Thursday, December 5, 2019

Why I Don't Participate In Holiday Charity

Yes! I am in the retail business and I offer holiday specials and gift sets because who am I to deny my Fancy Friends that want to bless their loved one with the awesomeness of Fancy Free Hair & Skin. I also do a little something special for my Fancy Free team at the end of the year for dealing with my crap over the past 365 days. However, something in my soul doesn't sit right with holiday toy drives. I don't just. I just don't support because it's not in line with what I believe. Now that I've gotten that out of the way.....

I'm just going to jump right in there and state the unpopular truth. Christmas is a holiday that has
been deliberately marketed directly to children with all of the lights, decorations and most Once retailers realized how far people were willing to go for their children they increased the marketing appeal to children so that consumers would increase spending at the end of the year and they could potentially make up for revenue losses before the end of the year. with this one holiday. There. I said it. I am a scientist, I have done the research. If you do your research, you will find that all of the data agree with the statement.

2017 Christmas Eve crab feast. Where is this selfie stick anyway?
However, I am not anti-Christmas. I really enjoy being with my family. I am a generous person. I like to give. I love to see the joy on a recipient's face when they receive a gift from me. I love the good food and sweet treats. It warms my heart to see people going the extra mile to do something nice for someone during the "holidays". After doing our research, my husband made an informed decision that we would no longer celebrate "Christmas" by buying gifts for our loved ones.

While we are blessed and have abundant resources, there are many who blessed differently and do not have money for extra things, like Christmas gifts. Aside from loved ones not being around for the holiday season, not having money to buy gifts sends a lot of people into depression. Or worse, robbing, stealing and scamming so that they have something to give. I love the giving spirit but I hate that it has this effect on some people. I'd rather people not feel bad for what they don't have. I prefer for people to feel like they can give what they can afford and not out of obligation. Now, on to the receiving part...

If you know me, you know I do not encourage any activity that encourages or reinforces a sense of entitlement. There are no "participation" trophies. You get what you deserve. You earn you keep. You reap what you sow. You do not get an A for just showing up. You get the point. I feel like Christmas encourages a sense of entitlement in children. Most of our children are well behaved and do well in school, so we want to reward them. Why wait until Christmas? Why not do it year round? Because the calendar says buy gifts?

We want kids to feel good about themselves. We don't want them to be sad or traumatized because of a situation they didn't create but have to deal with. We pull together to give to the less fortunate so they will "have something to open" on Christmas morning. Ok. Now what? Does that actually help their circumstances? Some children may learn that there is someone who cares about them. I feel like most are actually learning that they should give gifts because it's a holiday. I feel like we are teaching
We started with the envelope system.
It worked wonders.
them that they are entitled to receive something because it's a holiday. Is that really helping them?

When my husband finished residency we were all set to ball out of control. When we were making the most money, we were spending the most, which means we were broke. It wasn't until we sat down and got disciplined about our finances that we were able to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle. We had to set a budget and stick to it. Which meant, no more frivolous spending. We had to tell people no. Most importantly, we had to tell ourselves no. It was hard for our egos because we were the big time doctor and laboratory manager. How is it possible that we can't afford to buy certain things and go certain places? Listen. It happens if you don't get control over your spending habits and establish a healthy relationship with money.

I strongly believe that African-Americans have a hard time establishing generational wealth because we have not established a healthy relationship with money. Our community encourages giving when we don't have it to give and buying when we can't afford. Christmas is no exception. I can't tell you what a relief it was when we stopped buying our loved ones gifts for Christmas. We explained why and our family understood. We still give to our family but when it's in the budget. The gifts are even more appreciated because they come at an unexpected time. We call them "any day gifts". By doing this, we set an example for budgeting and fiscal responsibility. If the hot shot doctor and his wife can say "That's more than we budgeted for." and "We can't afford that right now.", there's no reason that everyone else can't do the same.

