Today we’d like to introduce you to Rickia Brown.
Hi Rickia, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started doing hair when I was a kid, roughly around the age of six. I used to watch my mom do hair from the kitchen and would sit for hours watching her in amazement. I started to pick up what I would see and practice on my sisters and doll babies. I began taking clients at the age of 14. I would braid a lot of my neighbor’s hair on the porch. Doing hair was something that always relaxed me and took me to another place. I love the act of this service because I get to see people’s moods change. It’s from the outside in. Something about your hair being done or not done can really determine your mood. She feels more empowered, beautiful, inspired and happy when your hair is done. Hair is a mood changer.
I graduated from Coppin State University with a degree in Management Science (aka Business management). I knew that I wanted to do hair but my grandparents were very adamant on me going to college; I also wanted to make myself proud because many people doubted that I’d ever go.
Growing up with a mom that struggled with drugs, a lot of odds were against me. But I was determined to show people that I can come from struggle and become successful. I am happy that my mom is clean and healthy to be a witness to my accomplishments.
In 2011, I quit my government job to pursue doing hair full time. My now husband gave me the green light. He told me that he would take care of the bills while I pursued my dream and if I did not execute a plan within three years, I would have to go find a job.
I began building my clientele at home in an area where I created a salon space. I would pass out my flyers EVERY week and put them under over 300 doors in the building that I lived in. Before I knew it, I had clients. People loved being able to basically get their hair done at home. Eventually, it was time to go into a salon to be able to comfortably service clients. I worked at a few salons and found myself always helping them with their business. I would tell them all of the ideas I had for marketing and branding. After a while I said, “I could do this for myself”. Fast forward a few salons and years later, I stepped out and opened my own salon workspace at Salon plaza. It was a small suite with one chair and bowl, but it was mine. It was all of the space I needed to be able to express the brand Pretty Hair Rockz that I was now building.
I made the best of that space and soon had the opportunity to have a larger space in my uncle’s barbershop that had a salon in the back. I had the opportunity to take over the salon for a shocking price that was beyond comfortable for me. However, I did not want to stay in that comfort. He never raised the rent on me, but every few months I raised it on myself. I was preparing to take over his entire salon, that was the end goal that he wanted for me.
I spent a couple of years preparing and I was almost ready and then…BAM! The global covid-19 pandemic hit! I had no idea what the future held, but I did not want to take over the salon in such an unpredictable time. Everyone had to pack up and go home. When I got home, I went into straight hustle mode. I began going back to making my wigs on the sewing machine, something I had put on pause. I was selling so many wigs and products during the beginning of the pandemic. I even taught a free online class and earned money from donations. Wig making became my golden ticket.
When I would sit in my prayer office and pray and meditate, I kept getting the urge that I needed to move from my uncle’s shop. I said “ok God, if I am supposed to move show me where and how”. To my surprise, I found the perfect spot online. But this can’t be it….right? How so soon? How so easy?
I went to check out the space and it was PERFECT. I loved everything about it, and the price was very comfortable for me even in the pandemic with not being able to see as many clients. I asked the property manager to send me the application. Another person was also interested. I called and waited for about a week to get the application. Finally, the property manager said “well the other person just signed the lease”. I said “I never got the chance to apply”. He explained to me that there was another space across the hall, but I didn’t want that space.
It was something very symbolic about me being on Georgia Avenue. Being from DC and growing up in northwest (which is literally across the street from my salon) it was something that just meant more by me being on “the ave”. It made me feel like being there was like winning a race and placing the baton back where I started, so my answer was, “no thanks”. I needed to be on Georgia Avenue and that was my mission. I needed to see me a young black business owner on one of the main streets in the DMV area. At one point, I gave up on this particular location, but my husband said “don’t take no for an answer CALL BACK”! I said, “why would I call back if someone ALREADY SIGNED THE LEASE”!? Like that’s just crazy…right? WRONG! Every week I listened to my husband and called back, this went of for about a month. One week they were waiting on the guy’s deposit. The next week, they were waiting to hear from him. BUT, in between that time my prayers got stronger, my vision got clearer and I began to fast, meditate and pray.
I started driving pass the salon and talking to the building. I would say “this is my salon, thank you God in advance”! I would take pictures of it and envision how I wanted it to look. I called another week and was told that they still haven’t heard from the guy and to call back on Monday. My prayers got even stronger!!
Oh but Monday came and so did my call! And I heard something I couldn’t believe. “You know what’s strange we STILL haven’t heard from the guy, he just disappeared”. He didn’t say it in a bad way but more like the person backed out. FINALLY, I was able to apply!! I continued to fast and pray. I actually have journals where I wrote out how beautiful my salons was as if I already had it. On the very last day of my fast, I got a call, “hey Rickia, I just spoke with the owner and he said, “it is all yours”!! I calmly said, “cool thanks so much”! I got off the phone and said to my client with tears in my eyes “nooooo y’all don’t understand”! I told them my good news and kept repeating, “y’all don’t understand”. I grabbed my journal and said, “I wrote this down”! I been praying and fasting and everything I wrote is coming to life!! My client burst into tears and expressed to me how happy she was. I had chills all over because I KNOW that it was God that got me here.
I made God a promise and that promise was once he clears me from my deep struggles with anxiety, I would do everything he asked of me. I promised him that I would not EVER stop talking about him and what he has done for me. Pretty Hair Rockz is built on nothing but faith and is powered but God. My dream has now become my reality. I’ll never stop praying, dreaming and manifesting. With God, ALL things are possible.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My biggest struggle has been my constant battles with anxiety. So many days, I felt lifeless, numb and like I wasn’t here. So many days, I didn’t know what to do. I hit rock bottom at one point mentally and financially but I slowly got up because failure wasn’t an option for me.
It has been a rocky road. But such an adventure. Everyday isn’t great but everyday isn’t bad. I changed my language with myself and stopped saying “I have to do” this that and the third and replaced it with; “I GET to do” this!
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a hairstylist. I love love love to make others feel beautiful from the outside in! I work with working women; whether they are businesswomen, entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers, or lawyers, I love to work with them all. These are the women that inspire me the most. I am known for helping women to get and keep healthy hair. I am most proud of what my brand represents and how it makes women feel. I love to empower women through beauty. I love to inspire others and show them that it is possible to be, have, and do whatever you want. Being a brand that represents integrity is what sets me apart from others. So many times, hairstylists get this rep for being rude, late, unprofessional, and a host of other things. One of our biggest compliments from clients is how professional we are! They love how much we care about them and their time. They feel super appreciated with us. I have created an oasis with my salon space because I want clients to love coming there, almost like a hair resort. I am not in this for the money, this is my passion. I touch way more hearts than heads. There have been times where I know someone may be struggling and I’ll whisper to them, “don’t worry about it today, my treat”. I am a giver and a secret giver at that. I hate that we are in times where people tend to pull their phones out to show that they are “giving”. I don’t have to display all of the good deeds that I have done because they show every time God shows up in my life.
What are your plans for the future?
Well…I’ll share my secret with you! By the time readers read this, it will be announced and open anyway lol. I am opening up my very first beauty supply store!! It is located right under my salon. It’s called the Beauty Box by Pretty Hair Rockz. I can not wait for the BIG reveal!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.prettyhairrockz.com
- Instagram: @prettyhairrockz
- Facebook: Pretty Hair Rockz
- Youtube: Pretty Hair Rockz
- Yelp: Pretty Hair Rockz