What happened with the business pitch contest? PowerMoves

Thank you so much for your supportive likes and comments cheering me on during the PowerMoves Miami business pitch competition!  Every notification felt like a gentle and supportive pat on the back.  

Since you were there with me, I want to share  my business pitch update with you.

First and foremost, Miami Beach, FL and the famous Fountainbleu Hotel are simply beautiful.  My mind was racing! "Let's get my business moving forward; I gotta increase my revenue because I AM coming back!"

The PowerMoves pitch competition was an empowering and  motivational experience.  I recieved a great honor; PowerMoves hand-picked me to share ideas, get information, network and learn the ropes for pitching my business to venture capitalists.  I was schooled on financial metrics, the power of presentation and the entrepreneurial philosophy of layering your business foundation as best as YOU can; one layer at a time.  

Unfortunately, I didn't win the business pitch contest. It's all good!   Why?  Simply stated, I am confident that I walked away with some SERIOUS TOOLS for future success!.  For you see, I delivered a flawless and deeply passionate business pitch presentation; the audience laughed and cheered me on!  Yes, I gave it all I got! 

Even though I didn't win, I am so deeply grateful because I feel more empowered than ever before.  

Thanks to PowerMoves, I have great key points for updating my pitch, new resource tools for evaluating and forecasting my business plans, and some super new friends; people I know you will be reading about in the near future.  

By the way, I have a fun fact: the stage that I spoke on was the same stage that Whitney Houston belted out the song, I have nothing, in the film, Bodyguard.

If you are interested in learning more about the PoweMoves, please visit the website www.powermovesnola.org  

 

 

 

 

Is the Natural Hair Big Chop Necessary?

 

By Octavia Hooks

The weather is getting warm!  It’s time to set new goals and prepare for fresh beginnings.  Are you debating whether or not to Go Natural? If you answered yes, then this article is for you.    

There is so much Natural Hair information on the web.  Natural Hair has evolved to become a “do it yourself” project.  Over the years, I’ve learned caring and maintaining natural hair requires an open mind.  As a hair stylist, I benefit from professional experience which includes exposure to many natural hair styling techniques and knowledge of hair care products; along with an in-depth understanding of diverse hair types.   Since the industry is rapidly growing, I regularly review YouTube videos and blogs to learn and remain current on both the professionals and laypersons experience in styling natural hair.  To this end, I want to share my thoughts and offer four helpful tips for you to consider on your quest for cultivating healthy, natural hair.

Let’s get down to it!  -  YOUR Natural Hair Big Chop decision should be tied to a goal. 

If you decide to chop your Natural Hair, don’t be afraid!  Ask yourself questions.  Some questions to consider are below:

·         Do you like short hair?

·         What are your styling options?

·         Do you want color? 

·         What does natural hair mean to me?

Should you decide to rock natural short hair, you may want to purchase the twist brush sponge to add texture to your natural hair.  Consider purchasing a Nudred sponge, please visit www.nudred.com.   Also, ponder adding color; how you want to color to look?  Color adds an eye catching pop!  Caution:  please know color treated hair requires special care with moisture shampoos and deep conditioners. 

If you don’t want to chop your Natural Hair, ask yourself questions.  Some questions to consider are below:

·         How will you style your hair during the transition from chemical treated hair to natural hair?

·         When do you cut your hair?

·         Do you really want to rely on the flat iron for all your styling needs?  

You will be dealing with a combination of natural hair and processed ends.  In the beginning, natural hair and the chemical processed ends will work just fine.  You can style and flat Iron as usual. 

After about 3 to 6 months with no chemical treatments, there will be a very noticeable difference between your natural hair and your chemically treated hair.  Over time, you may decide to cut those ends.  I prefer to transition my clients from chemical to natural by gradually cutting their hair.  Perhaps, you may want to consider gradually cutting your ends on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.    

As for the flat iron, please remember….less is more.     If the flat iron is too hot, your risk permanently damaging your hair.  Many women natural hair clients report that their hair doesn’t return back to its natural state due to excessive flat ironing techniques.  

Tip #1:  Eat FRUITS AND VEGETABLES………Good Food + Good Health = Beauty

I see so many food and product conditioner concoctions.  It seems that the natural hair conversation is becoming more about products than about self- preservation. What’s missing from the natural hair dialogue is the commitment to overall health.  Therefore, I support the recommendation to eat your fruits and vegetables!   Try researching eating for healthy hair too.   I enjoyed reading the book, Eating for Beauty, by David Wolfe. 

