Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shantel Tatayana, Founder of Shantel Tatayana Hair, located in Baltimore, MD, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a hairstylist and beauty connoisseur, specializing in styling and haircare for nearly 20 years. My customers are people who love luxury, style, fashion, and self-care... who embrace the saying "when you look good, you feel good."

Tell us about yourself

When I tell this story, I often start off by saying that my career started off as a rebellion. I was accepted into an arts and technology magnet high school. My mother wanted me to take business classes, and I wanted to take dance. She said that if I could find a concentration with her business and my art, I could take it with no questions asked. I chose cosmetology, and it was love at first pin curl from there. But the rebellion isn't what keeps me in this business. Even with the ebbs and flows, ups and downs, in the beauty/hair industry... It's that first look in the mirror after my client's looks have been achieved. The happiness and excitement that comes from them are what keep me going and motivated to do more.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment will always be when I was selected to be a part of a New York Fashion Week hair team. That experience opened up the door for me to be a part of the LAFW hair team. Both opportunities have allowed me to travel, doing what I love to do the most in the fashion and entertainment sector while allowing me to work under my brand. It is truly a blessing!

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The hardest thing about being a business owner is the establishment of boundaries and holding to them. Business is business, and it is difficult at a time when your client is also a family member or a friend. I refuse to talk about business or perform business duties outside of my business hours. It's the only way I can maintain a work-life balance. Otherwise, I'll work all day and night.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Plan your work and work your plan. It's true some things you only learn by doing but do not fly by the seat of your pants. Have a plan. Know where you want to go from square one.
  2. Systems are important. Use calendars and booking systems. Build a mailing list. Have an actual website. Social media is cool... but if Instagram crashes (again), would your clients know how to find you outside of that?
  3. Have a life. When chasing success and building a business is all you see, it's easy to get mentally and physically burned out. Establish work-life balance early on. It is so much easier than trying to unlearn being a workaholic. Trust me!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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