Black, Natural and In Business: Ansylla of My Hairitage


 

1) Why did you start My Hairitage?

In 1996, I noticed that my mother, grandmother and an aunt all had seriously thinning hair. All I could think was, “I AM NOT trying to be bald at 40!” At the time I was wearing my low cut hair texturized, primarily for convenience. I had just moved to DC and learned of a natural hair show at Howard University presented by Cornrows & Co. Now, this was pre-Mapquest and I had no idea how to get to Howard University. But I headed to DC and after getting turned around…and around…and around, I made it when the show was about half over. When I arrived…Man! The natural styles were breathtaking. I had no idea natural hair could be so beautiful. At the end of the show, Pamela Ferrell said, “We have considered relaxing our hair as a rite of passage. But we didn’t stop to think what would happen if we never did.” That had such an impact on me. That was the day I went natural. I’ve never used a straightening chemical on my hair since.

I came to have such an appreciation for my natural hair, that in 2000, I decided to make a career of helping others appreciate theirs. In addition to hair care services, My Hairitage offers natural hair care and advanced loc techniques workshops. And from Oct 15 – 19, 2011 we will be partying (and learning, of course) on the high seas on the 3rd Annual Hairitage Holistic Hair & Wellness cruise, departing Baltimore, MD headed to Bermuda. (www.HairitageCruise.com) You will not want to miss it!

2) What was the vision?

The vision has evolved over the years. I originally just started offering hair care services in the DC area. As my business grew, I had to refer new clients to other competent stylists. It reached the point where myself and the stylists to whom I was referring new clients were always booked. Seeing the need for more natural hair care professionals, I began to offer Holistic Hair Care and Advanced Loc Techniques workshops in 2003. The workshops have grown in popularity and have been held in DC, Atlanta, South Carolina, Florida, Chicago, Texas, New York, Canada, London and Paris. So while the vision still included encouraging an appreciation of natural hair, it has grown to encourage professionalism in the natural hair industry.

3) Who is your target market?

For hair care services, the target market is men, women and children of African descent who wish to embrace the beauty of their natural hair, but who are also concerned about the products that are used on their bodies.

For workshops, the target market is professionals or those interested in beginning a career in natural hair care. These professionals wish to take their craft and their business very seriously.

4) What is your most popular product?

There has been much interest in the Holistic Hair Care DVD and the “Locs of Elegance” Loc Styling DVD, as well as the Holistic Hair Care and Advanced Loc Technique workshop series. But I must say that people are most excited about the technique I created called “The LOC WEAVE ™”. This is a service offered to loc wearers who experience thinning or balding.. A custom hair piece is created to look like their existing locs, attached without adhesives and blends very well with the client’s natural locs. That way, as the client does not have to cut off their locs to wear a straight hair wig.

5) When did you start the business and how hard was it to get it off the ground?

I started doing hair in Dec 2000, but opened my own salon in 2003. Transitioning from a corporate job to building a hair care business was very challenging. Building clientele and establishing a good reputation was not the easiest thing to do, but it was worth every sacrifice.

6) How many people work in the business?

I choose to work alone. I had a staff for 5 years, but in order to focus more on my workshops in the US and abroad, I downsized the salon and am now available to travel more frequently.

7) Is it something you are doing full time?

Yes. This has been my full time career for 10 years.

8) What do you do in an average day of running My Hairitage?

That depends. The majority of my clients have locs. Some have traditional locs, others have Sisterlocks™. I have a few clients with loose natural hair. Every day is different because different clients require different amounts of time to be properly serviced.

9) Where do you see My Hairitage in the future?

In my travels, I have learned that women of color around the world have the same hair issues that we have in the States. I would like to continue to focus on hair care and business education in the US and any other country that I am able to teach in.

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