Because of my overall commitment to beautifully growing natural hair, I proudly proclaim, we must eat and sometimes wear good food!   Recently, I discovered a natural hair conditioner recipe that called for an avocado.  To learn more about the benefits of the avocado, please follow the link http://www.newhealthguide.org/Avocado-For-Hair.html    

 

Tip #2:  NATURAL Hair Health

What’s your hair issue or challenge?  Most folks have two hair textures in their heads.  Use products that support your hair issues.  Please remember that hair products respond differently based on your hair type.  In the end, you will need to find the right products that work best with your natural hair. I strongly recommend you consult with a professional stylist to discover the products that work for you. 

For example, if you have color treated hair, try using shampoos and conditioners designed to support maintaining healthy, colored hair.  If you have dry, itchy hair and scalp, search for moisture building shampoos and conditioners.  

Tip #3:  Learn your hair type.  Love your hair type.   LOVE YOURSELF! 

Often, clients bring in hair style photos and say, “I want my hair like that!”  But here is the important glitch; they don’t have hair like the model.  For example, if you have 4C hair, don’t bring a photo in of someone with 3C hair and expect the same results.   To learn more about hair types, consider reading the book, Andre Talks Hair by Andre Walker.

Be inspired and learn from others and search the web.  When reviewing these sites, search for elegant hairstyle photos.  And guess what, you will discover you have many styling options.  With creativity, there is no limit. 

Given the constant  blossoming of the natural hair industry, there are so many blogs communities for every hair type.  As for me, I am a 4C.  I enjoyed the site, www.4chairchicks.com.   It was so great to find webpages dedicated to a community of women with hair like mine.

    

TIP #4   YOU CAN WEAR NATURAL HAIR AND APPEAR PROFESSIONAL IN THE WORKPLACE!

Natural hair is appropriate for your job.  To learn my story, read here.   http://octaviasnaturalhair.com/hair.blog/2013/07/navigating-the-corporate-world-while-rocking-natural-hair/    And guess what, there are other sites dedicated to support you in wearing your natural tresses to work.  Trying visiting http://www.rockitnapptural.com/2010/11/introduction-to-corporate-kinks.html   

Whether you decide to do a big chop or not, always remember every hair type is beautiful!  Learn your type, care for your hair, eat for beauty and express your hair with stylel   

Big Chop or not, always remember; God does not make junk!

If you have questions, please email me at Octavia_hooks@yahoo.com or follow me on facebook at octavia cuts locks hooks.  Or visit my web page at www.octaviasnaturalhair.com  

It’s the season to start locking your natural hair. Are you ready to take the plunge?

WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK?       When I first thought of wearing locks, I knew I would not be attractive. I don’t know why I thought I would not look ‘right’ in locks.  Looking back, my thoughts were absurd.  How could I not look ‘right’ with own hair?  Today, I realize my hair perceptions were caught up in the highly televised mainstream image of beauty.  However during the rise of Natural Hair, what’s holding you back?  Are you concerned about what your mother, cousin, best friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or husband will say?   Are you afraid of the so-called “ugly stage”? In the end, what will anyone really do to you?  Are you afraid of another person’s perception of you?  Does it really matter?  What’s the worst that can happen?   Do you think you won’t get a job?

Some people say hair is hair.  I think they are wrong.   Locks are more than a hairstyle.  Locks are a lifestyle.  Locks represent a new mind and lifestyle freedom.  Do you want to work out more? But you can’t….because of your hair?  Do your run for shelter in the rain?  Do you let your hair stop you from doing what you enjoy the most? Do you say, “I don’t want to sweat out my hair?”  If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then your hair limits you.

 Lifestyle tee

Lifestyle tee

SALON TALK

My natural hair salon is a place where stories are told, where visions materialize and where values pervade decisions.  My salon is a place folks go when they want to feel better and look better.  It’s also a place for planning community change.

 Earth day 2013 Group small Photo

Earth day 2013 Group small Photo

These days, you see lock wearers who are successful superstars, entrepreneurs and gainfully employed. Yes, lock wearers have illustrious hair and rock elaborate hair styles.  Yes, they look great.  However, I want to share how wearing locks has impacted so many people.

I want to share some wisdom I learned along my natural hair journey.

Lock wearers typically don’t subscribe to the mainstream beauty images.  They tend to be an eclectic group of folks who think outside-the-box.  In the salon, we have conversations from branding careers identities to childrearing and women leading in workplace.  My clients are PhD candidates, creative graphic designers, loving homemakers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, fiercely independent thinking grammar school children and undergraduate college students.  These hard working folks put in long work hours, nurture their children, contribute to their communities, study hard and adore their families.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying all lock wearers are perfect.  There are good and bad seeds everywhere.  However, I am proudly stating that lock wearers inspire my world everyday!  Truly, they are beautiful and successful with their own hair.