Because I don't feel that toy drives and holiday gift donations are in line with my personal views about finance and entitlement, I shy away from them. I do support plenty of charities and non-profits that focus more on experiences than giving material possessions for the sake of giving. Hit me up for the school supplies, field trips, professional attire, book drives, etc. I definitely love the kids. I'm just not buying toys cuz it's Christmas time.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Just in One Year

I finished out a journal last night. And by that, I mean I wrote on the last page of a book that I write my daily journals in. I make a practice of going back and reviewing old journals to compare and contrast. I see what I still struggle with and what I have overcome . The first page of this journal was when I found out I was having a little girl and that she was healthy based on the genetic testing. I was elated. I made a note about how Jehovah gives us the desires of our heart.

I also made note of how I knew that my days were less productive when I skipped my evening planning period. Most notably was a constant theme of how my lack of income stressed me. How was I going to continue to contribute to our household budget and me documenting different strategies for diversifying my streams of income while building Fancy Free Hair & Skin. It consumed me. Then on top of being pregnant, trying to figure out how a maternity leave plan (which proved to be difficult since I'm self employed), I got hit with a $80,000 lawsuit. Talk about tears. I was a stressed out, emotional wreck! But the lawsuit actually was the catalyst for things beginning to turn around.

I talked to real estate lawyers, bankruptcy lawyers, I even tried to negotiate but the plaintiff wouldn't budge. We met with our financial adviser who gave us different options on how we could pay it. We finally decided that I would file bankruptcy. I was sad about it because my credit score, which had taken a hit in 2017, had starting to bounce back. However, bankruptcy was the most productive option.

Anyway, since June 2018, we have become a family of four. I've conquered postpartum depression. Fancy Free Hair & Skin has hired, fired and hired again. My husband has found a way to increase his income by 30%, relieving me of having to consistently contribute to our household finances while building my business. Nothing is perfect. But we have been able to push through and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Moral of the Story: Life is going to throw you curve balls. It's not the actual curve ball that can change your life, it's how you respond to it. I chose to turn inward and focus on what I needed to learn from each situation. I focused on solutions instead crying over things I couldn't control. Let's be clear, I shed lots of tears. But I was working on solutions with tears in my eyes. LOL!

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Be Careful What You Wish For

As a business owner, I have goals for the growth of my business. There is a long term vision for what the company will provide for our customers. I have a 5 year plan for what I want my life to look like as a CEO. Most importantly, there are income goals. Everyone wants to make a million dollars but few think about what that looks like. I mean, we can all imagine having a million dollars in our bank account. I'm talking about the amount of work it takes to make the money.

Fancy Free Hair & Skin has been growing gradually. We have had time to adjust our work flow as the sales volume increases. I've had particular monthly income goal for about 2 years that we haven't been quite able to hit. I've been making slight adjustments to our business model and marketing, testing what works and converts to sales. There's nothing worse than not being prepared for a sudden influx of customers commonly referred to as the Oprah Effect. Gradual is good. You can adjust with minimal consequences while keeping your customers happy.

Then it happened. I hit my goal and surpassed it. It was surreal. Almost as if I didn't think I could do it and that number had been some pie in the sky, unrealistic goal all this time. So, of course, I wasn't prepared. I wasn't expecting so many of our Fancy Friends to be interested in the Clay Wash. I mean, I expected a few who would want to try it but not as many orders as I got. It's different and it takes time for people to shift from what they've always done. Orders were delayed. I spent designated family time fulfilling orders and manufacturing product.

Actual photo of me trying to make sure all of those orders got filled

As a Virgo or Type A person, I do not like scrambling. I do not like disorganization. I do not like feeling like I don't have everything I need. Once the dust settled, I had to do a real self assessment and then an assessment of where I went wrong in the process. Because I've been asking for this for almost 2 years now. Now I got it and I'm walking around looking crazy. LOL!

