As a little girl, I loved to watch my mom braid hair and I would practice on my cousin’s hair every chance I got. My interest led me to study traditional African hair braiding along with modern styles in Togo, West Africa for 4 years, for which I received a certificate of completion. When I got to the United States, I decided to continue to improve my skills in a saloon, learning new and trendy styles.
Being a hair braider makes me happy. I love seeing the smile on people’s faces after braiding their hair – that first look at a new hair style! My customers are always amazed by the beauty of their braids, how it complements the customer, despite the short time I take to braid their hair. I offer quick service and this skill was not learned in day or a year – it happened with many years of training and practical experience.
Like many other beauty business owners, Covid-19 had a significant impact on my business and changed many things, including the way I worked.
1.) Quitting my day job.
Before opening my shop, I worked all day as a nanny and typically came back home to braid at night – usually for a select group of clients and just because of my love for braiding. After many years of working and braiding, I felt it was time to let go the full time job and focus on braiding, so I decided to quit my job and braid hair full time. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job and I love helping people, but I am happier when I braid.
2) Opening my own shop – Divine African Hair Braiding
Since I had perfected my braiding skills, I felt it was time to formally go into business and get a shop so that I could reach more customers. It was challenging to find the right location; most available shops were very expensive. We finally found a very beautiful place at 9002C Lanham Severn Road, Lanham Maryland, with enough square footage, a waiting area and ample parking – we decided to go for it! Having a shop means more responsibility and more customers and I was able to hire staff to help attend to clients and braid them as well. As a result, we take a short time to do tiny braids or twists which are usually time consuming to braid. Not everyone wants to be sitting down for hours to have their hair braided – time is precious. Most of our customers come back to us because we take a short time to deliver intricate and beautiful styles of braids.
3) Adapting to Covid-19 protocols
Things have changed – I follow all protocols, as the safety of my clients is very important to me. I’ve allotted more time in-between clients. Everyone’s a ninja now (smile) — as in all stylists and clients wear face masks for the entire appointment. I also use a UV sterilization light, plastic face shield, gloves and there’s hand sanitizer everywhere! This makes it possible for me to still get the job done with love and care for my clients, as usual.
4- Marketing my business
Though my shop is near a main road and easily visible to customers, I still needed to reach customers who are searching for business online, so I decided to create a website www.divineafricanhairbraids.com, Instagram account and Facebook Page for my business. I also listed my business in the online directory for entrepreneurs of African descent, Iwing Marketplace. Creating an online presence has helped me attract many clients/
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is work hard for what you want, and never let anyone tell you you’re not good enough. Don’t compete with anyone except the person that you used to be. What’s meant for you will always be for you. Most importantly, thanking my husband for his love and support in opening and maintain my business!
Book Divine African Hair Braiding: Store: 301-841-7808 Cell: 240-593-7966Open Mondays to Sundays from 7 am to 7 pm – 9002C Lanham Servern Road Maryland Visit Divine African Hair Braiding on Iiwing Marketplace
Connect With Iwing Marketplace
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