Did you know, lock wearers tend to make the following comments:

  •              My locks make me feel FREE!  I have Freedom!
  • ·            I want to be a good role model for my children.
  • ·            I don’t want chemicals in my hair.
  • ·            I want to grow my hair.
  • ·            I want my locks to look good.
  • ·            I want healthy hair.
  • ·            I need a lifestyle change.
  • ·            I am too busy. I lead an active lifestyle.  My hair must fit my life.
  • ·            I thought I would not have versatile hair.  I was dead wrong!
  • ·            I don’t know what took me so long to get my locks? Locks are the best.

Don’t’ let negative thoughts limit you from locking your hair.

Invest in yourself and start your locks today!

Call me for a lock consultation today or visit my website at www.octaviasnaturalhair.com

 Earth Day 4.22.12 (87 of 151)

Earth Day 4.22.12 (87 of 151)

Please read, like and share my blog.

Navigating the corporate world while rocking natural hair

I remember the anxiety I felt as I prepared for my first, post college job interview.  I read every article I could find on landing that great job.  I made my list and checked it twice; I had a great resumé, a blue suit, the college degree, and the sensible shoes.

I was ready to go.

However, I had just one slight concern.   My hair was freshly braided into the funkiest cornroll hairstyle.

Although I was prepared for the interview, I pondered about whether I was making the best presentation.  Did I look too afro-centric?  Did I look like an African American militant?

I had to look within.    I asked myself what’s more important?  Do I value my natural hair over my ability to pay my bills?   I knew the answer to that question in an instant.  My answer…. an emphatic ….No!

In that moment, my confidence to wear my natural hair drained out me like air out of a balloon.

To get some perspective, I spoke to some Baby Boomers who had that “good job”.   Their advice, “Baby you will never get that good job with your hair like that!”  Those words tore through my soul.   I felt horrible for being ashamed of my natural hair.  I felt defeated for not living up to what the baby boomers referred to as….status quo.

To remedy my “interview hairstyle” challenge, I drove to the store and bought a wig.   In the end, I got the job.   But, I never got over my yearning desire to wear my hair naturally.   So, I wore the wig to work for just over a month.  Then one day, I walked through the door with a fresh cornroll style.   To my surprise, I received so many great compliments.  In retrospect, I realize I regained my confidence to wear my natural hair.  In fact, my confidence soared to a new level.

Today, I am a Museum executive with 12 years fundraising and management experience.I haveadvanced skills in community relationship building, Museum audience development, art exhibition management, events management and strategic planning.  Also, I am a seasoned natural hair stylist, barber and master locktician.

During my career, I’ve been on several job interviews. I’ve landed some great jobs.  Also, I’ve interviewed potential employees too.  But, I promise you one thing……. I never, ever wore a wig to a job interview, to work or a black-tie event!     

Octavia and WVON Matt Mcgill
Octavia and WVON Matt Mcgill

5 transformational tips

As a natural hair stylist and business professional, I feel my role is to advocate and support others along their natural hair journey.  To this end, my 5 transformational tips are as follows:

  • Natural hair is not a trend.  It’s a lifestyle.   The decision to go natural is about more than just changing hair care products.   As a stylist, I’ve met many people who have shared with me their personal hair transformations; the change that inspired their decision to go natural.
  • The corporate world is changing.  Diversity and inclusion is a now a corporate priority.
  • Your work life is an extension of you.   Look for a job that fits you.
  • When preparing for an interview, make sure your resumé is a well-crafted document,  your suit and shoes looks great.  Also, seek out a natural hair stylist.  Consider cut, color and styling options.
  • During the interview, convey a great work ethic, highlight you work skills, smile and relax; show confidence and personality.

After all, you must consider that you work life is an extension of who you are.  If a company doesn’t hire you because of your hair, then that company is not the place for you.  (Can you imagine going to work everyday and not feeling accepted?   Can you imagine hiding who you are on a daily basis?)

In the end, you are not your hair.  You are a winner.   Let the best in you shine!    Most important, hold on to your confidence and faith; know that you will get the right job and promotion.

Today, I am sharing one of my favorite quotes:

                Be yourself because everybody else is taken!

~Oscar Wilde

3 helpful maintenance tips to combat the winter Natural Hair blues!

It’s cold in Chicago! One day, it’s bitter cold. The next day, it’s snow.   On Facebook, my friend wrote: I don’t wanna to see another FLAKE; and I mean no flakes; corn flake, frosted flake and snow flake!!  LOL

Ah yes, the harsh winter weather surely influences attitude, work life and outdoor activity.   But also, the extreme weather impacts hair!