Now that I know the number of orders and sales attached to my goal revenue, I can certainly learn from my mistakes and improve the process before things start getting out of hand. Here's what I learned:
  1. Have about 8 weeks of planning before your launch date.
  2. Have label designed at least 6 weeks prior to launch date.
  3. Confirm all new labels and packaging orders have shipped at least 3 weeks prior to manufacturing date.
  4. Calculate ingredients required for manufacturing 4 weeks in advance.
  5. Have supplies for at least 2 batches on hand.
  6. Stock the freezer with whipped shea to prevent any shipping delays when there is the possibility of a heat wave.
  7. Double check packing slip with actual order
  8. When processing more than 30 orders at once, have a second person check that the order was filled accurately (Although my team only missed something in 3 orders out of the 80 that were processed in one weekend)

I prayed for this life. The desires of my heart have manifested with lots of prayer, work and consistency. I'm not going to lie, this is hard! Some days, actually a lot of days, I am not sure how I'm going to get it all done. Especially when getting it done is even more crucial now with three people on payroll. This life is not easy. There is always some fire I have to put out. But I would not change it. Not one bit of it. I am so thankful for my life, my family and my Fancy Friends for believing in me enough to trust Fancy Free with your hair and skin.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Why Is My Hair Dry?

The most common question I get about hair is how to combat dryness. It's no secret, kinky hair is known to be dry. Let's go back to the evolution. People who have kinky hair are of African descent. Kinky hair is designed to protect the head from UV rays of the hot African sun. Our ancestors had resources to care for their hair in our natural habitat. But then...there was this thing called the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade and everything that came along with that. A lot of grooming practices were lost and we also did not have access to resources to care for our hair like shea nut butter, palm oil, and other oils. But what did we do? We improvised. Like we always do, using lard and other cooking greases as moisturizers.

Namibia, Himba grooming hair
Prior to the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, African women took great pride in their hair. Hair grooming was communal, used as bonding time among women in the tribe. They took great care to style and adorn each other's kinky tresses. Fast forward, those traditions are still a huge part of our culture. The hair salon is a place women go to, not only, care for their hair but to spend time with other women. What's the difference? The products we use given to use in our hair are made in a laboratory instead of coming from the earth.

As a student of the industry, I've found that hair products are not designed with the needs of African-Americans. They are marketed to us. They may have our faces on the packaging but what's in the bottle is not for us. Trust me. It was developed with the needs of straight hair in mind. Kinky hair tends to dry out when it is time to shampoo while straighter hair gets oily when it's time to shampoo. With that in mind, shampoos are meant to remove the oils and build up from the hair as well as the scalp....leaving kinky hair feeling dry. Then we are searching for a product to replenish all of the oils we stripped from our hair during the shampooing process. EXHAUSTING!
The lather is designed to take the oil away with the dirt

I've been making hair products to counter the drying effects of shampoo for about 5 years. It wasn't until the past 2 years that I had my "Ah ha!" moment. IT'S THE SHAMPOO!! My hair was much more manageable when I used a moisturizing shampoo or no shampoo at all. So, I started doing the research. How can I cleanse the oil and build up from my scalp and hair without stripping my hair of the moisture it needs? After trying many shampoos, conditioners, co-washes and other apple cider vinegar concoctions, I came across a clay wash. 

When I first heard about clay wash, I had my concerns but I had no doubts that I had found "the one" after the first use. My hair was soft and manageable. My scalp was clean and free of "I work out 4 days/week" build up. You don't need to focus on deep conditioning, hot oil treatments, leave in conditioners, LOC method and all of these other post shampooing methods of moisturizing if your shampoo doesn't strip your hair in the first place. Although, there are times when you may still need them. Now don't beat me up, I know there are times that your hair needs a clarifying shampoo but if you are experiencing extremely dry hair, I wouldn't suggest clarifying shampoo for every wash day.

Granted. There are lots of reasons, aside from products, that can cause kinky hair to be dry:
  • Dehydration
  • Undernourishment
  • Medication
  • Split Ends
  • Color/Chemical Procession
I ask a lot of questions before I make product recommendations for dry hair. Once all of the other factors are ruled out, it's probably the shampoo that's drying your hair out. Most definitely. If you're willing to do a little experiment, I can guarantee that you will agree with me. 

