Featured Femme: DeLisa Alexander, Owner of Braids by Lovely DeLisa

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 32 years old,  married, with  4 kids ages 5 to 15. Outside of styling hair I love to read and play with my kids! Reading is almost like an addiction for me, I could be standing in a grocery store line and I pop open my Kindle and read! I like to read various types of literature including urban fiction and self-help books.  Lately I’ve been reading books by T.D. Jakes, which help me to better understand what is going on with my life. Chenell Parker  is an author from Louisiana who writes urban fiction, she is one of my favorites. Another good read is Think & Grow Rich,  it starts slow, but it has a purpose.

DeLisa Alexander – Owner of Braids by Lovely DeLisa Photo Credit: Time In Stills Photography

What sparked your interest in hair styling?

My sister introduced me to styling hair, she always used to do our hair. I would ask her to do different styles, but if she was tired, she would tell me, you can do that style yourself. So I really had no choice but to learn, she taught me, but it was up to me to perfect my craft. I’ve been styling hair since I was 14 years old. People that I went to school with still come to get their hair done, along with their kids who are the same ages as my kids.

What inspires your creativity?

I like to push myself to the limit! Each client is different, you can base a hairstyle off their personality. Certain clients I can have more fun with like zig-zag parts or color to make the hair style pop! I love a free page, I love to do me!  The hair style matches their personality and their appearance.

Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?

Jesseca  from Kaleidoscope Hair Products, has been one of my greatest inspirations; she is a leader in the hair industry.  I learned so much from her while doing her hair, that I felt like I should be paying her for all of the knowledge gained. After meeting her something in me clicked, because of her I stopped looking at my business as a hustle. I started to look at it as a business brand. She made sure that I was well aware of the aspects of promoting my brand and business management. She also checked on me afterwards to see how I was doing. I immediately started implementing her advice.  Using her advice, my calendar now regularly books for the month after only 4-6 hours of being open!

Jesseca CEO of Kaleidoscope Rocking Braids by Lovely DeLisa

What steps did you take to establish yourself as a business owner?

I decided to start establishing myself as a business owner around the time my father passed. When he was sick I was working a regular full time job.  When he passed away I called to notify my job and they asked me if I was coming back to work the next day!  I began promoting my business locally  with Rude Jude & Supa to increase my clientele. I also spoke to my husband to let him know that I wanted to pursue my business full-time. I asked him to bear with me for a year or two, because I knew I would have to work long hours to make my plan a reality. I also spoke to our children to let them know my plan as well, and what I was trying to accomplish so they could have a more secure future. We all made some sort of sacrifice. For a year straight I worked from 8-5, came home to tend to our children, then I would braid hair until the early morning hours.  I worked every Saturday & Sunday for a year.

When I gave my supervisor my 2 week notice her reaction was not too great and she asked me to stay on a little longer. However, I realized staying would cause me to lose income, so I told her that I had to leave. Following the discussion with the supervisor, a co-worker pulled me to the side and said these are blessed hands and it’s time for you to go.  My co-worker did not know the reaction my supervisor had, but her words confirmed what I already knew. I needed a sign and that was my sign, that was my last day on the job. I felt  scared and terrified!  There were many long nights and sacrifices, but it has all been worth it! My business is thriving!

Supa CEO of The Crayon Case Rocking Braids by Lovely DeLisa

How do you define success?

I’m still working on it! I know people on the outside looking in, feel I have reached my level of success, but I haven’t. I define success as being able to have something to pass on my kids and generations to come. I want to build a business that my children can profit from even if they do not want to do hair. I’m still working on being successful, it’s getting better, but there’s a lot more to come!

What advice would you give to an aspiring hair stylist?

Never stop learning, never get to a point where you think you know everything. There is always a different way to do a style that you may have been doing for years. There may be an easier or healthier technique. If there are ever any classes, attend them. When I resigned from my job, I obtained certification for Mink Lashes. My calendar has been booked every month for the last two years, so I have not had use the Mink Lashes certification, but I wanted to have something to fall back on if needed. Any hair classes or one-on-one training I take them. I do not ever want to get to a point where I feel that I know everything, because times change and you have to adjust and change with them.

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