For Women’s History Month I will be sharing the stories that define and provide examples of women empowerment, uplifting stories of personal triumph and businesses that are inspiring and are making a difference for women. Women’s History Month is a declared month each year that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
I want to introduce you to Erica Watson-Randolph.
Erica is the CEO and creator of MixxTresses Hair Collection. As a Licensed Cosmetologist and Natural Hair Salon Owner in NYC. With Woken’s History Month here and consideration of the recent election of the first Female and WOC VP, and the significant role Black women in Georgia played in creating this milestone in history, Erica, found it to be the prefect time to celebrate and encourage the embracing of our natural curls, coils and kinks. Black people’s physical appearance, including our hair has been a topic of discussion for a long time. So for Black History Month, Erica decided to recreate photos of prominent and iconic Black women of the past like Mahalia Jackson, Madam C.J. Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer and Mary McLeod Bethune with natural and textured hair styles using her hair extensions, services and hair products in an effort to encourage Black women to embrace and celebrate our natural kinks, curls and coils.
Here is HERstory:
Erica Watson has been a hairstylist for over 10 years & what began as a hobby for her as an adolescent, has now become her passion. She is skilled in natural hair care, hair repair and treatments, protective styling (twists, crochet braids, sew-ins, feed-in cornrows, lace closure & wig installs), two-strand twists, loc maintenance/repair and extensions and also provides lash extension and waxing services. She is very knowledgeable & focuses on HEALTHY hair above all. She aims to change the way people view acceptable hair services & provides her clients with a professional and memorable experience, all while making them feel beautiful and also teaching them how to care for their hair in between visits. In 2020 Erica started her branded natural hair care line featuring products like Tangle Release Conditioner, Triple C Hair Mask, Avocado Mint Hair Mask Moisturizing Hair Milkshake Creme , to name a few.
Her business is MixxTresses Hair Collection.
What does women empowerment mean to you?
Women empowerment means providing support, encouragement and resources with the goal and intent of strengthening women’s access to political, educational, economic and social wellness and advancements.
What advice or words of inspiration would you like to share with someone?
I’d share that the tools needed to succeed at anything we desire are always within in ourselves. However, sometimes and often, it requires some form of interaction with others, trust and faith to ignite and spark them.
What do you want your legacy to be?
My legacy will be up-lifting, encouraging and educating others about self-care and embracing their natural beauty. When you see yourself in a positive light, you are your best self. Confidence is a vital component of our overall well-being.
What inspires you?
Love inspires me. Love is in everything and ignites passion. People’s love of anything is what motivates them.
What does self care mean to you?
Self care means self preservation. It means prioritizing the things that help us to function steadily and provide us with stability. Recharging oneself is self-care to me.
What obstacles have you overcome or hurdles did you personally face and how did you overcome them?
In the beginning of my career, I was working full-time, attending school in the evening and transitioning my son to elementary school. Three months after enrolling in cosmetology school, I became pregnant with my daughter but still managed to juggle everything and graduate on time. I took a leave of absence from work to attend school during the day to complete more hours, while simultaneously nursing and working on building the foundation of my business. After my daughter turned one and I was fully licensed, I turned my living room into a full service salon, and two years after that opened my very own natural hair salon in Washington Heights. MixxTresses Salon has been opened now for 6+ years with myself as the sole stylist there, despite the shutdown during the pandemic.
Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
I wanted to create place for women of color to feel comfortable getting their hair done and properly cared for. Everyone I knew saw it as a daunting task and I wanted to help change that. It was also important to me to show my peers that building their own businesses was very possible.
What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you to do?
My children for sure. Showing them that if you work hard and commit to something you love, anything is possible. I was told it would take me at least ten years to create and build my business and it took me less than three (five including schooling).
What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business and personally?
I would love to expand my business and begin educating stylist on the proper ways to care for textured hair, especially since it is not taught in traditional cosmetology schools. I plan to bring more awareness to my hair care product line, MixxTresses. They are made with natural and organic ingredients and custom formulated. I am currently looking into becoming a trichologist and the proper ways to become able to offer my hair extensions to be covered by insurance as a prescription for women dealing with alopecia due to medical causes like cancer, diabetes and thyroid disease (amongst other autoimmune diseases that affect hair growth) to help them look and feel like themselves again. Finally, I aspire to continue to grow wiser in my profession and would like to eventually become a life coach and mentor. It’s important to me that I continue to be a shining example to others as a mother, wife, friend and entrepreneur.
Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
Yes – I recently recreated photos of prominent and iconic Black women of the past like Mahalia Jackson, Madam C.J. Walker, Fannie Lou Hamer and Mary McLeod Bethune with natural and textured hair styles using my hair extensions, services and hair products in an effort to encourage Black women to embrace and celebrate our natural kinks, curls and coils.