By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
Although Baltimore native Stacia Dashiell now runs her own beauty supply store, A Beautiful U Beauty Supply, she got her start in the beauty industry as a young girl.
Her mother struggled to maintain her and her sister’s hair between beauty appointments, so Dashielle took it upon herself to learn how to braid and style.
She started out practicing on her dolls and worked her way up to styling the girls in her neighborhood.
Fortunately, Dashielle’s grandmother was a beautician and her grandfather a barber. His grandparents became his mentors. The duo taught Dashielle how to shampoo, color, style, cut, press and curl, and educated her on the different uses of different hair care products.
Her grandfather even encouraged her to attend cosmetology school when the time came.
After earning her license, Dashielle spent a few years working at a local hair salon with the goal of one day opening her own. However, life took an unexpected turn.
In addition to Dashielle’s growing responsibilities at home, her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She eventually decided to put off her dream of spending more time with her family and continued doing her hair outside of her house.
When Dashielle was finally ready to get into entrepreneurship, instead of opening a salon, she decided to jump into the beauty supplies space.
In America, the beauty industry is largely dominated by Korean Americans, despite the fact that black women make up the majority of the industry’s customer base. Dashielle recalled that when her grandparents worked in hairdressing, there were a lot more black-owned beauty supply stores. She decided that was the adventure she wanted to pursue.
“The beauty industry and store started with us, so I wanted to bring that back,” Dashielle said.
Launched in 2020, A Beautiful U Beauty Supply began as an e-commerce business. It provides quality hair extensions, wigs, caps, lashes, edge control and more.
When seeking funding to start her business, Dashielle felt like the odds were stacked against her. She knew there was money there, but the conditions for obtaining it were difficult to meet.
As the pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities across the country, much discussion surrounding the struggle of African American entrepreneurs to secure capital has ensued. Dashielle was finally able to secure financing for a physical store in Nottingham, Maryland.
When it opens this summer, Dashielle will become one of the first black women to own a beauty supply store in Baltimore County.
As a young girl, Dashielle’s mother instilled in her daughter a commitment to community, and she continues that dedication today.
A Beautiful U Beauty Supply store will host beauty classes for licensed professionals and community members to hone their skills and technique. Dashielle also aims to collaborate with local high schools to teach young people about entrepreneurship.
The space will also serve as a venue for voter registration and various events that promote outer and inner beauty.
A portion of the company’s proceeds will go to a nonprofit that Dashiell is developing called Project Chill.
Chill stands for “kids interested in long-term life”, and the organization will support young people who are interested in the arts.
“No matter what obstacles you face in life, let your failures be stepping stones to your success,” Dashielle said. “Failures build your resilience so you can endure additional challenges ahead because there are going to be many, but you have to learn from it, hold your head up high and continue to take your place in society.”
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