4 Ways I Leveled up and How It Helped My Natural Hair Brand Expand

4 Ways I Leveled up and How It Helped My Natural Hair Brand Expand

If you have followed me for a long time then you know that my journey of entrepreneurship has had its struggles and its victories. Like everything else in life, there’s an ebb and flow. Years ago I had an incredible opportunity but I wasn’t prepared for it. I had to make a conscious effort to focus on my mind AND my business so I could succeed. Taking that time for myself did wonders. It taught me that sometimes I need to slow down and assess my goals and efforts. So right now I’m going to share with you 4 ways I leveled up my natural hair brand and how it helped me expand my brain. This blog is for my Curlfriends who work for themselves or own businesses. (But anyone can benefit from these tips!)

Years ago, I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a Natural Hair 101 event put on by the local Boys and Girls Club.

I had the pleasure of helping young ladies and their parents understand some natural hair essentials.  Like understanding hair texture and curl patterns, using the LOC method to properly cleanse and moisturize hair, and valuing self-worth (to combat stigmas and overcome identity crises).

It was a solid event that unexpectedly landed me a connection with the CFO of a nationwide multicultural beauty distribution company.  “Who are you and why don’t I know you?” He asked.

We made plans to meet in person a few weeks later.

I didn’t look at his card until after I left the event. I was blown away when I finally did. They sponsored the event I spoke at and both the COO and CFO attended as they have a particular interest in supporting community efforts.

Besides the obvious thankfulness to God for placing us in the same room, I was also grateful for the chance to finally meet with these executives.  A few incredible things happened that led to ways I leveled up and how It helped my natural hair brand.

I walked into that meeting fully prepared.  I had done my research on the company.  Mind you this was the second time around.  I looked into working with them a few years back but didn’t get far despite my numerous attempts.

In this meeting, I was asked about Brown Skin Women, so I gave the abridged version:

“As a young child, I imagined a better reality for myself. At age 20, I secretly began to see a therapist to get the help I felt I was incapable of giving myself. It was a desire to change my poor mentality caused by exposure to childhood trauma, identity crisis, living in poverty, teenage motherhood, and being the sole mom to a special needs child. Therapy helped me heal and improve my quality of life. I realized I couldn’t grow and stay the same. On this journey, I decided to embrace a holistic wellness lifestyle which started with doing the big chop. 

I created Brown Skin Women as a means to share my story, and lift Brown Skin Women and girls as I climb. It started as a virtual diary of my transition to embrace my hair in its natural state and developed into a community for women and girls who are inspired by holistic wellness because natural hair is SO much more than just hair.”

What I wasn’t expecting was for them to ask me about my company’s legal structure.

“Is this a legitimate company?” At the time it wasn’t. He told me candidly, I need to get it done immediately. If I planned to take the natural hair brand places, this part was essential.

It was clear I was passionate about this network and want the best for Brown Skin Women.  If I can live a comfortable life after overcoming SO much, so can anyone else.

I left the meeting with TWO proposals, valuable insight and a duffle bag full of products, and a million thank you’s to God.  Before the follow-up meeting, I knew I needed to level up.  If the approach I took could turn into meetings with leaders in major corporations, and many more, I could be doing so on a regular basis.

And the women in my Brown Skin Women community can win WITH me. Here how:

1. Clear Intentions 

I had a brainstorming session with my partner in life and business to become MORE clear on my focus.  He is an innovator who has an amazing ability to force me to think about the potential challenges and weaknesses that I tend to turn a blind eye toward.  He also has a background in corporate finance so he helped me think about the money coming in and out (which is something I would normally shy away from).

We came up with healing through 7 dimensions of Holistic Wellness as the focus and approach.

Many of us aren’t living our healthiest lives. While our wounds are not our fault, healing is our responsibility. Recovery is how we cultivate operating from a place of clear intention within our personal lives and even our business.  This led to the creation of our official Holistic Wellness Guide which doubles as our brand values and focuses.  It also allows us to strategically approach brands and businesses that can extend our efforts to help our community heal and grow.

I immediately worked with my team to create our brand new deck to target companies we want to work with.  It’s already proving to be a game-changer.

