It's Black History Month, and we couldn't think of a better way to spend it than introducing you to entrepreneurs who are grinding today to make history tomorrow.
Today we're honored to expose you to the goal-oriented girl boss that is Gia Taijae of Pretty Hair Posse and Gia's Couture Kloset.
Share your journey! How did you become the entrepreneur you are today? Three summers ago I asked my mom if I could get a job at Subway. My mother, who is also an entrepreneur, asked me Would you rather make $8 an hour or $800 an hour? Would you rather be the Boss or the employee? Of course, I wanted to make $800 hourly instead of $8 an hour. Of course, I wanted to be the boss. Finally, she asked me What do you enjoy doing?
I was already really intrigued with everything health and beauty. At the time, I had been suffering from hair loss and was using products from a company called My Flow Industry. They opened an opportunity to become a private contractor under the company, which is when I began selling healthy hair products, and the official launch of Pretty Hair Posse was June 26, 2016. Pretty Hair Posse is so much more than hair products and supplements. P.H.P. truly represents women empowerment and embracing your inner and natural beauty. Pretty Hair Posse is a brand that I created to encourage young women around the world to embrace their natural hair and beauty by growing beautiful, healthy hair.
Since launching my business, there have been so many doors opened for me and I thank God for all of it. I have had the opportunity to speak at women's conferences and events in Arlington, Virginia, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Atlanta, Georgia. I have been awarded scholarships for sharing my journey of entrepreneurship, and I was the motivational speaker at New Manchester High School’s Baccalaureate. It was an honor to give my speech to the graduating class of 2018. I also had the honor of being the inspirational speaker for Fierce Motions Dance Company. I recently received the Bold Youth Leadership Award from Bold Favor Magazine. Sharing my story with the world has been an incredible journey thus far, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for my future.
What do you do? Are you a full-time entrepreneur, or are you balancing a job and a business? How do you feel about that? I am a high school senior and launched my first business as a sophomore; therefore, it has been difficult balancing my school work, running my businesses, and maintaining a social life. I am very active in my school and community, so I’m always busy and have something going on. On average, I don’t get significant amounts of sleep because I get home late from my activities in school. I come home and do homework for about two hours, then apply for scholarships which may take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, then I focus on my business. School has always been a priority and my final year has been stressful, considering the fact I had to apply for college and stay on top of scholarships. I also have two younger sisters, Mariah and Camryn, so I also help them after school with their activities and homework. Overall, being a student-entrepreneur is helping me prepare for college and teaching me how to manage my time effectively.
The first year of business can be the hardest, but the most fun and educational. How was your first year of business? My first year of business was amazing! I was invited to speak in New Orleans at a women's conference. I had my official launching party that was combined with my sweet 16! It was called Gia's Glam Extravaganza which consisted of a hair and fashion show and my birthday party followed. The event was everything I could image, I held it at the Twelve Hotel in Midtown Atlanta on April 15th. That will always be a day I remember! MTV was interested in filming my event for My Super Sweet 16. I had a blast! I also hosted my very first teen empowerment tour which took place at the Essence Festival in New Orleans.
As the old saying goes, "Never forget where you come from." Where are you from? Has your hometown had an impact on your entrepreneurship journey? Be sure to give a shout out to anyone who has helped/supported you during your entrepreneurship journey. (106&Park style shout-outs are acceptable as well. This is a safe space!) I am from New Orleans, Louisiana and my city has definitely been supportive of me! I hosted my first Teen Empowerment Tour in New Orleans because I believe in going back to help bring someone up. Now I know, I am not the most "certified" entrepreneur, if you will - however, I have no problem with reaching out to my fellow girl bosses so we can learn together! My event consisted of a glam workshop, and all of the vendors were teen entrepreneurs. We also had two teen makeup artists and another young woman who started her own hair care line. I've been invited to several events to host college workshops and seminars as well. I love going home to host events or participate in them, it's a great feeling!
Making history requires making change. How will your business benefit future generations in your family?
I have two younger sisters, Mariah (11) and Camryn (8). Since their birth, I have done everything in my power to become an exceptional role model for them. Our bond is unique and we’re not your typical siblings. Mariah and Camryn are my business partners as well. Eventually, Mariah will carry on the legacy of Pretty Hair Posse as CEO. My sisters attend networking events with me and we share a YouTube channel. They are always front and center at every important event. There is no better feeling than them running up to me and giving me the biggest kiss on my cheek. Often times, it’s Mariah who records my speeches and captures every moment of an event. Seeing them proud of me brings me true joy because everything I do is for them. I am instilling the importance of hard work in them, and showing them that they have the power to turn their dreams into a reality. My sisters are attached to my hip and I would do anything for them. I truly love my Girl Gang!
Black culture is often idolized for portraying an image of trend-setting fearlessness. How has being Black impacted your entrepreneurship journey? Most of my supporters are Black and it's amazing when mothers reach out to let me know that my influence has made an impact on their daughter's life. When supporters reach out to me, particularly Black men and women, it provides a sense of accomplishment because it means that what I'm doing is truly making a difference in someone else's life. My following on social media is also made up of a majority of Black women. I often surround myself with Black women whether that be my mentors, teachers, or friends. I do this because it's amazing what we can do when we collaborate. I look up to Black women who take charge.
What advice do you have for Black entrepreneurs who are thinking of starting a business? 1. Do what genuinely makes you happy. Never give up on your dreams, and be unapologetically you.
2. Take a risk. Also, have your close friends who genuinely support you and your successes. You must be aware and cautious of who you allow in your circle.
3. Put yourself in the best position possible.
4. Celebrate your small victories. Small steps are still steps, and it's still progress.
The year is still new! What can we expect to see from your business this year? I am launching a professional clothing line as well as a book on my college journey! I am very excited about both. Often times, people ask me where I purchase my professional clothing, so this is the perfect outlet for me to provide them something that is affordable but fashionable. Also, I get a lot of questions from teens and parents on what they should do to prepare for college or how to apply for scholarships. Luckily, my book is going to have all of the answers to their questions!
Get your “Ultimate Girl Boss Guide” E-Book today for $14.99 Get your “Girl Boss Status” shirt for $20.00 and both can be found at www.prettyhairposse.com
Keep Up with Gia Taijae:
Facebook: Pretty Hair Posse