Meet the Founder
Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacia Dashiell.
Stacia, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My inspiration for starting my business began as a young girl in elementary school. As my sister and I grew up, my mother did not know how to do our hair. She would have our parts crooked, ponytails lopsided and couldn’t put on the ball barrettes. I decided to start styling and braiding my sisters and my hair. Later I found myself braiding the girl’s hair at church and in the neighborhood.
After years of practice and demonstrating my skills, my grandmother, who was a licensed beautician and grandfather, who was a master barber, began teaching me other techniques such as shampooing, coloring, styling, cutting, press and curl and hair care, along with the use of the tools to perform those techniques. With that education and skills, I continued to practice for many years after high school and built clientele for over ten years. My grandmother passed during that time and my grandfather recommended I attend cosmetology school to get certified in the cosmetology trade while taking a break from college. He believed you should always have a trade-in addition to your college degree. He encouraged me to horn in on my talents and excel. Upon graduating from Cosmetology school, I planned on opening my own salon but wanted to get the experience of working in one. I was employed at a local hair salon for a few years. I loved it so much. It was nothing like serving the clients, making them feel good by beautifying their hair, taking care of their hair, meeting new people, working in the community, while building relationships with people who would end up being lifetime friends.
As it stands, life happened. The dream was deferred because my grandfather began early stages of dementia. Moreover, I had two babies and a husband that demanded more of my time. I left the salon and started doing hair at home to be close to my family and to have a flexible schedule to assist my mother with my grandfather. Later, my grandfather’s health declined as he developed Alzheimer’s. I cherished everything my grandparents taught me. I decided that in the future, I would pursue my dream.
After thirty years of being in the business, having a career in education, law enforcement and observing the evolving changes in the industry, I decided to take another approach. I researched and studied for the last ten years the beauty supply industry and decided that would be the avenue within the industry that I would pursue.
On May 1, 2019, with the support of a dear friend and my co-founder, I started A Beautiful U Beauty Supply, LLC, in hopes of opening a year later. I attended an educational conference and classes to prepare me for this new venture. As a single black mother and divorcee, I knew it would be challenging for me as it pertained to credit scores and funding. However, I always find myself adapting to challenges. I continued to press forward, keeping Jeremiah 29:11 in mind. I gathered a team that would assist me with making my dream come true. My partner played a big part in helping me move forward because as stated in the aforementioned, dilemmas, life setbacks, and trying to do it by myself, became discouraging. He vowed to be supportive all the way because he believed in me and my dream. With that, we became partners. In addition, my daughter developed my logo; my friends came up with strategies to help raise funds and promote my brand. My team started a monthly movement with a local black-owned business and the support of the Urban League, in the fall of 2019 called the Black Entrepreneur Networking Social. This event generated revenue, allowed small businesses to network, display talents, and provided educational seminars for upcoming entrepreneurs and small black-owned businesses. The Networking Social grew in a short period of time. People were requesting additional days and particular classes. It began to take on a life of its own until the pandemic.
During the pandemic, it set our goals of proceeding to open the storefront, raising funding and taking classes further back. I decided to open an online store selling hair, lashes and a few accessories to generate revenue while having to sit at home. Little did I know that it was going to take off with such a great success. Although we have had some unfortunate circumstances occurring with all the movements going on and various incidents, this pandemic has motivated me to become creative and assisted with the growth of A Beautiful U Beauty Supply, LLC. We are now on the Fort Meade website and were marketed all over the United States on social media outlets.
Our quality hair extensions, wigs, lashes, and accessory products come from and are shipped from a local company in Atlanta, Ga. As we move forward, we are continuing our educational classes and in the process of preparing to open our storefront in Maryland. I’m thankful for the divine intervention.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The journey to opening this store has been challenging. It is not easy for a single black mother who is also a divorcee to start a business. In addition, with major family members being deceased, it also becomes challenging, especially with the finances. Although I have an educational background and experience in management, I lack the additional training to be a retail store owner and the required credit score to get a business loan. The challenges are still there because I have to research a lot to locate the finances and organizations that are willing to take a chance with me regardless of my other successes in other areas of my career. I still must pay for the training classes, required licenses, marketing, start-up costs to open the storefront etc., while maintaining my daily life for my child and I.
In addition, I find that people are not as forthcoming with providing information on funding or offering their business expertise as they could to assist new business owners who are starting a business or in business. The programs that claim they assist have so many obstacles that you have to go through to get them or ask that you have at least twenty thousand or half the money to get a loan.
I will say that the Greater Baltimore Urban League in Maryland has provided great education to assist with how to start the business, stay in business, and much more to my small Black Entrepreneur Networking Social. As it pertains to me opening the beauty supply store, I must also give credit to the Beauty Supply Consultants for their expertise and education on Entrepreneurship, opening a beauty supply store and more. In closing, I have faith and believe that anything is possible.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our mission is to provide exceptional quality hair extensions, wigs, and products at competitive prices to consumers. We strive to set an example of a business that serves our customers as well as the community at large. Due to the pandemic, we are currently only online, providing quality hair products. Locally, for a low cost, I offer cut, color, and style to customers who purchase a wig from my online store and would like a different style or color. Customers would schedule a consultation with me via a media outlet. After the consultation, they would ship the hair to me for service. Depending on the service, the hair would be shipped back to the customer within 72 hours.
As a company, I’m most proud of my team for their willingness to work with us to adjust to the new way of conducting business and providing quality customer services by being innovative during the pandemic. What will set us apart from others is our determination to provide exceptional customer services, innovation, and perseverance.
What were you like growing up?
When I was growing up, I was a quiet girl who loved the outdoors, sports, dancing, helping others, reading, knitting, participating in community events and was somewhat of an introvert. I devoted my life to Christ at twelve years old. I loved riding my bike across the city, climbing trees and walls, roller skating, drawing, writing, modeling, creating dances for my church dance group, styling hair, hanging with family, listening to music, and taking care of others. I always had a select group of friends in my company.
I would hang with the older generation a lot. I loved listening to their stories of how it was when they grew up, their advice, and helping them with whatever was needed. I still wouldn’t say much. I found myself not much of a talker because I would stutter sometimes, so I decided just to be quiet. I would observe people, what they said and did to determine what I was or wasn’t going to do. I was not a follower and I’m still not today. I loved researching, history, science, and math.
Although I was shy, my mother was into the arts and our youth choir director. She would have me involved in singing with the choirs at church, Church Retreats, Youth Conferences, NAACP, and volunteer me to create dances for local community or church community fairs. She was determined to make me speak in front of people and help me to overcome my shyness, but I always would find a way not to sing solos on the choirs. Although I loved to sing, I enjoyed being a backup singer. I liked staying in the background and would only take lead if volunteered by others.
In closing, I strive to keep in mind Luke 1:37.