I spend a lot of time reflecting during this time of year. I look back on the choices I have made and evaluate the life lessons I’ve learned. This season is also an opportunity for new beginnings; a time to choose a new path and start with a clean slate. Have you considered what will be your catalyst for an epic year? How will you fill the blank pages of the New Year? Answer these questions with one (1) of the seven (7) ideas listed below.
1. Hair Vision Board
Do you have hair goals you want to accomplish this year? Making a hair vision board is a creative way to start the year. A vision board is an amazing tool for visualization. It’ll help you establish your intentions, clarify your goals, and create a plan of action. I’m the type of girl who thinks experiences are better shared. Why create your vision board alone when you can host a virtual vision board party with your curl friends via Zoom!
2. Try Something Different
Trying something different is always better with friends! Virtual group activity events are very popular right now. There is a wide range of activity options from virtual paint-and-sips to happy hours. You can organize a Curl Friend Zoom Party and learn something new together. Forewarning, these group activities are full of fun and laughter. Your curl friends will want you to plan more events throughout the year!
3. Invest In Yourself
This is a great resolution for my fellow natural hair influencers. Take an online class, webinar, or course that will help you better serve your audience. We should be “forever” learners and willing to invest in our craft. The topic possibilities are endless! From marketing to hair care classes find something that’ll interest you.
4. Love Your Tribe
Life is too short! Stop wasting time and energy on people that are not an asset to you. Love on those who both uplift and inspire you to be a better version of yourself. Find ways to show them how much you appreciate the role they play in your life. Gestures such as thank you cards and small gifts are fantastic!
5. Take A Mini-Vacation
For your mini-vacation, you can book a room at a local hotel or resort and unplug. Another option is a staycation; you can stay at home or camp-out in your backyard and unplug. Unplug by taking a break from your electronics and doing relaxing activities. Who doesn’t love an evening stroll or great book? I know I do and you can do them all during your vacation!
6. Get More Organized
If you function better in clutter, this one is not for you! Organized things allow me to be more creative. Clutter has a negative affect on my productivity and mood. A clutter-free environment is also a pathway for me to get things done quicker. If clutter free sounds like something you need in your life, strive to get more organized this year.
7. Focus on Self-Care
Curl friends please make time for yourself! Sow into your well-being whether its physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. To be your best self for others you have to replenish and restore yourself. Self-care can be something as simple as daily meditation or reading a few chapters of a book. Self-preservation is not a selfish gesture. It is something much needed for your health.
I hope you found this list helpful. Is there anything else you would add to this list? If so, feel free to place it in the comments.
Tonya Cross - Accessory Designer
Accented Glory has gain a lot a visibility this year and we're LOVIN' it! Many small businesses have experienced setbacks with the global pandemic this year. Accented Glory was fortunate to pivot early and has had much success even amidst Covid-19. It is truly a blessing to be in alignment with your vision and purpose!
We're excited to announce that we ended the year with a bang! We now have the title of Accessory Business Of The Year by Buy From a Black Woman (BFABW). BFABW is a non-profit organization that supports Black women entrepreneurs by providing tools and resources that enables them to be successful. They offer educational programs, funding, and a directory listing for their organization members.
During the month of November BFABW celebrates Buy From A Black Woman Awareness Month. Throughout the month they host giveaways and events. Accented Glory is excited to be a part of this amazing organization and believe we have found out tribe!
Below are some additional features our visionary and accessory designer Tonya Cross has been a part of this year. Click on names to read and/or listen!
Black Profits Feature
Cornell Report (Mention Paragraph 5)
Enterprise League Feature (Our project is #19)
The Spirit Talks Podcast
Women’s Entrepreneurship (Mention Paragraph 14)
Cierra - AKA Accessory Diva
Meet Accented Glory's #BeDifferent Feature Zahra! Zahra is a health and wellness blogger at The Natural Journey For Life. Read below to learn what being different means to her!
Being different means acknowledging the uniquely wonderful person that you are. Not apologizing for seeing the world unlike others and living in your true skin and loving your true skin and hair no matter what the trends of the day are. - Zahra
Accented Glory's visionary had the pleasure of connecting with high end fashion designer Avnah Long, back in 2013. Our sister organization The Vine Events featured her for a "Black History In The Making" article. Our visionary and Avnah are from the same home town in North Carolina! Avnah now resides in Atlanta, Georgia where she launched her crochet swimwear and clothing line brand AVNAH Collection.
Her designs have been worn by various celebrities, such as Kelly Rowland and Cynthia Bailey. She has also been a featured designer during New York Fashion Week (NYFW)! We're thankful that she granted us an interview where she shares about her experience as a natural in fashion. Check out her interview below!
What inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
I began my career in fashion as a crochet designer creating swimwear and clothing pieces, but I was inspired to expand my fashion line actually from my great grandmother Ida Davis that use to sew herself. I use to watch her as a child sew little thing around the house. Starting as a crochet designer was good for me, but it took a long time to make certain pieces as my visions grew. So, I started teaching myself how to sew. As I began designing pieces by using a sewing machine, it opened up a whole world for me as a designer. I was able to put pieces together faster than it would take me to crochet by hand and I was able to incorporate structure, play with fabrics and use other elements that allowed me to create a line that was diverse.
Being a featured designer during NYFW is an amazing accomplishment! What impact has it had on your career?