Is Shampoo Making My Hair Dry?
  1. Discontinue using any shampoo
  2. On your next wash day
    1. Do an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse on your scalp
    2. Use a conditioner that you already have like a shampoo
  3. Style your hair as usual
What do you think? Hair less dry? Hair more manageable? I figured. Now try Fancy Free's Clay Wash. Wet your hair. Massage the clay wash on to your scalp and length of your hair. The clay wash does not lather. The clay and apple cider vinegar lifts residue from the scalp and hair follicles allowing it to be rinsed away. Detangle. Rinse and repeat. Let the clay wash sit for 2-5 minutes. Rinse. Style as usual. Even my hair stylist liked that it didn't require an extra step of conditioning.

NOTE: If you have a lot of scalp build up, try an Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse prior to using the Clay Wash. This will assist with cleansing the scalp thoroughly.

We recommend applying Fancy Free Milk for Hair & Skin to help with further detangling before styling. For styling wet hair (twist outs, braid outs, etc.), comb a little Fancy Free Whipped Shea for Hair & Skin concentrating on the ends. You will probably need less product after using the clay wash because....your hair isn't being dried out at the shampoo stage.

Clay Wash has been a game changer in our household. My son's cornrows last longer, my daughter's wash and go isn't as frizzy, my husband has noticed less dandruff, and my twist outs have been flourishing. We tested 16 different trials of this formula before offering it to our Fancy Friends. Give Clay Wash a chance. Let us know what you think.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


I started making Fancy Free Hair & Skin's signature product, Whipped Shea for Hair & Skin, back in 2012 because there weren't many options for my thick, kinky hair. The list was short. Miss Jessie's 😕 Kinky Kurly 😝 And Ashea 😐 I called headquarters of Miss Jessie's to ask about the mineral oil listed as the first ingredient (meaning that was the main ingredient) and they assured me that they only use the finest of organic mineral oil. 😦 As a scientist, I was appalled by this response because mineral oil is a by product of petroleum. How can you have organic vaseline? BYE MISS JESSIE'S!!! The Kinky Kurly clumped my curls nicely but left my hair sticky and sometimes flaky. The ingredients of the Ashea was what I needed but it was waxy and I had to microwave a little so it would be soft and not leave clumps of product in my hair. I eventually said "Forget this" and started whipping my own. The rest is history.

So before I get into what I don't trust, let's get into some data because....well....I'm a scientist and I like numbers and data. African-American women spend 9 times more than any other group on haircare products. Relaxer sales have dropped almost 40% between 2012-2017. The natural haircare industry is valued at $2.54 billion. That does not include extensions and other haircare products. Let that sink in. Forty percent of the group that spends the most on haircare products are no longer spending their money with companies that sell products for relaxed hair. That leaves the door wide open for small, apothecary businesses like Fancy Free Hair & Skin.

Most businesses assess sales and revenues to adjust marketing as needed. So what do you think those fortune 500 companies who were selling trash products to the largest consumer of haircare products noticed? You've got it. A decline in sales. So they made changes to their products added "natural hair" product lines. A few claimed to hire some African-American cosmetologists to their research and development teams. At the very least, they changed the labeling and packaging to be more in line with what "naturals" are attracted to. Don't be fooled. Fancy doesn't trust it and neither should you. Here is my assessment of the whole ordeal.

THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT US, OUR HAIR, OR OUR HEALTH! ONLY OUR MONEY!!! They've been knowingly using carcinogenic ingredients and chemicals in our products for decades and only claim to have made changes recently. Let's take a closer look, shall we. 

Here are the ingredients for Suave's for Natural Hair Moisturizing Curl Conditioner. 

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cetearyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Fragrance (Parfum), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Dipropylene Glycol, Lactic Acid, Amodimethicone, Potassium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, PEG-7 Propylheptyl Ether, Cetrimonium Chloride, PEG-180M, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool

Petrolatum is the third ingredient. Look how far down on the list coconut oil and shea butter are. That essentially means they threw a little bit in there so they could say it's in there but nothing significant. A lot of products use petrolatum and mineral oil because it's cheap and effective. But let's call it what it is. Water, vaseline, 3 drops of coconut oil, one teaspoon of shea butter, emulsifier to hold it together and some preservatives. There aren't any huge changes to the formula. How else can they sell this for $5 with a shelf life of however many years?

