My Journey Gave Me Inspiration
Most would probably classify me as a natural hair veteran. I began my natural hair journey in 2001, before the natural hair movement regained its popularity post 60s and 70s. Like most, when I first started out, I struggled with finding hair care products that met my natural hair needs. It was also difficult to find hair accessories. Most hair accessories in retail stores catered to a much younger demographic and were not natural hair friendly. So here I was, in a dilemma. I wanted to dress up my new natural tresses with age appropriate accessories, without damaging my hair.
Fast-forward 12 years later, after raising three beautiful daughters who are also naturals, I picked up a new hobby – crafting hand-made hair accessories. The hobby was both a time filler and therapeutic. Once I had a few prototypes created, I was surprised to find that my daughters liked the designs and started to wear them regularly. Soon they began to request specific designs, like the afro puff holder, to accent certain natural hairstyles. Other natural haired women started to notice our hair accessories and asked where we got them. When they found out I made the accessories, they wanted to purchase my products! So my daughters and I took a leap of faith and launched a handcrafted hair accessory brand for women called Accented Glory.
Many positive things have been birthed through my natural hair journey, most of which are related to my brand. Before starting Accented Glory, I had no entrepreneurial or marketing experience. With the guidance of my oldest daughter and small business online groups, I've learned a lot in the past few years about marketing and entrepreneurship. I’ve also built a natural hair Facebook group community, Accented Glory Naturals, of 300+ members that I co-manage with my daughters.
The relationships I have established as an entrepreneur have been great. I’ve met other forty plus female entrepreneurs who have decided to pursue their passions later in life too. Many of us are balancing full time jobs while building our brands. I’ve chosen to keep my full time job because I have two daughters in college. The steady income from my 9-5 helps to ensure their tuition is paid. Although having a full time job and business can be stressful at times, I'm thankful that my three daughters are actively engaged in helping me build the Accented Glory brand. I honestly couldn't do it without them - they have truly become my tribe; my support system!
Lastly, my natural hair journey has taught me a lot about myself, my passions, and my drive. Whether it's building a brand or mastering a flat twist style, with the right tools, I can do anything I put my mind to. Building my own brand has helped me to discover my passion to create beautiful things by hand. Now anyone can reap the benefits of this passion when they wear my hair accessories. Accented glory fosters my daily drive to be a better version of myself and to turn obstacles into stepping-stones. I can’t wait to see where my natural hair journey will take me next.
Tonya – Visionary and Accent Designer of Accented Glory
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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!