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Community Highlights: Meet Kirigo Kabuga of Natural Hair Journey Mentorship

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kirigo Kabuga.

Hi Kirigo, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My journey dates back since I was the age of 8. I used to not appreciate going to the hair salon because of the pulling and pain on my scalp. I rebelled, and at the age of 8, I cut the front of my hair to my mother’s dismay. My dad on the other hand thought “oh wow that’s a great solution why didn’t we think of that.

At the age of 11 I found out that boys like girls with long hair and I started to grow back my hair.

From rebelling at the age of 8 to cutting my hair I decided to embark on a natural hair journey. We lived in Canada at the time and natural hair services were not available. My grandma gave me the idea to do my own hair and I started to figure out what works for my hair.

Later my friends were attracted to my hair. I started doing my sister’s hair, my cousin and my girlfriends. I learnt to do extensions. And I was able to do hairstyles that were in demand. My sister is actually the one who brought my first paying client. Before I knew it I was working in my parent’s basement every Saturday earning money. I then went on to train to become a Sisterlocks consultant, progressed to becoming an ‘R’ certified consultant and today I am their master stylist.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No. Firstly we need to demystify what it means to be in business. In the first 5-7 years we struggle. People are not fully aware what they are getting into and that’s why most businesses close down.

When I moved to the USA I did not have credit to open a business. The Banks would not loan me any money because I did not have credit history. I made a business plan and knocked on several doors. During this time I met an Italian gentleman who sells furniture and he is the one who believed in me. He sat with me and asked me very relevant questions about where I would get products and equipment to start. Thankfully I was prepared and I had company names and contact. He gave me a year to pay him off. I wrote 12 checks that year and that’s how I started.

Another obstacle was the different work cultures. At the beginning, I had trust in my stylist and failed to establish strong boundaries. They took my Kindness for weakness.

I also had trouble getting clients because I was new in the country. However, the obstacles I faced were a wake-up call to a new reality at a new place. My skill, determination and will kept me alive.

As you know, we’re big fans of Natural Hair Journey Mentorship. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Goal of natural hair journey is to create a natural hair business movement of excellence. This is done using the process of crown up theory where we use the crown up movement for every crown queen.

We specialize in Natural Hair Care primarily the locking system. We use the natural hair curl pattern to teach women it is not a one glove fits all. We teach our customers to understand their hair so that they do not fall victim to false lies. Above all, we teach women to be confident in their natural hair to be competitive in their jobs and know that it is about equality and not just about hair.

I am known as a master stylist for the Sisterlocks brand for bringing great styling to Sisterlocks. Secondly I am recognized for bringing a taste of the African culture to the natural hair trend, for my online presence in encouraging the natural hair community; for serving my clients with optimum quality care and standards.

As a mentor, my biggest achievement is the international exposure of bringing African culture to the Natural hair excellence space. Unapologetically reminding women to make money and greatly impact the society.

What sets me apart is having an international mindset of culture and business. Understanding what is required in each country/culture, what works in Kenya cannot function in the USA and vice versa.

What I am most proud brand wise:
1. crowning up
2. Elevating mentally physically and emotionally.
3. Affirming to serving
4. Interjecting culture in everything I do.

What do you want our readers to know about your brand, offerings, services, etc?
We use a holistic approach in our services where we shampoo, and asses the hair scalp. We use plant based and natural hair products. Our salon culture is welcoming, and supports building a community. We believe in wellness; for instance, in May and June we have a program where we encourage women to go hiking.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
1. Spread the word to natural hair stylist about our business health check sessions where we grow and help other business and stylist to see herself as a crown up queen

2. Invite us to collaborate with you in business by inviting us to come to your industry through product healing, wellness, nutrition, mind, body, and soul.

3. Invite us to meet face to face to share our scale up theory to the community and to support women in business.

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