These days, clients are complaining about dry, lackluster hair.  Many are experiencing dry scalp, thinning hair, dull hair and dandruff.     If you fall into these categories, then this message is for you.

Today, I am motivated to share my 3 best natural remedy tips for combating winter hair:

1)      Try an organic herbaceous, Apple Cider Vinegar rinse.   Apple Cider Vinegar is beneficial for thinning hair, helps with dandruff, stimulates scalp, conditions and aids in shine. {My clients love my custom Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. My blend takes away the pungent vinegar smell.}

Octavia's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Octavia's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

2)      STEAM, STEAM and STEAM!  Please give your hair steam treatments.   The steam allows conditioners to deeply penetrate the hair; which yields some very fantastic results.  If you don’t have a steamer at home, then consider visiting a stylist who offers steam treatments.  (Helpful hint: Step 1: shampoo, Step 2: apply the Apple Cider Vinegar rinse and Step 3: give yourself a steam treatment.)

3)      Don’t skip the Hot Oil Treatment!   My personal hair care maintenance includes monthly hot oil treatments.  {I personally hand-craft, organic olive oil and other essential oils to create my in-house specialty, Octavia’s Boss Blend.  It’s the perfect seal to lock in moisture after the intense vinegar and steam treatments.

Octavia's Boss Blend
Octavia's Boss Blend

Lastly, I must communicate that the natural remedy hair approach takes time!  To ensure hair healthy, the above listed treatments must be done routinely.   Yes, you will notice a difference after the first treatment.  However, you will continue to notice improvements with time.  To this end, you must be patient.

Now, you know why my hair shines!

Octavia
Octavia

I hope these tips aid you along your natural hair journey. If you have any additional questions, always feel free to inbox me on Facebook:   Octavia Cuts Locks Hooks or Twitter @lockartisan.

If you enjoyed my blog, please like, share with your personal network and continue to check in with me regularly.

Transform your natural hair color, organically! Try Henna today! (VIDEO)

Watch Natural Hair colored with Henna As a natural hair stylist, I feel compelled to offer good, caring customer service.  During my client consultations, I am asked about coloring hair.  The common hair color questions are  1) when to color your hair? 2) how to color your hair? and 3)  what are the best products for coloring your hair?   In this way, we begin hair color consultations.  First, I analyze the client’s hair; IE, Is the hair dry?  Is the hair strong?

During these careful hair evaluations, I discover that some clients are not good candidates for chemical hair dyes.   Also, I meet clients who have no desire to alter their natural hair with chemicals.   Because of these conversations, I want to empower natural hair enthusiasts to consider henna.

What is Henna? Henna is a plant.  Henna Dye is made by drying, milling, and sifting the leaves. The dry powder is mixed with lemon juice, strong tea, or other mildly acidic liquids to make a preparation with toothpaste-like consistency.  When applied to hair and skin, henna will create a color stain.

As a prospect henna user, you should know the following:

  • Henna color highlights your existing hair color, casts color shadows and is stimulated by sunlight; the color effects last up to 30 days
  • Henna is a natural conditioner.  It helps with hair strengthening and aids in shine
  • Organic henna color is red.  There are henna product lines that offer colors other than red, but these products will contain some additional chemicals to achieve a desired color.

What to expect from Henna?

I’ve artfully applied henna to many clients.  As a result, I’ve seen the hair color variations produced by henna.  {Check out the VIDEO}  Ultimately, the most noteworthy results I’ve witnessed from my henna clients are stronger, shiner and overall healthier hairs!     I hope you are empowered to try henna today.  Call me for a consultation. As always, please like and share the blog!.  My very best, Octavia

Learn 1 important tip for creating unique natural hai oil blends. (VIDEO)

Natural Hair Oils (VIDEO) It was another hot, summer day in July.  The Octavia’s Natural Hair Care team members took a break from natural hair salon work to attend and present at the DuSable Museum ‘s 39th annual arts and crafts festival. ( www.dusablemuseum.org )

This year’s DuSable Museum festival theme was DU SOMETHING GREEN.   The event showcased organic artists and craftsmen.  The festival's atmosphere grabbed you from the parking lot and drew in visitors like a piped piper with the head nodding, hip shaking live band music blasting through the main stage speakers.   The festival friendly aromas of Nag Champa incense, funnel cakes and jerk chicken filled the air.

