In today’s post I am going to talk about being a beauty entrepreneur and what it means to get support from customers as a black owned beauty business.
In 2009 I took an opportunity to start my own boutique. I spent the next 8 years building my business from just a boutique eventually expanding to a Spa and a Salon with about 7 employees. My main mission with my business was to introduce customers to natural ingredients. My salon was the first salon to really educate women in Zambia about natural hair. We were one of the first salons to sale natural hair products such as Cantu and Shea Moisture. We were well known for bridal makeup because we were the first to do airbrush makeup using natural makeup that did not contain parabens. This difference in my business compared to other businesses made my business grow to a point where we had ambassadors and on a few occasions, we even had to open the salon earlier to service the president’s wife
I would buy products here in the USA and send them to Zambia by ocean freight. I would travel between the USA and Zambia every few months. I would be away from my husband for 3, 4 months at a time. I did this before the kids and even after having kids, I would travel with my kids. This business had become my baby. After 8 years I had to make one of the biggest decisions. My kids were growing up and my oldest was going to kindergarten. I had to decide where my heart was, whether it was worth taking my kids out of school for months. I grew up in a home were my parents were always there. My father used to travel a few times. It is interesting the one time that has stuck in my mind was the time he went to the USA for 1 month. Reflecting on my experience I felt like I was sacrificing way too much for my business. The idea that one day I would hear my kids say you were never there, or we never had a stable home because we had 2 homes. That did not sit well with me. I definitely could have left the business to be run by my manager. If you have a business I have to tell you this you, the visionary of the business has to be there. Not all the time but your presence needs to be felt. It is one thing to have people that can implement and follow directions but if the vision is not continuously pumped in or emphasized, the business can lose its direction. Losing the direction was something I was not willing to see and my family was number 1.
When I look back I can’t tell you just how much that business taught me. If you have ever wanted to own your own beauty business please subscribe to this podcast because I will give you all the knowledge you need to start your own hair or beauty business.
When I started my business, I had no one to offer advice to me. Then once I started, I couldn’t reach out to other entrepreneurs in the same industry. There is always this feeling that you can’t ask another business owner questions because that is your competition. It is just reality. So, who do you turn to when you are an entrepreneur? Listen my first year of being an entrepreneur I felt like I was a fireman. Everyday, I was putting out a fire. I had vendor issues, employee issues, I was a wife, trying to keep a family.
Talk about stress.
So many times I remember thinking “This was not what I signed up for”
Let me tell you what made a difference, it was the customers. The customers that believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. The customers that kept coming back and the customers that told their friends about my products. It is the customers that would send me emails to say hey can you please send 4 extra conditioners, or can you find a black lipstick because no one here sells black lipsticks. Those customers made my dream come true of being an entrepreneur.
So during this holiday I just want to encourage you all to go out and buy from beauty brands/ businesses that are making a difference and especially small businesses. There is so much that goes into growing a business. If you are a beauty business owner you know what I am saying. As a customer help an beauty entrepreneur by supporting them because it means a lot.
I have put together a free download with over 100 beauty brand businesses small and big. Mostly small enterpreneurs who sale natural & beauty products for hair & skin. The download has direct links to their websites .100 Beauty Brands Business
Happy holiday shopping
You can download the entire list of 100 beauty Brands to support 100-Beauty-Brands-Business.pdf (119 downloads) .