Never cross your arms so tight that you can’t give or receive; You can’t just take in business you have to give. In order to network you need to have something to offer and there’s nothing worse that someone that thinks they know it all so you’re not teachable and your too selfish to give. Now in my case I always wanted to learn so I didn’t have the attitude of “ knowing it all” however I’ve seen it plenty of times. I did have to learn how to share. It took some time, but I had to work on my skill enough to feel confident in what I was sharing and no matter who you teach, your talent is your talent which can’t be taken from you. At the end of the day the more you receive the more you should give so you can continue to receive.
I had the pleasure of interviewing: Sheena is the owner of QueenStylista’s Mane Artistry in Philadelphia. Sheena has been in the beauty industry for over 10 years and is know for her precise cuts and vibrant colors. She also is a devoted women of the Islamic faith who is on a mission to show that she can be a trailblazer in her industry.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
No, thank you for this opportunity. Styling Hair is something that I’ve been doing all of my life since a young age. I honestly feel like hair chose me which is the reason why I love it so much because it wasn’t forced, it was meant to be. I was always told that once you find something that you wouldn’t mind doing for free, that’s when you know you’ve found your career. I’ve played around with it for years before I actually took it seriously and now I can’t imagine doing anything else. There’s a few things that I did consider as a career choice which was Carpentry and interior design but neither one makes me as excited as styling hair. No matter what I thought about doing I was always led back to styling hair so I went to school for it in early 2000s.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I have a few interesting stories but I think the most interesting thing was the day I hired a salon assistant and that day I started her, I intentionally started her on a very busy day because I wanted to see how she worked under pressure. Now that may not have been such a good idea because she didn’t last longer than 4 hours lol. She took a lunch break and never came back. I have to admit we laughed non-stop.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I think I made starting out was not having an accountant. I blew a lot of money and I didn’t understand the logistics and financial part of running a business. I just knew that I needed to style hair and pay bills so I would use one account for business and personal needs which was a huge mistake. I didn’t Understand the importance of separating the business money from my money, knowing what my expenses are and what I needed to save. Don’t get me started on taxes… but with the help of my Accountant/ Bookkeeper Thomas Pender of TP Taxes helped me understand everything. So I say that was the funniest mistake I’ve made (so far) because even though I was horrible with money in the beginning, Thomas helped me recover and prepared me for my growing business.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe with all my heart that my business stands out not only for our quality of hair art but our dedication for great customer service. I would like to think of QueenStylista’s Mane Artistry as the Chic-Fil-A of Hair Salons lol. For example, anytime you go to Chick-Fil-A you’re greeted with the best attitude with a smile, your food is always consistentwhich is amazing and the restaurant is always clean. That’s how I feel about my company. Now I can feel that way but others can feel different I know but the reviews say the same and I’m very grateful.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
I did a networking event in December that will bring together other Artist such as Hair Stylist, Make Up Artist, Photographers, etc. So many of us complain about missing networking events, how we don’t support each other enough or even how we didn’t know of someone within the same industry, so I thought this event would help mend that bridge and allow us to create more opportunities for the future, offer our expertise, collaborate and uplift one another. From this event a portion of the proceeds will go to a charity that myself, friends and our children started called “Giving Is A Gift’ where we all get together and provide products or even services to families in need. I also have an amazing event that’s in the works in which Perfectly Flawless and QueenStylista’s Mane Artistry has paired up to have” A Sisterhood Day Re-Treat” (March 16th 2019 10 am-3 pm)in California focusing on empowered women, empowering women through conversation, massage, shopping, networking and education. Starting or running a business can be very hard and it’s very common to forget about taking care of yourself so this day will focus on implementing self-care back into your life while learning key tools to help your business thrive. My educational classes “ Triple Threat HD” will be on the road in 2019 so I’m really excited about releasing those dates really soon. My classes help Artist within the hair industry understand the science of hair cutting and styling. I break things down in the simplest form in a way that a student could understand and teach advance techniques for more seasoned stylist as well. I’m very excited about the future.
What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?
When it comes to building a team you would definitely want to understand what theirgoals are so you can help aid assistance. You must understand that as a leader you have to give and be compassionate. They must also be clear on what your goal is and the role they play in helping you reach it. To me everyone must give or have a purpose. Communication is also key. So many issues arise when building a team or even working with others because your not communicating properly. Team meetings should happen at least once a month or as often as a new project come up. Taking educational classes always lights a fire under you so taking them together as a team works in everyone’s favor because you stay on the same page. Most importantly you must respect and appreciate your team, understand that they are bosses and they are essential to your company, led by example and show them the possibilities when you push the envelope.
What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?