Being a featured designer during NYFW is always an awesome experience in itself, because the platform is so great. I was able to present my collection on a platform where many people in the audience is of some influence in the fashion industry. I meet a lot of people who connected me with textile suppliers, buyers, and gave me great feedback on the line in general. All of that is important when you're building a brand.
Share with us about your natural hair journey. What kind of experience has it been?
My natural hair journey started in 2003, when I decided to do my big chop. It was also around the same time that I opened my first salon in Atlanta. Many people don't know that I am a Master Cosmetologist and hair was my first passion. As my hair grew out some, I went through the twa (teeny weeny afro) phase until I could maintain my twist outs. Then I decided to loc my hair. I had locs for five year and I've big chopped three times since then. Now I'm just letting it grow out. I shampoo and sometimes co-wash, I use a shea butter mixture and I keep it braided up for protective styling. If I do wear it out, it's usually pulled back into a puff or I'm wearing it out in an afro.
With celebrities like Taraji P Henson embracing their natural hair, do you think it'll have an influence on the fashion world? Will we see more naturals on the runway?
I think a lot of celebrities and people in general are finally starting to embrace their hair. I am seeing more people on the runways wearing their natural hair and I actually tell many of my models not to straighten their hair for my shows. For the longest time people thought you had to have straight hair to look presentable, tamed, or well put together. Now we are loving and embracing the hair we were born with. Our hair is beautiful! There are so many textures and to have healthy hair that is thick, soft, curly, and can be styled beautifully is more important to a lot of people than being over processed with chemicals.
What's next for AVNAH Collection?
I have so many projects that I am working on including an accessories line. The accessory line includes neck pieces and I'm currently creating the beauty bangles. I'm also revamping the online store to make it easier for customers to purchase. I'm just having fun creatively right now. Whatever God puts in my spirit to create is what I'm working on. It's so much better for me right now to do it this way. I'm just in a really good spot right now with my brand and I'm excited to share the accessory line with my customers.
Avnah Long of AVNAH Collection
Since being natural I have been able to love and appreciate myself more! I have learned to love my hair for what it is - kinky, coily and a little frizzy! It has been an awesome journey learning my hair and making the right choices to bring my hair to its healthiest. Though I have had some difficult moments with my hair, overall being natural is the best thing I could have done for my hair - it is healthier, thicker, longer and stronger and the last time I recall my hair like this, I was a young child. Then, I did not really appreciate my hair type but now I have embraced its uniqueness. I know to some, maybe many, it's "just hair" but being able to truly love and accept my hair has boosted my confidence and creativity and I'm excited to be able to encourage others to experience this journey as well!
Morgan (Instagram: The4cProject)
I started my natural hair process in 2013, however, I didn't truly embrace the idea of being natural until 2015. When I started the process in 2013 it was simply because my hair was extremely damaged due to dying and relaxers. I decided I would give up the relaxers in an effort to maintain my color....I just wasn't ready to go gray.
Well, let's fast forward to 2015. On July 1, 2015, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Prior to the start of chemotherapy I was told I would loose my hair in about 14 days. My oncologist was right. In two weeks I was bald.
Five months after being completely bald, I embraced being natural. In January 2016 my new hair blossomed. Although, I love this brand new, chemical free, beautiful hair, I do understand, "I am NOT my hair."
Being natural my entire life has given me the opportunity to experience versatility in hairstyle choices over the years and especially in most recent times. However, I can easily recall when salons were inundated with Cosmetologists providing a variety of hair relaxers/perms, hair straighteners and chemical treatments to their clients and being natural was rare.
Growing up, I was happy that I didn't experience the horror stories that my friends shared about scalp irritation, head sores, chemical burns or hair breakage after they acquired a relaxer or chemical treatment. However, I have been burned a few times on my ear and scalp by the notorious pressing comb. During those times, being natural provided me with a uniqueness that heightened my self-esteem. Possessing natural hair wasn't the norm and I liked being different.
I take a holistic approach to my health and being natural is part of it. I love looking for healthier alternatives for my hair, skin and food intake. Products/ chemicals that we put on our hair and scalp, over time, in addition to the food we eat, can negatively/positively impact our overall health and appearance of our hair. Natural hair responds well to the organic oils in my kitchen and I love it! Being natural, though not always popular, has truly been a blessing and I am thankful for my mother passing the torch from her mother to be natural and stay natural.
Choosing to wear my hair in its natural state has allowed me to be able to embrace my hair has built my self confidence. It has also influenced my daughter's to love their natural hair too. My girls are my motivation and knowing that they embrace their hair at an age where appearance means so much is awesome to me. They are in the 7th and 9th grade.
When I first started the natural hair process, I chose to wear locs. As I continued to grow and learn as a person, I wanted my hair to grow with me. The process of achieving a goal in life to me was very similar to how my hair grew. The beginning process was hard; I had to stay focus and dedicated. As time went on, my hair continued to grow and learn it's pattern. It became something beautiful. Then I started a new cycle in my life and cut my locs. I continue to keep my hair in its natural state, because it was now a part of who I am. My hair has its own natural hair pattern and continues to transform as it grows, just as I do!
Even though the process of washing and styling my hair has increased in time, I feel my hair is much healthier. I also feel like my skin looks better without the relaxer chemicals being applied to my scalp. I get complimented much more on my hair now then I did when it was relaxed.
Cierra has been a part of Accented Glory since its launch in June 2013. Outside of being an "Accessory Diva", she's a millennial who's currently navigating adulthood. Click Not One Of Your Little Friends to check out her podcast!