For over 25 years, Taliah Waajid has serviced and educated thousands of her clients and many consumers on the benefits of chemical-free haircare. A natural haircare specialist, Waajid is a licensed master cosmetologist and the manufacturer of the first complete line of products for natural, chemical-free haircare. Living, breathing, and loving natural hair, Waajid put her passion on a global stage as the founder and presenter of the World Natural Hair, Health & Beauty Show™ (naturalhairshow.org) which is the world’s largest natural hair, beauty, and health show of its kind.
Her journey began when her mother refused to give in when Waajid begged her for a perm. She learned to manage and style her hair in creative ways that quickly attracted a following as well as styling requests from friends and neighbors. At 14 years old, she started her haircare business and quickly built a client base. In 1988, she opened her first natural hair salon in Harlem, and continued to build a reputation for healthy, creative, natural styles.
BlackEnterprise.com had a chance to talk with the beauty industry veteran about what inspires her, critical skills needed to succeed, and methods to reinvent your brand both personally and professionally.
What inspires you to tirelessly work after 25 years of service in the industry?
I am always inspired by being able to get up and go to work. So many do not have that privilege or opportunity. I am also inspired, humbled, and very grateful because I am blessed to be able to earn a good living doing what I love.
As a seasoned business leader, what skills are necessary for success?
Business people have to be curious and never comfortable. Also, knowing and understanding the basic fundamentals of what you do is paramount for success.
Innovation is key. What methods do you apply to reinvent your brand both personally and professionally?
We have incorporated more tools that measure what we do when participating in marketing promotions and other aspects of my business. I am huge on analytics. I need to know and understand the, “why” whether it is good or bad.
Personally, I have three wonderful granddaughters that all have very different personalities and three very different hair types. I listen very closely to them. I watch them closely to see how they interact alone, with each other and in different purchasing environments. They are my inspiration for innovation as it pertains to hair styling and the creation of some of my product lines. Their age groups are my future customers.
How do you differentiate your brand in a crowded marketplace?
I stay focused on what’s best for building my brand. My brand and the products that I offer are developed based on my over 25 years of experience in caring for and wearing natural hair. I am my brand. I am my customer, that’s why I understand her needs. I understand the struggles and joys of dealing with and learning to love this kinky, curly, coily hair. I talk to the customer in the language that she needs to hear.
What, in your opinion has been one of the most challenging moments that you’ve experienced in business and why?
I have had many challenging moments throughout my years in business. Change is always challenging because it never comes when you are prepared.
Define your personal culture and how you infuse that into your brand.
My culture is laid back, natural, and easy. I’m very soft-spoken and light but also direct, firm, and aggressive when necessary. My brands are pretty close to my culture because I am very direct with communicating to my customers that, “healthy hair/healthy body” are most important.
What’s next for Taliah Waajid?
I believe the sky is the limit. God willing, I will never stop being curious and I will always be creating.