Although it appears effortless at times, trust me when I say that being a fearless black woman is no easy feat. One thing I find incredibly powerful is being able to show support to like-minded women within the community so that we can all continue to strive to work towards the purpose for which we were placed on this Earth to fulfill. It is so necessary. I recently sat down to chat with WEtv star Mushiya Tshikuka of Cutting It In the ATL and here, I break down her advice into five must-know tips for balancing the operation of a successful black-owned business while maintaining a happy home.
I woke up one day knowing what my purpose was: to inspire and build women with confidence and self-esteem so they can know they can achieve their own purpose in life.
My mom knew how to do hair and initially taught me how to do hair, but she didn't do it as a profession. She's actually a French professor. But I started doing hair when I was small, like 12 or 13 years old.
It all started with my parents...
My attitude and in-your-face style came from my parents and being at home. They always told me I could do whatever. "You look stunning today," my mom would tell me. This confidence has translated into a [sense of] fearlessness and confidence to do anything I want to in life. I know how it works--but guess what, I want to do it this way.
And now, I'm running a thriving brand.
I am from Congo but I came to the states about 15 years ago. I went to Canada then worked in New York to create my brand name and further my career. What I love about [settling down in] Atlanta is that it is an open city--you can make it whatever you want. Atlanta is a great place to lead a worldwide conversation.
Everything we do for The Damn Salon is outside of the box. It is a full experience--it's about an attitude, a confidence, and that is what makes Damn, Damn! From the hairstyles, to the walls, to the way we market the brand: everything is Damn. We are always expanding, and the empire is going strong! With kinky curly extensions on the rise right now, Runway Curls is being carried in over 500 salons.
Keeping a happy home life is critical for success.
As a busy woman, the keys to a happy family unit include five roles you need to play for your husband: the trophy wife, the maid, the slut, the friend, and the business partner. We, as women, ask for complicated (and sometimes psychotic) requests. We run the world, and we define the dynamic of the relationship by giving a man these simple things that he requires.
At home, I am obsessed with cooking for my family and eating a healthy cuisine--I am not a fan of eating at chain restaurants. Some of my favorite dishes include seafood, lobster, scallops, crab…I love a good fillet mignon.
The only difference between you and me is that I KNOW I can.
I want to use my platform to build up powerful women.
I woke up one day knowing what my purpose was: to inspire and build women with confidence and self-esteem so they can know they can achieve their own purpose in life. I take every opportunity and platform that is given to me to fulfill my own. The most important meaning is to inspire other women to be great and love themselves. My goal is to just to have bigger and great platforms to do so on an even bigger scale.
I always aim to have daily, weekly, and monthly resolutions. A lot of things don’t change for 'New Year's Resolutions'. Take your greater purpose and break it down into [granular] tasks you can--and will--accomplish. In my twenty-five years of experience, I can say one of the things that inspires me the most is affecting people, instilling hope and belief in oneself. It is a powerful tool. I see that I have the ability to stand in front of a little girl, and it is powerful.
Everything is authentic--including my doll and hair extension companies.
Even my dolls are accurate representations of little black girls. I knew that if I had this same problem, there are others having the same problem, so I decided to create a line of dolls for girls like mine. Our dolls have 100% naturally kinky hair from the collection, which has solved so many problems for customers.We move so fast and we work so hard with this, so I see many things happening in this movement. The Runway Curls line is close to my heart bc a lot of women wear extensions, so I say, let’s celebrate our hair! I only have kinky hair [in my line because] it is super important that the hair requires the same amount of care as our real hair. Someone can seamlessly blend the extensions with their own hair instead of having to press that section of the hair; it is versatile.
The key to a fulfilled life is philanthropy.
My kids were part of the process of doll-making. They drew the doll on a white board when we went to the designer with our ideas. They were excited when they chose the material, and I even named the dolls after them.
This is what it takes to achieve complete happiness. One of my passions is singing. I always attach a song to everything I do. I did one called My Natural Girl about a girl who is greatness personified. All she invokes is greatness. I wanted mothers to hear the song so they could know the power of speaking words. It’s for both of them.