Developing My First Business at 17!
Updated: Feb 20, 2019
For as long as I can remember I’ve always been interested in business. Something I definitely got from my father. All through high school I would research business ventures and ways to earn extra income. I had many scholarships but I knew I needed some extra cash to live off of while school was in session. I thought long and hard about it, then it dawned on me... why not take something I love dearly (HAIR) and sell that. Since I was about 14, I’ve been doing sew ins, braids, creating u-part wigs and even silk presses for friends and family. The more practice I got in, the better I became and I began charging for my services. So adding my own hair extension brand under my name was the perfect plan! Keep in mind, I was only 17 when I graduated from high school due to my late birthday. My business plan was set in stone by my 18th birthday, which was the day I chose to launch my hair extension line!
When I began my research regarding hair extensions, wigs, etc, I found it to be pretty overwhelming. There was so many things I had to do as well as learn to be sure my hair boutique would be reputable. My main role model at the time was @iamminglee.
I had watched her for so long. She started from the bottom and turned her Snob Life Hair Extensions/Snob Life Studio Salon into a million dollar brand! She never ceases to amaze me. I would still love to meet her in person one day! I went through tons of vendors in several areas until I found the best one in India. You’d never believe how many people I face timed across the country. After establishing a good rapport with my vendor, our business relationship flourished from then on.
I created my own website, shot a commercial and even created merchandise to sell along with my hair extensions. I also had a group of distributors that would buy hair from me, at a wholesale price, then sell the extensions under my brand name “Sassy Chic Hair Extensions” in their area. For those wanting to expand their business to surrounding states, that’s an easy way to get started. Networking was the key to my success in the hair industry. As I traveled, I would pass out business cards or leave them in boutiques in every city.
I even met a few celebrities including Shay Johnson from Love and Hip Hop @iamshayjohnson who did wear my extensions. Early one morning I remember receiving a call from New York City and I’m wondering “who the heck is calling me from New York this early!” I answer and on the other end was Kiki Kamanu (Nigerian Fashion Designer) @kikikamanu. She informed me she met a girl on her plane in New York that had my Brazilian curly hair extensions installed and she just had to have some bundles for a photo shoot she was doing. I remember packaging the hair up super neat the same day and shipping them overnight to her before her next flight. Crazy, right?! IG model @Matikaaah, most know her from hanging out with @indialove but she’s made a name for herself as well through social media, wore my hair extensions also. For several months she went through each type and assisted in promoting my brand via social media. With all the networking, I was able to increase my sales. By doing giveaways as well as making my base prices super affordable, sales were always booming
I used this extra income to pay for things such as scrubs, shoes, books, medical equipment needed for clinical and much more! Some of us didn’t have the luxury of growing up with two parents, both with decent paying jobs who were able to take care of the simple things. Unfortunately my dad passed away when I was 2 years old and my mom retired early on disability from teaching due to her Multiple Sclerosis. With her raising me as a single mother on a fixed income, I didn’t want to add anymore stress to her plate. I always hustled and worked hard for everything I’ve had over the years because I knew nothing was going to be handed to me. I was blessed with my first job at 16 years old in a pharmacy and hadn’t stopped working since. I decided to let my hair boutique come to a close once I got into my last two semesters of clinical. Life got very busy and it was super difficult to keep up with the flow of orders and shipments. Had I had more help, I’m sure it would be even bigger now! It was great while it lasted. On to the next venture!
I share this story with you all to hopefully inspire those that find themselves in a similar situation. If you want something, you have to go for it! Don’t expect people to always support you either. I can count the number of friends who actually purchased my products on one hand. There will be people that will constantly try to knock you down and bash your business but guess what? What’s for you, will always be for you! Their negative thoughts will not change the amount of orders you’re receiving. People fail to realize that there’s enough room in this world for everyone to win! When you’re in Walmart, on every aisle you will probably find the same product with a different brand name labeled on it; yet all those brands are still making a profit. We are so caught up in wanting to be the first to do something or so concerned with others copying us, that we are the culprit of our own downfall. If you believe in yourself and your product, you’ll never fail!
If you have a business venture or you are providing a service and you’re having trouble figuring out how to get started, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Developing a plan is the hardest step most times. I can hook you up with the best people to help get the job accomplished or assist you myself for a fee. The right promotion is key these days! Also remember, YOU are your BRAND. Brand yourself! Potential customers should feel like they know and can trust you. Use yourself and your story to make your brand! BE YOU!
Just a few gems 💎 to help you get started!
I’m always here to help!
The Fabuleux Nurse