We were lucky to catch up with Minnie Little recently and have shared our conversation below.
Alright, Minnie thanks for taking the time to share your stories and insights with us today. One of the toughest things about entrepreneurship is that there is almost always unexpected problems that come up – problems that you often can’t read about in advance, can’t prepare for, etc. Have you had such and experience and if so, can you tell us the story of one of those unexpected problems you’ve encountered?
First off let me start by saying that owning a business is no easy feat! In the salon culture it is typical for the salon to either be commission or rental-based. I decided to make my salon a commission based salon that provided autonomy. Upon hiring vetted stylus I learned that it was very common for a lot of stylus to have what I would consider PTSD from being a resident in toxic salon environments. I started my coaching business in April 2022 after having my business coach for a year. I have found it inspiring, difficult, and enlightening to help guide hairstylists out of the mindset of scarcity and ownership. When I say that this task is difficult, I say it with compassion because there is a fine line between needing a coach and being able to recognize when your employee may need more support, for example therapy. I hold a lot of space and empathy for hairstylist that have made the Salon Home their I choose to give people the benefit of the doubt, like those before me gave me. Coaching has helped me see that we can change the industry and shift the mindset of those who have been burnt out and lack confidence. It is most challenging but at the end of the day it is work that needs to be done.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I started building my brand when I was a teenager! I was 14 years old when I started taking my first real clients. I was braiding hair at home and providing make up services for special events. I decided to go to cosmetology school at the age of 26, and I was behind the chair at 27 at Urban Betty. Add Urban Betty I was in the heart of the city, and I was able to connect with so many different clients that did not look like me and did not have hair like me. After five years of working behind the chair as an employee, I decided to go out on my own and to continue to touch and learn how to cut color and style the heads of anybody who was willing to sit in my chair and have a fun and colorful and real conversation . I have always been a curious human by nature so I enjoy even the conversations that systemically separate groups of people. I knew growing up that a lot of salons did not provide services for any and everybody and every texture. Considering this, I started to cultivate the idea of having a salon that housed only stylists that were willing and able to service every race and every texture. I wanted to be the salon that did things differently and bridged gaps. I wanted a space of inclusivity that also provided freedom for stylists to create their life design without the expectation of burn out and micromanagement.
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
Growing up in the 90s in Pflugerville, by a pretty conservative, Christian black family, we hadn’t learned tools about boundaries. Everybody was able to be in everybody’s space, their business, their affairs, their life choices, etc. as I grew older and recognized the freedoms that you are actively actually given, I started to realize I did not have boundaries, and I had not created boundaries for certain people and situations that did not make me feel safe. I took the time during the pandemic to look introspectively at my life and what I wanted from my life and learned that I had to start with boundaries, and recognizing how I tend to react to situations. Learning to create boundaries has helped shape shift my life in the direction I desire to go, the anxiety has subsided but there is still so much more work to do. I wish that everybody could unlearn what they knew about creating boundaries and to create the actual feelings and life that they desire.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
I don’t know how much y’all want me to divulge in this section, but if you want me to be honest here it is! In my 20s I coped heavily with drinking and partying. In college, during my first three months at school I was sexually assaulted by a group of men. Nothing was done on the prosecution side, so I dealt with it the best way I knew how, avoiding the situation partying and drinking. Whatever made me not feel the pain of what I had gone through and the embarrassment. At the time I blamed myself for years, therapy was helping on some end but I had not taken responsibility for myself . I found myself getting entangled with law enforcement on a regular basis for minor in fractions but it was still humiliating. Once I became a mother I realized at a certain point my son is going to question my behavior, and my lack of awareness of his existence and what my choices could impose upon his life. I find myself today in a vast space of gratitude for not continuing on the path I was on in my 20s. I knew that I had a goal in mind and a family that supported me the best they knew how which was with love and their faith. I knew I would never give up on my dreams but I never knew it would look the way it does now. I am not rich in money but I am rich in love, I am wealthy in love, my son is “my why?”
- Website: Msha.ke/shagnoir
- Instagram: @minnietheshagger