I have a small team right now and honestly, I can’t imagine managing a large one but I’m working on it lol. So thinking forward I would say you need multiple assistants or appointed people that you can trust to run your business the way that you would run it. Hire and appoint staff based on their expertise. I think a lot of us fail trying to give someone a job that their just not good at and getting upset when things aren’t done correctly. You have to be great delegating things to those that can handle the task. I’m very specific with how I want things done and I know I have to deliver in a way that they understand not how I understand. Being lazy is out… You can’t be lazy at all and everything you had someone else do I feel that you need to follow up because If something is wrong you would rather know sooner than later. Check ins are necessary if you’re running a business that you’re not physically working at. You should check in often to ensure your staff/ team is representing your company in the best fashion. Have a meeting with the employees, make sure they are happy, hear their concerns, examine the property to see if repairs are needed, read reviews to see how the customers feel etc. Just stay connected.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Although many people helped me along the way, I would have to say that the team at La Pearls Beauty Emporium helped me create a solid foundation. Mrs. Pearl gave me a chance working in her salon when I was still in hair school. I was not licensed and I needed plenty of grooming and she took a chance on me. I learned how to run salon software, how important it was to file taxes, business etiquette and that’s aside from what I learned with styling and keeping hair healthy. Being there for 8 years from the age of 22 until I opened my own salon I also learned life lessons that I carry with me to this day. If I was anywhere else I’m not sure where I would be and not too many people care about your growth inside and out and they did there so I’m very thankful that that was my start.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Man, I feel like I bring goodness to the world one head at a time. Honestly, I don’t get out much nor do I give back on a large scale like I would like too. However, the impact that I make on my clients or any individual that walks into QueenStylista’s Mane Artistry is major to me. Clients come to a salon for great service, peace, laughter and relaxation. I notice when someone is having a bad day and I tend to them accordingly. I love communicating and being a problem solver so that’s what I do. I make women feel beautiful, I work on their spirit if they allow, I shower them with compliments, I treat them to services that they may not be able to afford without them asking, I make my laughter contagious if there not having a good day, I give an ear to vent if needed, I encourage and I give sound advice, one head at a time.
What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned from My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
a. Always lead by example; I’ve made the mistake a few times with not leading by example and I’ve always ended up with results I didn’t want. With doing that I viewed myself as being a hypocrite and I didn’t like how that made me feel. So I forced myself to implement the same rules and regulations I was giving to others on to myself.
b. No one owes you anything; Starting out I wanted help from everyone lol. However not everyone will have your best interest and work as hard as you and I had to learn that. Everyone don’t have the same dreams and work ethic and you have to understand that your business should be a strong force to be reckoned with even if your were the only employee. I worked as the only stylist for the first year of opening because I wanted to see how well I could do with just my ideas, my drive, my talent, by business management without leading anyone. I needed to see how I could lead myself first.
c. Policies/ Contracts are necessary; You ever confirmed something with someone via email or text and they forgot… you gladly pull up that email or text to show right? That’s exactly why policies ad contracts are so necessary. I used to hire without a policy to reference and man was that a silly thing to do. I found myself repeating what someone should and shouldn’t be doing all the time, what a headache right…… I’m so happy I learned from that headache. In business our word is our bond and our bond need to be in black and white. We all have a position to fill and its best that its on paper.
d. Stay educated; You can never know enough. The industry is always evolving, there’s always a new trend, new technique, new products, new business strategies etc. Staying educated can reduce an early burnout, it keeps you excited and always planning new goals and if you’re a leader and not staying educated, no one will want to learn from you, keep that in mind.
e. Never cross your arms so tight that you can’t give or receive; You can’t just take in business you have to give. In order to network you need to have something to offer and there’s nothing worse that someone that thinks they know it all so you’re not teachable and your too selfish to give. Now in my case I always wanted to learn so I didn’t have the attitude of “ knowing it all” however I’ve seen it plenty of times. I did have to learn how to share. It took some time, but I had to work on my skill enough to feel confident in what I was sharing and no matter who you teach, your talent is your talent which can’t be taken from you. At the end of the day the more you receive the more you should give so you can continue to receive.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
It would be to focus on self improvement and this should take a year so be patient with yourself. I would call it “ Living My Best Life Movement”. You have to write a list of 12 improvements you would like to make within your self and attack them one at a time, for ex ( time management, patience, healthy eating, giving back, saving, not procrastinating, forgiving, self care, starting your business etc) . Give yourself one month total for each thing, they say it takes 28 days to break a habit right???. now within this year choose someone within your circle or family and keep them close. Let them see your change, share your story, give them words of encouragement, give guidance and act selflessly. Imagine the impact that something like this can make. Not only are you working on being a better you but your silently working on your neighbor…. Wow! that can change the world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Well my two favorites thus far is “ You get what you put out” and “ You should forgive as fast as you would want God to forgive you”…. I stand by these quotes daily. I work as hard as I need to in order to get the results I want and I know that I will come across plenty of people that will hurt me or my feelings without a care in the world but I pray that I will forgive them fast so I can be free of hatred.