For Patrice Yursik having natural hair is more than a fad, itās about embracing her God-given curls and understanding that itās just as beautiful as any other form of tresses. Longing to see a reflection of herself in mainstream media, the Chicago-based blogger took matters into her own hands and created Afrobella.com, a blog that celebrates women who are āall shades of beautiful,ā and reviews products for natural hair.
Since launching in 2006, Afrobella.com has won several Black Weblog Awardsāincluding Best Niche Blog, Best Culture Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, and Best Style and Fashion. Now, Yursikās achievements are being recognized by BlackEnterprise.com as part of our first annual Black Blogger Month. Here, she discusses her journey to loving her natural tresses and the business of blogging about beauty.
I started blogging becauseā¦
I started noticing a void in the representation of women who look like me in magazines and online. There werenāt any natural hair blogs to speak of at that time. So I wanted to write about natural hair and also kind of depict the fact that just because you have natural hair, doesnāt mean youāre wearing clothes that you made yourself out of hemp and make-up made from natural pigments. Women who are natural can also be glamorous.
Afrobella stands out becauseā¦
Theyāre a lot of natural hair blogs, theyāre a lot of Black beauty blogs right now but, I bring a very different perspective. I bring kind of a journalistic standard. You know, Iām definitely a writer first and foremost. I think that people are drawn to my perspective and my personality I guessā¦ Itās a unique perspective. I say that Iām often imitated but never duplicated.
People trust my brand becauseā¦
I have built a relationship with my readers where they have grown to trust me and respect what I have to say. People tell me, āI wanted buy this product but I wanted to wait until you wrote the review because that helps me make a decision.ā Thatās huge! To know that people are actually waiting for my views on something, especially a natural hair product. I think that itās important to build your credibility and to maintain your credibility, and Iāve been able to do that.
The biggest mistake I ever made in business wasā¦
Not knowing enough about my business and not knowing my worth as a blogger. You get so excited when brands start paying attention to you, and you get so excited when people start e-mailing you on exclusive press releases or exclusive information. You start thinking, āWow, they know who I am.ā Itās really easy to just jump at the first opportunity, and not realize that people are in fact looking at what you do. They realize your power before you might even have an awareness of what it is.
What I learned from that wasā¦
That I need to consider the opportunities that come my way a lot more carefully. Iāve learned to take it more seriously. I was taking something from being my hobby and being a personal outlet for my creativity into a brand and a business.
I realized blogging was a business whenā¦
I had been invited to various events and the opportunities and possibilities for me on my own were in fact greater than a 9-5 could ever offer me. It was time for me to make a leap. And I had a strong enough platform at that point that I could make the leap.
The pros of running a niche blog areā¦
You can brand yourself as an expert pretty much. You become the default expert in that field. So I get people asking me the most detailed hair questions.
The cons of running a niche blog areā¦
People can see you as limited to your niche and sometimes the opportunities that might come to people who are not in your niche. It may frustrate you sometimes.
Networking has helped me toā¦
Grow my traffic. Itās been everything to my business. Iāve made invaluable friendships through networking. Iāve found mentors and Iāve been able to mentor people in turn through networking. Especially if you want to talk about social networking, thatās really what made it possible for my blog to strive and grow.
I measure my success byā¦
I think that thereās no set yardstick. Iāve already exceeded just about every benchmark I set for myself in my mind. Itās easy to start comparing yourself with other peopleās success and thatās a dangerous trap to fall into. I try to just look at my success as not a yardstick thatās defined and something thatās continually growing and changing.
In business, you should never be afraid toā¦
Go with your gut instincts. If youāre getting feelings telling you you should do something, donāt go against them. Time and time again Iāve realized that I should always listen to my first instinct instead of doubting myself. That inner voice is telling you what itās telling you for a reason.
If I werenāt blogging Iād beā¦
Writing in some capacity. Thatās what Iām born to do.
Anyone that wants to follow in my footsteps shouldā¦
Make sure that your platform is safe and strong before you jump. But donāt be afraid to take that leap of faith. There are bigger and better things waiting for you outside the cubicle.
The image of Black beauty should always beā¦
Up to the person. A person with natural hair is naturally beautiful just like a person with straight hair. The tagline for my blog is, āBe yourself, be natural, be beautiful.ā And when I say natural I donāt necessarily mean natural hair, because I think that, especially now, itās kind of a fad, kind of a trend.
Black hair is important becauseā¦
Itās part of our history. Black hair is important because Black women care so much about it that we made it this multi-million dollar industry around the world. Black hair is our culture, itās our identity, itās our standard of beauty. Itās everything.
Be sure to check out the rest of the digital thought leaders as they’re revealed each day by logging on to BlackEnterprise.com/BlackBloggerMonth.