I'm not going to get into the hazards of a couple of these ingredients, just know that they're in there.....still. Marketed to us. Black women. We're just trying to maintain our black girl magical hair and health. DASSIT. Fancy Free Hair & Skin puts a lot of thoughts and love into our formulas to offer the highest quality ingredients that are effective and low cost because we care. THEY just want your money. That's why iontrustit.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Monday, June 3, 2019

"Take A Knee"

Sometimes you have "a day". What is "a day"? "A day" is when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. Simple tasks that should take less than 5 minutes, drag on for hours. Information seeking conversations do not yield any information. It's so frustrating. Productivity can be delayed. Not just because of the extra time require but because you cannot get your mind right to move on to the next task. You find yourself wanted to scream and ask WHHHYYYY?!?! But that wouldn't be productive, would it?

I had a day last week. I was very annoyed. I knew I couldn't get back to work feeling that way. What do you do in those moments? You "Take a knee".

My husband and I always use that phrase when talking about having to deal with a stressful situation. There was this movie called After Earth, starring Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith. Will's character, Cypher, a leader in a peace keeping organization on a planet that humans escaped to after having to abandon Earth. Cypher became a legend because he was able to defeat an alien weapon, Ursa, on this new planet that could detect fear in it's opponents. The plot of the movie is "meh", not worth me trying to explain. The movie received horrible ratings and didn't do so well in the box office. However, a pivotal moment in the movie is when Cypher's son, Kitai, played by Jaden Smith, had to face the Ursa alone, in order to save his own life and ultimately his father's. In typical dramatic fashion, Kitai was at a point in the battle when he felt defeated and he heard his father's instruction, "Take a knee". When Kitai took a knee, he was able to refocus and re-evaluate his situation, which eliminated the fear and the Ursa could not detect him. He won the battle. The ending was happy. Blah. Blah. Blah.  Even though we aren't battling Ursas. The internal battles we fight can be just as scary as Ursas. Especially resisting the urge to spazz out and "knock all the crap over".🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Being frustrated. Angry. Annoyed. Flipping the table over. Yelling at people. It doesn't accomplish anything. It actually makes you look unprofessional and out of control, probably deterring people who may want to work with you or help you out. Press the pause button. Get out of your emotions and start looking for solutions. One thing that I've learned in therapy is that it's ok to acknowledge our emotions but living in our emotions is not productive. When you feel yourself bubbling over with emotion, take a knee, refocus, realign, gather yourself and get back to business.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

"Delete All Dis Ish, Piggy!"

If you're just joining me on this journey, I am the founder of Fancy Free Hair & Skin, a personal care manufacturing company. I did not set out to start a business. It happened accidentally. I don't know much about marketing product. I am an expert at developing and manufacturing products because I spent 7 years running a laboratory.

Now that we've got that out of the way, I am always looking at my products, website, social media, pictures, etc. trying to figure out how they can be improved. Last year, I felt like I hit a plateau but wasn't sure what I could do to take my business to the next level. So, I decided to hire a new marketing company to give me a fresh perspective on the things I look at everyday.

The graphic designer I use for my labels and other marketing material has been with me since the beginning. THEE VERY BEGINNING. She was the one who sent me a message saying "Girl. You are too fancy for this janky label you have. Let me fix it." The rest is history. My product labels have gone through a few
adjustments over the past 3 years but no real overhaul. Last year, I finally decided to create individual labels for the 5 different scents of shea for hair and skin instead of continuing to use one standard label with separate scent labels. Sounds simple, right? That's because "you did not do your math" *Erykah Badu vc*. Let us add up the cost for ONE product's labeling:

  • (2 labels per jar + 2 different sizes) x 5 different scents = 20 rolls of labels
  • Each roll of labels (minimum 250 labels) costs about $80 per roll with my customer loyalty discount
  • That's 20 x $80 to upgrade my labels for ONE product. 
  • $1600 for just the labels
The labels for one product. I have 9 different products. My graphic designer and I went back and forth about a few things with the labels for this one product. So when I required new labels for another product, I was kind of over it. Plus I was on a time crunch because I had made promises on when the new packaging would be available. 

