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Conversations with the Inspiring Kia Lewis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kia Lewis.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I started doing hair in 1994 while in high school when cornrows were popular. I would do different designs in people’s hair and each design would be a first. That’s when I discovered I had talent. In 1995, I attended Lincoln University. I would do hair in college to make some extra cash to buy necessities and books. I came to not only get an education, but to do what I love,and that was run track. My freshman year as a walk-on I qualified for Nationals. I competed in Nationals and won the 55m indoor dash.

I moved to Atlanta in 97 to run for Clark Atlanta. I received the Most valuable player Award and qualified for Nationals again. I did not do as well as I wanted to and went back to Philadelphia in 99. 2001, I had my daughter, and still had the desire to run for the Olympic Team. So, I packed my bags and my toddler up, and moved back to Atlanta with $2,000 is not much but I was determined to make it happen. 2003, I started working at Whole foods market. This was a dream job because this was my favorite store to shop. I was into the plant-based vegan lifestyle before it was popular so this was heaven to me. It was here that I would grow my hair business. Unbeknownst to me, that hair was going to be my thing.

In 2007, I built my very first home built by all women through the Habitat for humanity first time home buyers program.  I submitted my story to Habitat for humanity and the Warrick Dunn foundation selected my story and made me a receipient of his program.  The problem assists single parents with down payment assistance and completely furnishes the entire home.  This really helped give me a foundation to succeed. My full story was published in a book,”Away from the ball”. Last week CNN came to interview me and Warrick in my home. This will air March 7.

In my mind, I was an athlete. I lived to train. I worked hard to pay for training. I dreamed to compete with the best and I did. I trained with Olympic gold medalist, Angelo Taylor and Olympic Qualifier Tissili Rogers, just to name a few. Unlike them, they had sponsors like Nike to pay for therapy during their training. I had to give myself therapy because I couldn’t afford it. I would work 6-8 hours on my feet, then head straight to track practice for my Olympic development training with Coach Eric Campbell. Until one day in practice, I was doing 400 meter Repetitions and my legs gave out from underneath me and I found myself in excruciating pain. I had herniated my L5 disc! I was taken to Grady Hospital they wanted to perform immediate surgery, but even though the pain was intense, I declined and opted for alternative treatments.

I did spinal decompression therapy and Acupuncture therapy for six months. I took out a Care credit to pay for the services since my Medicaid insurance didn’t cover it. After six months, I was walking again! I couldn’t return to training immediately and this was the qualifying year. I missed my opportunity to be in the Olympics and my heart was shattered along with my dream. I went back to working at Wholefoods and met a woman name Dee Ali who ran a natural hair salon.  she invited me to come work at her salon because I gave her a card for my side hustle, doing hair. This is when I learned about the Sisterlocks Brand. I took her offer and worked with her doing locks and braids. The salon owner needed more help with her Sisterlock clients so she suggested I take the certification training. Best decision Ever!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I decided to go to Cosmetology school to refine my skill and natural talent. It was not easy because it was full time, I was a single mom, and I still had to make a living. I applied for all the grants and scholarships I could get, I continued to do hair after school and I continued working at Wholefoods part-time. It was exhausting but I had to push through it. If you want something bad you have to work hard for it. Nothing in life comes easy. It’s rewarding at the end when you have met your goal knowing you worked hard for it.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
I now do Sisterlocks full time, I give counseling to women about their hair and overall wellbeing. The Sisterlocks Brand is a registered trademark founded by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. She is a pioneer in the natural hair industry. She started her brand in 1993 to give women an option to wear a natural hairstyle that would be suitable for professional work environments without damaging their scalp with chemicals. This would empower women to know that it is ok to be your authentic natural self. This system was also created for the aspiring entrepreneur. She has helped me to become self-sufficient and self- made.

Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
Plan your work and work your plan. Stay organized and maintain a pleasant attitude. Customer Service is key in this industry as well as time. Show up before your appointment at least 30 min before. Keep a positive mindset, always have integrity and never let anyone tell you can’t reach your highest potential.

Pricing:

  • My consultation fee is $30
  • Sisterlocks can start at $475
  • Regular maintenance start at $99/mo
  • At least 400-550 locks are installed

Contact Info:

  • Website: Www.kialewis.com
  • Phone: 678.813.8970
  • Instagram: @kialewisnaturalhair
  • Facebook: Kia Naturals Sisterlocks of Atlanta
  • Twitter: Kiayuwnstar

Image Credit:
@shotxshan Shanika Roberts

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1 Comment

  1. KennetheaSmith

    November 20, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    I would love to book for a consultation so ready & excited to start my journey! How soon can I book and can this be done in a day or in session?

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