In 1997, she launched with a leap of faith into full-time entrepreneurship after her employer went through a reorg and downsized the department from 15 computer programmers to seven, with increased workloads without increased pay.
DeShawn Bullard has been practicing cosmetology for 21 years and is the CEO of NouriTress Hair Products, L.L..C (www.nouritress.com) based out of Atlanta. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Tuskegee University, a Master Cosmetology license from the Georgia State Board of Cosmetology and a certificate in Trichology.
This native of Chicago didn’t know much about beauty especially growing up as a tomboy who loved playing basketball. Certainly, hair and makeup wasn’t the main focus. After arriving to Tuskegee, she started to see young, stylish ladies and that caused her to start paying more attention to her own image and hair styling. “I started getting compliments on my hair and was repeatedly asked who did my hair. I started getting requests to style others’ hair. Quickly, I became known as the girl on campus who was styling everyone’s hair.”
Post-college, she continued her love and passion for building the confidence of women and making them feel good through haircare and styling. Regular clientele consisted of church members, friends, and family that she serviced after work and on the weekends. After some nudging from her husband, and more demand from the community, she reluctantly enrolled at Atlanta Area Technical School in the field of Cosmetology. One of her concerns was many African American hair stylists were depicted as unprofessional, uneducated, and labeled with the “I do hair” hobby image.
After acquiring her license, she couldn’t locate a salon that would provide the corporate atmosphere and professionalism to service the type of clients she wanted to attract. In 1996, she opened her own salon and advanced swiftly in the beauty industry taking on the role of director of education for a salon professional haircare line. Because of her corporate background, this company contracted position allowed her to work in the salon Tuesday through Saturday and travel nationally and internationally to countries such as Brazil and Canada, teaching other beauty industry professionals how to use the brand she represented as well as how to grow and run a successful beauty business.
Her mission was to empower beauty industry professionals to take their business to the next level. After her contract ended, Bullard decided to leverage and transfer industry knowledge and experience to start her own hair product line. “Since I had a behind-the-scenes and front-row seat to the processes that went into creating hair products for African American women; in 1998, I decided to give women who were experiencing issues such as hair breakage, hair loss, and thinning a non-gimmick product that would really help them experience healthy, beautiful hair again. Thus NouriTress Perfect Hair Products was birthed with one product, NouriTress Perfect Hair Vitamins.”
Bullard started selling the product online from her basement and in the salon while working as a full-time hair stylist. The response was overwhelmingly favorable as women were reporting positive results and demanding other products to maintain healthy hair. In 2002, the NouriTress brand was expanded with hair maintenance products such as its Stimulating Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner. In 2007, with revenues steadily increasing, her one part-time employee moved from the basement into their new office space. In 2012, she got her first BIG break into a major retailer, J.C. Penney, and soon after expanded to Target stores. Today, NouriTress products are currently sold in retail stores such as Walgreens, Tops & Giant Eagle Grocery, and in select beauty supply stores and salons nationally and internationally such as Canada, United Kingdom, and Africa.
Stay connected to the global NouriTress movement, and national upcoming events at consumer tradeshows including the next event, Miami Jazz in The Gardens. Website: www.deshawnbullard.com www.nouritress.com Twitter: @nouritress Twitter: @thehaircoach Facebook: facebook.com/nouritress Facebook.com/deshawnbullard.entrepreneur. Office information: PO Box 491601, Atlanta, GA 30349 Phone: 770-719-9082, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roz A. Gee (@RozAGee) is an event speaker, media contributor and consultant, and CEO of The Rated Gee Agency with core service sectors in media relations, brand readiness and speaking/training. She has masterfully mixed over 20 years of cumulative experience and has worked professionally for industry titans such as General Electric, AT&T, AOL, IBM, and Northrop Grumman. Schedule a complimentary analysis at www.MediaMatchMaven.com. You can find Roz on Twitter: @RozAGee and Facebook: TheRatedGeeAgency.