Ashley Crews knew she was good at styling hair so she turned it into a business! She educates people on natural hair and how to style and maintain it. Read our interview with the lovely Ashley below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I was always taught to go to school get a good job and work until retirement. Which sounds good, but then I thought about how old I would be by the time I retired, and I just couldn’t see myself being completely satisfied with my life that way. I knew that in order to get something different for myself, I was going to have to do something different. One day at work my coworker complimented my hairstyle and when I told her I did it myself she encouraged me to start a business. I always have been a motivated person, but it wasn’t until I surrounded myself around like minded and ambitious individuals that I fully became inspired to begin my own business. I also believe in having more then one income source to live life abundantly – so starting a business on the side was a start for me.
Tell us about your business.
I am a natural hair care and travel stylist. My business, HairVentionZ, was created to partner with the natural hair community to inform and provide quality natural hair care services, natural hair advice, products and most importantly styling services for natural hair in the convenience of one’s home. I also intended for my business to offer affordable prices tailored to little girls so they can grow up confident in themselves loving and learning about the beauty of natural hair while keeping their parents’ pockets happy. HairVentionZ has been around for 3 years now and started out as a gift to bless others with not knowing it would grow so rapidly.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I had to brand myself. Since I learned how to style my own hair before anyone else’s I was able to be my own walking hair model, which allowed me to build my clientele quickly. I began to make flyers and started to post pictures of my work on social media. I also made sure I was well prepared by obtaining the necessary tools needed to provide my services.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Networking is the root to success. I’ve heard many times “your network is your net worth” so I continuously build networks. I talk to everyone everywhere about what I do and what I provide. I have created multiple business pages on social media and I always hashtag, in order for new followers to see my work. I always tell my clients I love referrals and I offer incentives.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I would have to say time management. In the business world there never seems to be enough time to complete all you want to. The more I began to network the more I have been presented with opportunities and projects that take time to complete.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have been working on my time management skills by setting boundaries for all that I do. If there are 7 days in a week I would choose two days with a specific time bracket to reorganize and to catch up on new projects. I also have created a to do list and daily schedule so I can stay on track.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
When times get difficult I stop and do what make’s me happy… hair. I would practice on myself, my mannequin, or I would watch YouTube videos to stay abreast of new styles and products so I am better prepared for up and coming appointments. This also allows me to provide great customer service and increase my knowledge in my area of expertise.
How did you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
First and foremost I keep a creative mindset. I then communicate with my clients to see how they are doing and inform them of any changes I am thinking to upgrade my business. For example, I wanted to open a shop but my clients adore the idea that I travel to them, they stated they dislike the salon due to high volume wait times. This makes my business unique.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
The best advice I received was to create hair videos, as a way of growing my business. So I have partnered with a Ed-tech company hairpiq.com which creates instructional videos for hair enthusiasts and professionals.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Expect the unexpected! Life as an entrepreneur is very exciting and challenging, which can create lots of mixed feelings. If you adopt that mindset you can overcome anything.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I love the styleseat app. It’s free, it tracks everything about my clients, and it also sends a reminder to them so they can confirm their appointments.
What social media outlets do you use?
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Think and grow Rich” by Dennis Kimbo.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am currently looking for expansion with my business. I will begin to shadow some natural hair salons and conduct interviews on how they have built their business.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I have recently received my certification in Nutritional Therapy and I am looking to add nutritional hair care services to my brand. I am working on a business plan and a name for this add-on business deciding if it would be its own. I also plan to offer children’s nutrition fitness programs targeting after school programs, community centers and schools.