We had the good fortune of connecting with HairDiva Nicole and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi HairDiva, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I started my business my thought process was to create a career for myself that only I could control the outcome. I had just been laid off from my job at the county clerk of courts. I was tired of the let downs of not being able to advance and the minimum wage most jobs were offering weren’t enough pay all my monthly expenses. Hair is something that I have always been consistent with. So when I was laid off it was like this is your chance to chase your dreams. My parents paid for my braiding license in June of 2009. Since then I have been building and branding my business.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love to consider myself as a artist of hair. I believe my clients hair is my canvas. I am thankful that my clients trust me to enhance their appearance. The difference between me and most stylist is that I care about my clients on a professional and personal level. When most of my clients sit in my chair that allows me to get to know more about them. I genuinely care about them and want them to have the best experience while in my care. I also do my best to send a text or call to check in on them from time to time. First impressions are everything and also allows you to gain long term clients. My journey to being who I am today professionally started in June of 2009. I was laid off from my job and after that I knew I didn’t want anyone else to have control over how I made my income. I started out as a braider. After a few years of building my clientele I knew I wanted to continue growing in the hair industry so I decided to go to cosmetology school. At the time I chose an accelerated program in 2013. Of course it was more expensive and the schedule was very tight. I couldn’t miss any days or be tardy. If you did you would risk getting suspended. That would then push your completion date past your contract end date and cost more money. Needless to say I didn’t make it past the first 6 weeks. I got suspended for being absent after a car accident and tardy the next day after a dr appointment. I withdrew from the program and went back to working full time doing hair. A year passed by I tried again at another cosmetology school that you had to pay out of pocket and it was a hour away from where i lived. That only lasted about a month. I couldn’t work like I was use to so it cut down on my income. Then I wasn’t able to keep up with the payments for the school. So I stopped going and went back to doing hair full time again. Fast forward to 2015 the last and final school. I attempted one more time to go to cosmetology school. I mentioned to the teacher that this was my third time and I pray that I could complete the program. My teacher told me on the day of signing up that she didn’t care what I had going on I would finish this time. After orientation I wasn’t feeling well but didn’t think anything of it. I went to the dr the next day just to make sure I was okay. They ran some test and i was told I wouldn’t get the result until a few days after, which was day I was suppose to start school. I ended up getting a call that Monday on my first day to find out I was pregnant. That was even more of a reason to finish school now because I would have someone else to depend on me. Through severe morning sickness, lack of energy, dr appointments and my teacher pushing me. I completed the program and challenged the board at 1000 hours and passed my test. If it wasn’t for my cosmetology teacher I wouldn’t have made it past the first month. She seen something in me more than I hadn’t seen in myself at that time. She stayed on me throughout the program. She even changed the hours of class make sure I made it on time everyday. She financially helped at times so I had no excuse to quit. After I finished I started working in a salon again and I haven’t looked back. I booth rented and tried to find the right salon. Then I went into a partnership with two other ladies. It didn’t work out but I learned so much from that experience. My clientele has grown so much I now have a dependable repeat clientele. I am making my own hair products and opening up my first salon in March of 2022. Getting to where I am today was not easy but it was worth it. The journey that it took me to get here I wouldn’t change it. It has taught me so much along the way and made me appreciate my growth so much more. The lessons I have learned along the way is that hard work and consistency is the key. Being consistent and continuing to perfect your craft allows you to grow in ways you won’t believe. As you evolve and your skill set gets better, so does your clientele. The money will come once you get better at what you do the right clients won’t mind paying you what your services are worth. I want the world to know that my brand will be known world wide and when I make it to where I’m going I want to be able to give back and help others.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend was visiting we would eat breakfast at Keke’s Breakfast Cafe. I love their pancakes. We would drive to Orlando to visit the premium outlets and do a little shopping. For lunch we would go to Mr and Mrs Crab seafood in Orlando. We would finish the night off by going to universal and going to the movies or enjoying some of their night clubs. The rest of the trip I would take her to Tampa to enjoy Clearwater beach. We would get a hotel with a beach front balcony. We would most likely eat breakfast at the hotel. Walk the strip and watch some of the entertainment near the pier. Visit some of the shops on the strip and eat some pizza at “We the Pizza”. While In Tampa we would visit the Lowry’s Zoo and the Tampa aquarium. I love going to arcades so we would also visit The Grand Prix. Then the rest of the trip we would relax and enjoy the beach.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would love to give thanks to God first, my parents, family, friends and clients. Thank you all for you love, encouragement and support.