Since starting Un'ruly, a site dedicated to Black hair, in January of this year, I fell in love with all the natural hair gurus out there, especially the ones who have been reviewing and "how-to-ing" for years and have racked up millions and millions of channel views on YouTube and hundreds of thousands of subscribers. I love that a lot of these women have been able to monetize their efforts, which is why I launched the Un'ruly Media Network late this year. As an advertising executive turned Black hair blogger, I realized Black women are a widely overlooked yet, highly profitable consumer segment that more brands should be trying to cater to. At the same time, I realized that there are several remarkable women in the digital universe that have worked really hard to build large devoted audiences. So I wanted to bridge that gap.
In the process, I've gained a strong admiration for bloggers and vloggers that are creating very helpful and entertaining beauty content. They're getting a piece of a tremendously big pie that had previously only been reserved for huge multinationals like L'Oreal, wide-reaching television networks and mainstream beauty magazines. These beauty vloggers are all walking down a path of not only self-sufficiency, but also of creating your own opportunity. They exemplify being self-empowered as well as consistently and persistently working on something until it pays off. Their influence is more valuable than say the influence of an Oprah or a Beyoncé because the millions of people watching them are more likely to identify with them, as they create videos in their bedrooms, using iPhone cameras and iMovie. They don't have whole teams supporting them like celebrities do.
I've been a fan of one particular natural hair vlogger, Taren Guy, for a little under a year now. Guy began vlogging about her natural hair journey in June 2009 and has since continued, creating videos that cover a wide range of hair topics, as well as general issues facing women. She even does her part to help spread awareness about autism. To date, Guy has over 179,000 YouTube subscribers and over 18 million channel views. What's more, this year she set off on an ambitious tour around the U.S., teaching women how to "Luv and Learn Their Hair." When I heard of the tour earlier this year, I immediately assumed a major hair brand had partnered with her to launch it. But Guy released a video just last week, sharing her story of how the tour came about. It's a 15 minute video but contains a lot of great advice for pushing past where you currently are to get somewhere a little (or a lot) further.
Here are five things we can all learn from Guy's experience.
1. Don't Wait
2. Announce What You Want
3. Invest in Yourself
4. Don't Let Negative Results Hold You Back
5. Don't Worry if Everything isn't Figured Out Yet
Taren Guy held seven out of the ten hair meet ups she planned on holding. Although it was three less than she had initially hoped for, it was one multi-city tour that she had never done before. She proved to herself and her fans that she can in fact do whatever she puts her mind to and she urges us to just get going. To just do it and not let fear or failure or no's hold us back. Next year she plans to take the tour international.