Published on Monday August 15th, 2016 by Afrocks
Interview of Sandra Dodds, Founder of BlackHairBlackBeauty Natural Hair Salon in South London
Following the opening of their brand new natural hair salon in Norwood, South London, we briefly talked with Sandra Dodds, founder of Black Hair Black Beauty. You should hear what she has to say! Very inspiring!
How are you Sandra? Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am blessed thank you. Well as you know my name is Sandra. I have recently set up a business called Blackhairblackbeauty. I am a mother to my beautiful boy and I am an author. I love surrounding myself by nature, such as parks, and am passionate about supporting others to empower themselves.
How long have you been wearing natural hair for?
I have been natural for over 3 years now!
Can you tell us what really triggered your natural hair journey?
I was pregnant with my boy – he is 2 and a half now. When I was pregnant, I did not want to chemically straighten my hair as I was concerned that it could have an impact on my unborn child. Thus, I started to put my hair in braids. Following the birth of my child, I made a conscious decision to no longer relax my hair so I eventually went for the ‘big chop’. I have not looked back since!
Natural hair is a statement which the black women communicates to the world. She is saying loud and proud ‘this is me, take me as I am…I am naturally beautiful’.
Amazing! How do you see natural hair empowering women on a daily basis?
For me personally, natural hair is more than a style. I mentioned this before to another blogger. Natural hair is a statement which the black women communicates to the world. She is saying loud and proud ‘this is me, take me as I am…I am naturally beautiful’. For me, it is a feeling of being liberated because I freely get to express who and what I am as a black female. I am hopeful other black women will agree.
We heard that you guys recently opened your natural hair salon in Norwood? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes, we opened our first natural hair and beauty salon in Norwood, South London. We are working in partnership with Virgo Fidelis school and so the salon is actually based there. The salon has a beauty section, hair section, reception area and kitchen area so it is evidently spacious. The salon is open to the students, teachers, parents, the schools church members and even has a separate entrance for the general public. We understand that the location may be far for people so we also offer the following services; Mobile hair and beauty services, Bridal hair and beauty packages, Natural hair and beauty workshops and Children’s hair.
This is fantastic! Are you going to focus on hair only or do you want to extend the range of services?
We are looking to extend and offer services in Barbering, Massage therapy, Eye care (such as threading), Skin care (such as facials). We are looking for professionals in the above fields to rent spaces in order to make this happen – so feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
In terms of partnerships with other black beauty businesses, do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment?
You know, I am also extremely passionate about supporting black owned businesses so if anyone is interested in promoting their product at the reception area then please do not hesitate to contact us! The fee is only £3.00-£3.50 a day – I can only permit 30 products at a time. The product does not necessarily have to be in relation to hair and beauty. The more diverse the products are, the more they will get noticed!
How do you see the natural hair industry in the UK and how can we
improve skills and knowledge?
Over the last 5 years, I have seen a noticeable change in the natural hair industry. I am noticing more and more everyday women rocking their beautiful natural hair which brings a huge smile to myself. I am also starting to see more and more afro hair shops which are owned by black women! We are owning who we are. In line with the black lives matter campaign, it is evident to me that we are consciously working hard to support each other and build a strong black community. Black women are showing their self worth. Black women are powerful! Black women are queens! In terms of improving our skills, I say that we should continue to build our community in order to progress.
Last question: what advice would you give to black women who are starting their own business, whether it is in the beauty industry or any other sector?
I would say to a black woman who is thinking of starting a business. Do not think-DO! If you want to do something go for it! The advice I give is to develop a positive mindset-believe you can achieve anything, and your mindset will take you to your destination. Also create a positive environment – these will be people who also have a positive mindset. They will motivate you when you come across challenges or push you to achieve your dreams. I will be giving inspirational talks (details on the website www.blackhairblackbeauty.co.uk) on this as I started from literally nothing but my mindset led me to this point and I still have a lot to achieve. I got put down and deterred in so many different ways by so many different people but I never gave up. Finally when you reach your destination, remain humble and remember those in your environment.
Sandra’s has always had a passion to support people who want to improve their lives. She spent the early part of her career supporting disadvantaged adults, by using her skills and knowledge to empower them to grow independently. In 2013, Sandra also self published her first book called ‘Therapy’. The overall message of the book is that ‘no matter what you are going through, you will be ok’. After discovering she was expecting, Sandra made the conscious decision to stop chemically processing her hair. This decision came with many challenges. These challenges motivated her to set up Black Hair Black Beauty, an organisation that gives black woman easy access to information and advice for natural hair and skin care. Sandra strives to be an active voice of natural beauty as she strongly believes that it is important to love who we truly are.