Fast forward, I meet with the marketing company to really dive deep into what Fancy Free Hair & Skin is all about and who I am as a founder. One of the first things they comment on is my packaging and labeling. AAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!! I got that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach because.... well, see the calculations above. By the end of the "deep dive" session, we had shifted our focus to other aspect of Fancy Free that could be improved and did not mention the labels again. Then I started working on labels for the Clay Wash and Castor Oil blend (Available sometime this summer. Continue reading if you want to know about what's taking so long). The marketing company asked to see the labels that my graphic designer came up with, the designer who has been with me since day one. The one who I trusted with a major part of my branding. I gave her the go ahead to use more color and to keep in mind that I approve changing the label design to be more "Fancy". The labels she designed for my new products were in line with all of my other product labels. I understood that she wanted them to be cohesive with my existing products but my marketing company had something different in mind. Whole time, I'm confused and unsure, so guess what I did. Nothing. I put the new product release on the shelf and started working on shampoo bar, soap, shampoo and body wash. SMH. 

About two weeks after "Label Gate", I go to the grand opening of the Made In Baltimore Pop-Up Store, since my products are being sold there. Fancy Free was set up in a display in the middle of the table with about eight other handmade personal care products. My sister, who is my creative director, and I were looking at my products among the others like "Something isn't right here." I didn't like the way my products looked next to others. I felt like mine looked amateur. I felt like Fancy Free products didn't measure up. Which I know isn't true but just looking at them next to other products made me feel that way. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The marketing company was right. I need to do something about these labels. *hears money flushing down the toilet*

Moral: Sometimes you have to throw everything away and start over.
I know this. I do it all the time during product development. I would make a change in the formula, just to see how it would turn out. The results....TRASH! As duly noted in my lab notebook. 
This same theory applies to my labeling. While my current labeling isn't "trash", I realized that they need to be improved in order to give my brand the image it needs to take Fancy Free Hair & Skin to the next level. And while it will cost me money to make changes, it will cost me more in the future if I leave them as they are. After all, marketing and branding are not my ministry, this is why I paid the marketing company to fix my life. Seems counterproductive to hire an expert and then not take the expert's advice. 

I spent 2018 putting systems in place, hire and training staff, and building relationships so that I could spend 2019 growing my business. This realization can definitely be filed in the "growing pains" category but Fancy Free and I will be better for it.
Ok. Now that I've told the story. Let me swallow my pride and order these new labels.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

In a Fancy Funk

So, I didn't think I was depressed because I'm not sad but according to my therapist. I caught da Baby Blues aka Postpartum Depression. LOL! Mine is manifesting as anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and hopelessness. Well....DUH! I AM overwhelmed. I am used to being able to do it all and now I feel like I can't do SHAT! My house is in disarray. My to-do list is never ending because I can never get to everything I intend to get to. I feel like I cannot complete any tasks because I am constantly interrupted to tend to the baby. When I do drop her off with my family to get things done, I feel like I'm rushing because I don't want to burden anyone with my wild banshee kids. SMH

My Little Angels
I've been seeing a therapist regularly since 2013. I started off going every other week but in 2016, I graduated to monthly check-ins. Requiring therapy less frequently is a graduation. LOL! I have no doubt in my mind that I am blessed and I live a great life but sometimes things happen that I need to talk through. According to my therapist, I have made leaps and strides in my personal growth since 2013. She's seen me grow from being a hospital laboratory supervisor with no kids, subconsciously dealing with a lot of hurt to a healing, full-time mompreneur of two. When I say she's seen me through, I mean every step of the process. So, I think it's safe to say that she knows me. 

