforts to get where he wants to go matters.

“I think the difference between me and anyone else is that I cannot control if I win or lose that is in God’s hands, whatever will happen, will happen. What I can control is the effort. Win or lose, I can control the effort. This goes with anything, relationship, business, life,” he said.

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For Durity, knowing from a young age the quality of life he wanted to live and what it would require, he put his effort into achieving that goal.

“I understood that having a wife and having a child would be expensive, period. So before I had a wife and I had a child I saved for them. I knew I would be married one day and I knew I would have a child one day. I spent eight years preparing to give my wife a dream life before I actually met my wife. I felt I had that fiduciary responsibility, I could control the effort,” said Durity, who recently got engaged.

“There are a lot of people that are 20 or 21 who want to buy Fendi, who want to buy Jordans, who want to look nice, want to buy the Gucci belt, want to go out and party and do all these things. That’s fine. But what’s worse than looking back on your life with regret. When you are 40 and you go damn, I wish I didn’t spend that much money in my 20s, I wish when I had more energy, I wish I worked harder.”

Growing up in Corona, California, Durity experienced what he described as good times and very good times as his family’s fortunes fluctuated. The very good times stuck with him and he knew to maintain that, he had to understand money.

As a child, he learned to work for what he wanted. His father, Julian, an entrepreneur from Mon Chagrin Street in San Fernando, instilled in him that whatever he wanted, he had to work for it. He ran lemonade stands, washed cars, and sold candy door to door.

When he reached his early 20s, he dropped out of college because he didn’t feel it was for him. He started waiting tables at a restaurant and hatched out a plan to make money.

Durity came up with a three-year plan to save $100,000 while serving tables. He got three serving jobs, living off one and saving from the other two. Achieving his goal gave him the courage to go after anything he set his mind on.

 “My why was my future family. My why was that I saw the ups and downs my mum and dad went through. I looked around and I saw that there are three types of men in this world: the man who worked too much but gave his family everything they needed financially but wasn’t there with his time, then there was the man that gave the time for the most important events but couldn’t give his family what hey wanted financially because he didn’t put in the work and there was the select few that had both and I wanted to be like them,” he said.

Durity sought advice from people who had money and learned that everyone who had the life he wanted, did not work for money.

“They had a way to create. They all owned businesses and had multiple sources of income,” he said.

He learned from his own research that owning a business, getting into real estate and investing, were the ways people earned residual income.

Durity started in real estate and today owns two companies. He has also invested in about six companies in different sectors.

Asked what advice he would give to young, aspiring Caribbean entrepreneurs, Durity said the internet solves all your problems not only by providing educational resources but with opportunities to make money through things like drop shipping.

He said taking stock of bad financial habits is also crucial to managing your money as well as reading books such as Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Think and Grow Rich, the Science of Getting Rich, and the Art of Selling.

Durity would love to get his Twist It Up comb into the Caribbean but for now, is focused on the US market. He said prior to the pandemic he visited Trinidad regularly and looks forward to returning again soon.


This article was originally published on Loop News (

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