Blackberry Brown Naturals
Today, we’re featuring Shanna Saunders, one of our lovely hairstylists in Brooklyn, NY! She specializes in all aspects of natural hair care, including all curly hair types, locs, and braids.
Here are a few questions we asked Shanna to learn more about her and what inspires her!
Question: Tell us about you and how you got started as a hairstylist
I held on to many jobs in the past that I loved. Soon after, the position I loved became a position I liked, and, at some point, I ended up wanting to leave for one reason or another. In my last position I was working full-time at a level one trauma hospital in Connecticut. It became clear after a while, that while I was good at my job and appreciated the benefits and job security, I just wasn’t being fulfilled the way I wanted. When I resigned, it was due to new mandated policies within the hospital network that I disagreed with both morally and professionally. I knew in my heart that staying at that particular job meant being stuck in a cycle of unfulfillment, one where every job was only as important as the paycheck I received. I mean, we all love money, right? I’m no different, but any job that I wake-up to without true motivation for what I actually DO in my position is not exactly a dream-come-true. What I learned soon after leaving the hospital was that, 1) I earned more money as an entrepreneur than I did on second shift with my shift differential, 2) there was far more flexibility in scheduling, and, 3) my job requirements were now my OWN decision because I was the boss!
Question: What do you love the most about kinky, coily and curly hair?
Answer: I love how versatile our naturally kinky, coily, and curly textures are! The way we transition from kinks and curls, braids, and twists to temporary straightened styles is magical.
Question: What do you love the most about locs?
Answer: What I love most about locs is the visuals. There’s something indescribably beautiful about a head full of home-grown locs. It’s a vibe that’s both free-spirited and dignified. The fact that you essentially wake up with your hair “done” is also a plus.
Question: What’s your favorite go-to-hair-regimen you like to share with your clients?
Answer: Sealing in that moisture! I encourage my clients to moisturize their hair with a combination of water and vegetable glycerin. This can include floral waters like those infused with rose, chamomile, or lavender which have additional benefits like their astringent, conditioning, and aromatic properties. Vegetable glycerin is a humectant so it attracts moisture to the hair. After this combo, I like my clients to seal in moisture with plant-based oils like jojoba and shea nut.
Question: What favorite products will you like to share with us?
Answer: Mango butter, rose water and avocado oil will always be in my top 5 faves. As a natural hair care stylist, I encourage all of my clients to use plant-based products in their regimen so my favorites will always include products born of this earth. Mango butter is similar to shea butter in its benefits but has a smoother application and smells phenomenal- sweeter if you will, compared to the clay-like smell of shea butter. Rosewater, especially when infused with vegetable glycerin softens the hair, adds shine, and has an astringent quality to it. Avocado oil is a light oil that is rich in fatty acids that moisturize and strengthen the hair, filling in the cuticle layers.
Question: Do you have a favorite hairstyle?
Answer: Long story: I am a protective style enthusiast so I am partial to any style that is conducive to the health of our hair while adding a little style and flava! Short story: Yarn Braids. There is just SOMETHING about them.
Question: What do you consider a good hair day?
Answer: A good hair day is any day you can wake up feeling fabulous without having to manipulate your hair in any major way. It can mean waking up with a protective style already installed (who doesn’t love a get-up-and-go?) or looking at your new growth because of a much-needed loc-retwist and simply throwing on a headwrap and some big earrings. (Low-maintenance).
Question: What inspires you to do what you do?
Answer: What inspires me to do what I do is the fact that I have freedom, flexibility, and a platform for my own creative outlet. The sky is never my limit- my own imagination can take me places that extend beyond the reaches of science.
Question: If someone is looking to join the trade, what advice would you give them?
Answer: Don’t underestimate yourself! The first step is always the hardest but babyyyyyyy, once you take it, your only limit is YOU! Don’t let the successes and failures of other people in the industry set the bar for your own journey. You are capable if only YOU believe that you are. You know what else? Most of this stuff doesn’t work out the way we want it to the first time around. Once upon a time a client could call me and be able to get their hair done TODAY. Well, today, I have a wait-list of clients who are trying to get in my chair because my schedule is booked out. The universe WILL work in your favor but you still have to be a faithful and hard-working recipient to receive that favor.
Question: How are you using CurleeMe to grow your business?
Answer: I’m using CurleeMe to grow my business outside of my home base. When I made the decision to add travel opportunities to my services, it’s funny how things began falling into place. I discovered CurleeMe through a simple Google search and went fast-forward with building my profile because I saw the potential. I upgraded to the paid service very soon after signing up and I have no regrets.
Question: What achievements in your career or life are you most proud of?
Answer: I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to sustain myself as a self-employed stylist, using my business as my primary source of income. That alone is true fulfillment. I recently rented space in the salon of a celebrity stylist who I’ve been following for years. I felt honored being in her space as she has, and continues to accomplish things that I only dream about.
Question: Do you have a personal motto? Please share.
Answer: “Honey, if you’re not doing it for YOU, then whyyyy are you doing it? Folks are gon’ judge you for LESS. Do YOU Boo. Don’t change YOU for anyone. I’m certainly not changing ME.”
Question: How can we contact you?
Visit our CurleeMe Profile to view our contact information and ways to connect.
Question: What social media channels can one follow you?
Follow us on Instagram, and Pinterest!
Question: Any advice you would like to give Curlees out there?
Answer: Take it one day at a time but before you do anything major, learn to love your hair. Having natural hair can sometimes equate to having a child, or a full-time job. (They’re kind of one and the same, huh?) But listen to me, when you LOVE your hair, those trials don’t seem so burdensome…or maybe they do. But sometimes we need to just stay in our lane and simply hire a curl specialist to do their job and maintain our hair. The point is, love your hair enough to do SOMETHING that contributes to the health and integrity of your natural kinks and curls. Oh yes, and learn your hair porosity. Your curl pattern is not the most important objective. Thank me later.