Our team’s goal for the day:

  • Partner with the community organization, Blacks In Green (BIG).  For more information, please visit the website at www.blacksingreen.org
  • Support Local Vendors
  • Promote natural hair care services

Thanks to BIG's founder, Naomi Davis, I had the rare opportunity to share tent space with master clay and woodmaking artists.  Even though it was hot like fire, I remained steadfast in my mission to promote natural hair.  Despite the heat, I gave a brief presentation on how to infuse organic oils with herbs; ie: Octavia’s Boss Blend. (check out the video)

Complementing the day was a joyous opportunity to see my friend, Keith Pervius.  He is an extraordinary entreprenuer, artist who co-owns my favorite local graphic design company, Art on the Loose.

Even better, I supported a local hand-made jewelry vendor, Own your Own Image Boutique, mslista94@sbcglobal.net. and scored me some cultural bling.

Scoring great neck art

Great jewerly by the Own your Owen Image Boutique

 

 

If you are looking for more tips on natural hair oil blends and hair services, please call me for an appointment or a class at 708.574.1462

Consider these 5 tips when selecting your Natural Hair Stylist.

Lifestyle tee You did it!  You are natural.  Going natural is a big change.  As you travel along your hair journey, you will discover one of your biggest challenges is finding a natural stylist who advocates and supports you through your hair transition.

One of the greatest benefits to going natural is the ability to do it yourself, (DIY).   DIY hair is great, but it comes with a new set of challenges.  As a natural stylist, I hear so many issues:

  • My hair is dry. What do I do for moisture?
  • Why is my hair breaking?
  • What are the right products for my hair type?
  • Help! I’ve been flat-ironing my hair.  Now, my hair texture is different and doesn’t bounce back.

So the perplexed naturals instinctively begin to seek out a natural stylist.  But that’s precisely where you get stuck!  Which stylist is best for me?

If you are in this dilemma, I hope my blog will inspire clarity and support you in finding the right stylist. So today, I’d like to share what I learned along my journey in remaining an informed, licensed natural stylist.

There are many talented, licensed stylists working today.  These professionals are trained to keep your hair healthy usually specialize in their preferred technique.   Pay attention my friends, the underlined sentence is loaded; the key phrase is “their preferred technique.”   What do I mean?  Let me give you an example.   A sew-in expert is good at sew-ins and perm expert is great with perming.  You feel me now?  Moreover, the natural hair industry is booming.  A business savvy stylist will say they service natural hair, but won’t necessary have an affinity for natural hair.  Thus, I recommend you ask your prospect stylist, what are your specialty services?   After all, you are paying for these services; so specialization is important!  In addition, I want to share some observations I’ve made while networking in the natural hair industry.  I’ve noticed that natural stylists are like-minded individuals who tend to have the following characteristics:

  • They have a strong sense of African and African American cultural pride.
  • They have a strong commitment to natural hair.  Ie: They are usually rocking a natural hair style.
  • They are attracted to natural hair products.  But most tend to mix natural and store bought products; a good stylist knows product knowledge is science!   The super natural stylists create their own product lines.
  • They are familiar with, support and attend the natural hair networks and conferences.
  • And most important, they will NEVER discourage you from wearing your natural hair!

To this end, I hope you find these tips helpful. If you are in my area, call me for a consultation.

I wish you the best on your natural hair journey. Always know Natural is not a trend.  It’s a lifestyle.  I love this saying so much that I’ve trademarked a cool tee and sell in my salon.   If you like my blog, then please share it. Be well and have a Holiday weekend.

 

 

 

Natural Hair Inspires Confidence – Yes! Your Natural Hair is beautiful!

image As a Loctician and Natural Hair stylist, I’ve had the pleasure to meet so many women who want to go Natural.  Or even better, I meet the “already Natural” sisters; these “already Natural” ladies are stuck in the “what do I do now” phase.  Instead of embracing their hair in its natural state, they complain… my hair is too thin, too short or too gray.  Oh and my personal favorite, “combing my hair ain’t nothing nice!”  No matter what, their hair is not good enough.   I’ve grown to realize that we’ve become conditioned to believing that ultimate hair beauty can be achieved with some cash and a quick trip to the beauty supply store.  Also, we are trained to use tools that don’t support and are not made for ethnic hair types.  While practicing as Loctician and Natural stylist, I’ve grown to realize that wearing your Natural Hair inspires one of life’s greatest lessons…..CONFIDENCE!    So to my potential Natural sisters and my “already Natural” sisters , please joining me in claiming….. my natural beauty is good enough!   If you need some advice, please seek out your friendly neighborhood natural stylist.  Often, you will find these stylists are so creative.  Just yesterday, I recommended three different hairstyle options to a client sporting a short afro. Move forward in confidence!  Seek out a professional and always know,  Yes! your Natural hair is beautiful! 

lphoto MC Crawford