2. Level Up

The incredible thing about having clear intentions is it helps you stand for something.

You say no to what doesn’t align (and you know almost immediately what doesn’t because in your own life and business you have defined what does).

Value your values.

Make sure you dot all i’s and cross all t’s.

You level up in small ways that make big changes for your brand. This is what I did with legitimizing my company’s brands, Brown Skin Women and Goal Digging Women.  We worked with an attorney to protect all ends of the business, and the state to make sure registrations and taxes are being handled properly. Things like our privacy policy and terms and conditions were created. My attorney suggested I proceed with caution with any business I plan to work with who do have its own legal structure in place. Many businesses aren’t protecting themselves.

Getting organized not only allowed room for internal growth, it means setting us up for partnership opportunities with more brands that align and are complimentary.

What I’m getting at here is level up professionally and personally. Be picky and particular about who you work with, and why. Do they align with your bottom line? Are they level up in their own business? Is there a mutual compliment?

Be calculated with your moves.  It wouldn’t be a smart move to partner with someone who owns a fitness company when you own a florist shop.  Your best bet would be to partner with event planners and wedding venues.

Find out where you stand before you end up stood up.

3. Build Your Team

For a long while, I was a one-woman show and I had remained stuck in the same spot. The driver was:

  1. I wasn’t clear with my focus and intentions

  2. I wasn’t making enough money to hire anyone

  3. I didn’t know what I was doing

All of these challenges were easily fixed after doing research, investing in myself, and tapping into resources to help me learn how to be an efficient leader in my business.

I needed to make sacrifices with the way I spent and prioritized areas that would allow the company to grow.  This included paying fees for state and city registrations, like a DBA for Brown Skin Women under my events and media company.

A few months of sacrifice allowed me to get my business life all the way together.  I leveled up and made room for more of what matters. Like being able to bring on an operations manager who oversees all day-to-day operations. (More recently, I was able to bring on a marketing assistant to help me with social media and other forms of communication.)

I can focus on the big picture and make sure I am helping keep the company and its brands moving forward without delay and distraction.

I don’t think there is a way around making sacrifices to help your vision grow. Eventually, they will pay off.

4. Offer Products That Align & Serve A Purpose

I would use it to do things that I thought would be good and helpful to others.  While I was doing so whole-heartedly, I wasn’t doing so strategically.  I didn’t have an organization system in place, nor did I have a systematic process to follow that was both quantifiable (able to be measured) and actionable (step-by-step start-to-finish process).  This meant I didn’t know what was working and what wasn’t.  I was afraid of words like data analytics and knowing my numbers.

What all this means is I needed to pause EVERYTHING I was doing (weekly Monday Motivation emails included) to ask myself WHY? What is this for, who am I serving, and am I actually effectively serving them?  Those are tough questions to ask but necessary if you truly want to operate from a place of intention. It’s OK to stop and start over, so that’s what I did.  Considering my focus for this network is specifically on healing through the journey of holistic wellness, my team and I made changes.

We created a fun and uplifting challenges for our community to try. We offered helpful advice to Black-owned businesses, created a podcast, and made changes and tweaks that aligned with our natural hair brand. Here’s the catch that comes with this tip. You ALWAYS need to reevaluate your brand and what you offer your audience. We need to cater to our community while sticking to our beliefs. When the pandemic hit, I had to reevaluate the brand. I recognized a need my Curlfriends had (they wanted to learn how home hair care) and I began to provide a solution (virtual trainings.) In order to thrive, you must adapt and accommodate your audience.

What hasn’t changed is our Natural Hair and Beauty & Wellness Expos and live events.

Many of the things I mentioned above have transformed into something else. But at the time, they were changes that helped me focus on my natural hair brand. These steps allowed me to walk so I can run with Brown Skin Women today. Something that has remained the same is my love for in-person events. We recently held our Brown Skin Women Experience and it was a WONDERFUL time. We were able to give each of our guests an intimate and healing Saturday afternoon. They were able to celebrate their hair and themselves. And I loved EVERY second of it. I’m so happy to know that our guests loved it too. It’s important to me that our community has the chance to commune and lift each other up beyond our screens. For that reason, I will always strive to host in-person events.

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