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Meet Trailblazer Tina Carter

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Carter.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Tina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida as a child, somehow I knew I wanted to be more than just “average”. Even in my youth, whether in school, sports, or in my circle of friends, I took charge, led, and brought people together while maintaining healthy relationships with those whose goals aligned with my own.

In the 7th grade in a Talented and Gift class, we were told to write down a goal for our future. I found that assignment in my garage in an old backpack about two years ago. It read ” I want to be successful and be able to take care of my family” Honestly, I am not sure at 12 years old what was the thought I put into writing down that goal, but I pray my 12-year-old self is now proud of the woman I have become today!

Being born in a challenging situation to a 19-year-old single mom who wasn’t ready to be a mother, I was left to be raised by my single grandmother from an infant.  I had to learn to overcome challenges at an early age wondering why my parents were not present in the home during the fundamental development stage of my childhood. Raised in a house with teenage Uncles & my Aunt, I grew up fast and was used to being in and knowing “Grown Folks” business, lol! So, I was always curious and wanting to be “grown” before my time.

Eventually, I then became a mom, a teen mom at the tender age of 15.  I was told by my mom & other family members all I would become was a woman on welfare with a house full of kids living in the projects– basically, they were disappointed and assumed I messed up my future of being anything positive in LIFE!

I was called so many negative things for being a teen unwed mom, but what I answered to and decided to do was TRAIL BLAZE my own path and walk in the purpose that’s destined for me!

With the help of my supportive grandmother, Willow, she gave me a 2nd chance at life by encouraging me to go to college, helping me raise my daughter and then later on my son as well. I went on to graduate high school and then on to college and achieved my Bachelor’s in Accounting and Masters in Business Administration! (Oh yes – RELENTLESS baby!) Once I graduated college in 2002, I was recruited by a large international investment firm – Packed up, left Ft. Lauderdale at the age 23 and moved to Atlanta with my 7-year-old daughter by my side.

Since I was 19 years old, I had been working in Corporate America in the financial services industry. This was a dream career path for a teen mom from the hood! However, once I got laid off in 2013, I realized I needed to have something of my OWN. Something where I can provide employment for others, a fun environment while empowering & helping the community.

Even though I am not a hairstylist, I realized not only was I looking for a business venture, but I LOVED hair, going to the salon to get my dose of tea, sisterhood and was also empowered by the new natural hair movement. At this point, I had been natural & loc’d for almost 10 years — from which birthed my alias “Nerd with Dreads”. So, I decided to partner up with local talented stylists who were looking for a fresh start and a unique opportunity. After months of searching the city of Atlanta, I found the perfect location and opened a hair salon that specialized in natural hair opening the doors in May 2017 – Naturalz Salon- The “Z” is for Zen. 🙂

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s definitely has been a bumpy and winding road at Naturalz Salon! As with any business, raising capital was important and a challenge. Having multiple streams of income is HUGE plus when looking to fund your business ventures. Definitely had to be creative in that aspect. Finding the right people to partner with and work within the business was a HUGE challenge the first year.

There were MANY nights of sleep lost over personnel issues and the fear of failure due to bad choices in people. However, it was actually a learning experience of what to look for when bringing people aboard. The learning process actually never stops!

My advice would be to make sure when choosing a handyman to business partners, PLEASE do your research. Call around for business references. Make sure you are aligning yourself with individuals who have the same mindset and end goals. All money is NOT good money and you could find yourself in a lawsuit or suing someone due to bad business practices. Get everything in writing – contracts are VERY important to protect yourself and business interests.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Well, there are a few hats that I wear — I am the Owner & Business Manager of Naturalz Hair Salon while still maintaining a full-time career as Portfolio Accounting Manager & Realtor for a privately owned investment firm in Atlanta.

What I am most proud of is the professional team of talented stylists and the support of the clientele we have at Naturalz Salon. Even through challenges and transitions over the past two years as a new business, we have remained steady and are determined to thrive and become a pillar in our community.

What sets us apart is Naturalz Salon is an artsy open loft space with beautiful ethnic murals and almost 3,000 sq. ft. with a performance stage. We are located inside the Arts and Business Lofts of Met ATL near the Historic West End.

We began as a natural hair salon and have expanded our horizons as we grew to add certified & licensed stylists to our team. We service men, women, & children with any hair type – kinky, curly, straight, thick or fine! Our specialties range from loose natural hairstyles, locs, braiding, silk press to cutting, coloring, sew-ins and quick weaves!

Naturalz Salon hosts industry and community events in our space — Open mic, fashion shows, networking mixers, hair classes, yoga, model searches, photoshoots, and even movie filming! We also participate in community outreach projects and partner up with corporations such as Amerigroup for Back to School Style Tours.

Naturalz Salon strives to provide a professional, relaxing and welcoming environment for our clients. Client satisfaction is of the utmost importance as repeat clients and referrals drive our business — “Good Vibes with Good People”

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Young women – LOVE what you do and do what you LOVE! Don’t be afraid to fail – Don’t be afraid to start over- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Don’t be afraid to say NO and REMOVE all things that disturb your peace. Cliche, I know, but it holds true.

Boss up!!!! Be strong and stand up for what you believe in. Always make the decision that sits well in your spirit– trying to satisfy everyone, will sacrifice your sanity, values, morals and is definitely the fastest way to failure!

If you constantly dream about it, can’t stop thinking about it — GO FOR IT! There are so many great ideas, dreams, and goals in the graveyards that never materialized of those who failed to have the COURAGE to just… GO FOR IT!

Pricing:

  • Salon Booth Rentals Max Out at $150
  • Event Rental Space Starts at $100/hr
  • Good Vibes – FREE 🙂

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Photos by Shannon Johnson Photography (http://www.shannonjphotography.com) & Lemont Dr. Enterprises (https://www.facebook.com/Lemont.Dr.Enterprises/)

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