Connect
To Top

Meet Monika Willis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monika Willis.

Hi Monika, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Hello All,

I am Monika Willis. My entrepreneurial hair career started when I was thirteen years old doing finger waves in the school bathroom for five dollars lol, TRUE STORY. Some of my peers would catch the bus to my house after school so I could do their hair. Eventually, I began trading the books in my backpack for hair supplies. This journey progressed from me going place to place, neighborhood to neighborhood, house to house making money at a young age. I was amazed and just continued to grow and pursue that career path to this day.

Being the black sheep of the family, it was said I wouldn’t graduate from high school because I was rebellious, defensive, sarcastic and overall hurt for so many reasons. However, you all have to buy my book to hear the whole story. My book is called “THE YEAR” Winter 2022. Contrary to what was said about me academically, I not only graduated, but did so with excellence. I graduated receiving awards and recognition. I was recognized as“Most Likely to Succeed”, “Scholastic Achievement”, “Mathematically Inclined”, and “Top Science Student” 3 Years in a Row, to name a few. I personally couldn’t believe it, but God was doing something great in me that I couldn’t even see at the time. I had the spirit of perseverance that allowed me to always defeat the odds.That spirit continues to holds true to who I am and how I operate even til this day. In the process of growth and development, I went from being a kitchen hairstylist to commissioned hairstylist, booth rental stylist, suite owner, salon owner and CEO of a 1,000 square foot facility officially known and branded as Unique Salon Xperience (USX), eventually growing to a 1,500 square foot facility in 2015. At the grand opening for USX, Barbara Mikulski, the former Mayor of Baltimore office presented me with a citation and one of the most amazing write-ups. Megan Simonaire former Delegate spoke on behalf of the House of Delegates. That day, I received amazing recognitions from  the City of Annapolis and the State of Maryland from many branches of government. I was truly humbled and honored by such prestigious acknowledgments.  I am still amazed til this day. As I occupied USX, I was blessed with the opportunity to employ 2 assistants, multiply stylists, braiders, and makeup artists.

Previously, I was also an educator for Design Essentialswhere I taught classes in various salons and hair schools. I fell in love with haircare while working as an educator. Since then, my career has evolved. I started my own product line called Accelerator 1.0 Accelerator 1.0 is a product line I created from my passion as a hair wellness specialist. My product line is a supreme blend of high-quality natural ingredients combined to prevent breakage, repair split ends, and restore elasticity with anti-inflammatory properties that unclog follicles and stimulate enzymes which repairs dead skin cells on the scalp and infuses each hair strand with incredible shine and softness. Accelerator 1.0 is an amazing product that renders results. I am a personal success story, as this product has restored my hair. At the present moment, I’m learning how to position myself from behind the chair into the market place. I have a few endeavors that I will be announcing later this year. As of lately (about a year and a half now), I have been blessed to work on various movie sets as an assistant hairstylist, key hairstylist, and department head for hair wardrobe and makeup. I have worked with celebrities such as David Correy Remy Ma,Tarhonda Jones, Pretty Vee, Rhapsody, and Debbie Morgan to name a few. I have worked with production companies and networks such as Coca Cola, Black Entertainment Television (BET), It’s a Wrap Studios, Octet Productions,  Laray Productions, and Home Box Office (HBO). Gracefully, I have held the role as an actress and extra as well. Now that part is still funny to me! ME AS AN ACTRESS lol! I stand in gratitude as my story is still being written by the grace of God.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I have had an amazing career thus far and I’m truly grateful. However, with experience, I understand that the pendulum of success swings both ways. Knowing the bigger you fail the bigger you succeed. That being said, this journey has not come without its bumps, bruises, trials and tribulations in addition to success. I have moved from salon to salon for various reasons, allowing me to realize that it would be in my best interest to establish individual salon ownership due to my personal standard for systems and operations. To highlight the pendulum experience, I recall occupying one of the biggest salon suites, serving 14 people on my first day of service and the power going out. I remember occupying my first brick-and-mortar turn-key space which flooded unexpectedly, but we recovered. Later after the initial flood, we had a big snow storm that caved the roof in and flooded my 1,000 square foot facility in the middle of renovations. In the midst of this happening, I had to divert a shipment of salon equipment worth $4,000 to a storage facility in the middle of bad weather. A few months later, I opened my 1,500 square foot facility, only to experience flooding from the restaurant next door shortly after opening. The floor repair was supposed to take three days, but ended up being a month. USX

was closed the entire time. So you can imagine the amount of loss that occurred. The impact it had and still do till this day will always be a staple in my story. Although, that was a challenging experience, my greatest challenge is losing my mother to stage 4 colon cancer as an only child right after experiencing the financial devastation. Unfortunately, shortly after my mother’s passing, I got into an deer accident that totaled my car. The accident spared my life, but my memory was lost. This abrupt impact crushed my heart as a motivational speaker, mentor, and minister of the gospel. How do you continue to teach, preach, mentor and counsel if you can’t remember words, thoughts and events? This is a rhetorical question. During this period of time, I also felt unsupported in ways that I needed. Despite the memory loss and every obstacle that proceeded thereafter. These events created a fortitude and strength in me that is unmatched. For this, I am appreciative of the blessings and lessons obtained during all my experiences. The power of faith that God placed down on the inside of me has truly sustained me and continues to liberate and guide me every day.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
Published work

• Sophisticates Black Hair Magazine
• 2x Cilium #1 hairstylist in Anne Arundel County
• Style Q Magazine.
• Health Talk Magazine

Recognition & Acknowledgement from Mayors Office, House of Delegates, House of Representatives, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, and the State of Maryland.

Community Contributions

• Backpacks/ School Supplies
• Coats for Kids
• Socks and Shoes for seniors
• Meals for homeless
• Domestic Violence
• Lupus Awareness
• Breast Cancer
• National Cancer Society
• Look Good Feel Better Volunteer
• Community Events
• Motivational Speaker
• Mentor
• Life Coach

What does success mean to you?
Success for me is having the ability to evolve with purpose in mind despite the circumstances and situations that come to stop you. YOU GROW ANYWAY!!!

Pricing:

  • Stimulating Hair Growth Oil 4oz $30 8oz $50
  • Hydrating Sonshine Oil 4oz $35 8oz $60
  • Moisturizing Anti Breakage Treatment Shampoo 8oz $24.95
  • Moisturizing Anti Breakage Treatment Conditioner $29.95
  • Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner 16oz $24.95

Contact Info:

Suggest a Story: VoyageBaltimore is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in Local Stories