To celebrate Black History Month, we're speaking to black-owned business founders to get an idea of their journey. This week we're speaking with Savanna, the stylist behind Savs Styles. Here's what Savanna had to say...
1. What inspired you to build your business?
Since the age of 7/8 when I learnt to braid, I’ve always had an interest in hair. Throughout my younger teenage life, I would braid my friends and families hair, which then developed into mutual friends through word of mouth, and now I have been able to create a successful business. Every other career path I tried to go down didn’t work and I always went back to doing hair, which made me realise this is my calling and this is what makes me the happiest.
2. What achievement are you most proud of?
I am most proud of the fact that I can be fully booked within 24 hours of releasing my appointments. This gives me so much joy as there are many braiders out there, but my loyal and new customers decide to choose me every time. This gives me a real sense of fulfilment.
3. What hurdles have you had to overcome?
At the start of building your business, it's hard to gain a social media following and traction. It has taken me a long time to grow my platform to where it is now, and I am still growing but with all of the changes to platforms such as Instagram and the ever-changing algorithms, it's hard to keep up and keep your content current and interesting.
4. How do you keep yourself motivated?
I think about how far I’ve come and all my clients who rely on me every month to help them feel confident in themselves. Your hair is your crown, and it's interesting to see the importance some people place on having their hair done, especially for their mental health. So, the encouragement from my clients and my family is what really keeps me motivated.
5. Are there any business founders that inspire you? If so, who are they?
I am inspired by an American braider called Laid By Lanaaa. She’s only 19 years old but has been able to grow a large following, do many famous people’s hair and teaches others her skills. This is the level I’d like to be at in the near future.
6. Where would you like your business to be in the next few years?
I’d like for my business to keep growing, to be able to train other young girls and have a salon where people can come to and feel warmth and relaxation when getting their treatments done.
7. How does the hair and beauty industry need to evolve for more talent to breakthrough?
More training needs to be available to everyone, from all different backgrounds and races. More emphasis also needs to be put on the importance of perfecting your craft and having good social and customer service skills, as this is what will give you longevity.
8. What advice do you have for any aspiring black business founders?
Always stay true to yourself and never give up. There will be many other people with the same ideas as you, doing the same thing as you, but as long as you always stay grounded and treat people with respect and kindness, you will get far.
9. What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month to me is a time where black talent, black sacrifice and black struggle should be spoken about and celebrated. As black people, we have come very far in this world. We still have a long way to go, but us young black business owners especially are thriving in our industries despite all the obstacles put against us, we’ve been able to make something of our own, something no one can take away from us, which is amazing and needs to be celebrated.