At the age of 13, James “Marial” Hoffman went through a devastating loss when his big brother Rudolph was shot and killed due to gang violence, prompting his family to leave Chicago.
“My family and I moved to Alabama to get away from all the crime and gang violence because my parents didn’t want anything to happen to me,” said Hoffman. “I attended high school in Alabama and I remember how much I hated being away from my friends in Chicago.”
Hoffman eventually graduated from high school, played basketball at a few different junior colleges, and decided that he would move back to Chicago after completing barber school — as he knew there would be more opportunities for him to earn money.
When he finally made his move back to the city, he realized there was a void within his community.
“There’s not enough entrepreneurs that are doing something positive in my community,” said Hoffman. “In my hood either you play a sport or you sell drugs to try to make a way out. I feel like the kids need to see it from another perspective.”
That’s when Hoffman decided to be part of the change and try something new that he was passionate about.
“I have always wanted to have waves since I was young, my dad had me using the bottle towel and that sporting waves grease. I used to go in the beauty supply stores with my momma and I used to see the SCurl boxes and wish I could get my face on there.”
With those childhood memories always lingering in the back of his head and his talent of working with hair, Hoffman prayed about it and created his own brand, named Marial Wave.
“I am the typical young man from Chicago who lost family members to the gang violence. I had the dream and drive to try to make it and do something different. My Marial Wave Pomade is the best hair pomade out right now, especially if you’re looking for a great shine or hold, and it’s also great for dry scalp. It’s light, not as greasy as the other pomade products.”
The all natural hair items can now be purchased at two stores in Chicago (Chicago Urban Beautique on 13th and Madison and Beauty Gallery on 25th and Washington), two stores in Alabama, and at a St. Petersburg, FL location.
Marial notes that even with the struggles he has experienced, from losing his brother to adjusting to life in a new city, he knows how fortunate he really is to be able to start his own business and make his dreams come true.
“I am a walking testimony, God has blessed me. If you invest in doing something positive for yourself, being a local entrepreneur is the way to go.”