I was doing well adjusting to two kids. Even though we didn't think the whole 2 year spread through because dealing with a two year old and a newborn is CRAZY! I was even adjusting well even when my infant daughter was colicky and my son was being...well...2 years old. LOL! It's all temporary, right? The clutter in my house was starting to close in on me. I was getting to it. Little by little I was throwing stuff out, organizing and donating. Washed laundry was piling up. But it's clean. I never put the pantry items in the actual pantry but we have nutritious, home cooked meals. My staff asked me for more hours. GREAT!! PLEASE!! I DEFINITELY need more help. I figured out a daily schedule that optimized productivity. I was meditating and working out everyday. Yep. I can DO this. Then it hit....4 month sleep regression. It hit like a ton of bricks. We went from 6-7 hours of sleep back to her waking up once or twice each night. Torture!

When asked
"How's your day going?"
One night, I was ok. Two nights....mmmmmm, what is going on here? By night five, I was about to lose it. My precious routine was out the door. By week two, I wasn't getting my day started until 12p. NOON!!! By the time I got my daughter to my mother, I'd have 3 hours to get what I needed to get done and the back to pick her up. It was either Fancy Free stuff or house stuff. I had to choose. I couldn't do both. So my March therapy session was a dumping session. And my therapist looked at me and said, "Iyonna. You have postpartum depression. You are doing way too much and you cannot figure out how to get it done. That's not like you." She could see my hopelessness. And then it all made sense. LOL!

So, I came home and told my husband that my therapist diagnosed me with postpartum depression, no medication required, I just needed to come to therapy more often. My husband, "I KNEW IT!!! I've been watching you." Well, I thought being depressed meant I would be sad. I'm not sad, I'm just overwhelmed. I know my husbands capabilities. He is who he is. He ain't changing how he problem solves. My therapist knows that. So she told me to get him involved. Write down everything I'm doing for the house and my business and we decide, together, what he will pay to delegate. And by him paying, I mean money will be allocated from the household budget to pay for services we previously did not pay for. Easy breezy. Praise Jehovah for blessing me with an understanding husband. Or at least a husband who hates when I "Release the Kraken!", so he takes preventative measures. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Daddy's home!
Viola! Problem solved. Well, the problem is in the process of being solved. I'm writing this blog to make two points.
1. Everyone needs a good therapist. EVERYONE!
2. Ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed.
My husband and I are still working through the kinks of adjusting to two children and business and marriage. It takes lots of honest communication. Honest. Not hurtful. My gift is process improvement so I am always looking for ways we can improve our household routine. It's clearly going to take a while but we literally have a lifetime. LOL!

If you have recently had a baby, it can happen to you. Don't be ashamed. Speak up. Ask for help. The first step in being a great mother is to make sure you're being great to yourself.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

All They Can Say Is No

I posted something on social media the other day. It was a post with words. I usually don't get a lot of engagement with those kinds of posts but this one resonated with people for whatever reason. It read "If you don't ask, the answer is always no." This is a principle I have lived by for a long time. Here is what started this mindset.

Picture this, Sicily 1932. LOL! No, actually it was College Park, MD, April 2002. I'm all set to graduate with my baccalaureate degree in General Biology in May 2002 when I received a letter in the mail that totally knocked the wind out of my sail. Basically, the letter said that I would not be able to walk because I was short one credit. ONE! CREDIT! Ok. I get it. I wouldn't receive my degree on that day but to say I can't even walk. I felt that was a bit much. Imagine finding this out in April. One
month before graduation. I had to walk. HAD TO! All of my family had already made arrangements to come in town for my graduation. My parents had planned a huge celebration. This couldn't be life. So, I put my thinking cap on and went to talk to my "counselor".
In December 2001, I had a serious car accident that resulted in me having to postpone taking my finals for the fall semester. Which resulted in my not doing so hot on one of my science finals. I was already on thin ice for this class, so I ended up with a D instead of the C I would've probably gotten had I taken the final a scheduled. That class just so happened to be in the category of laboratory science classes that I needed to graduate, resulting in me being short one credit. I was devastated but not defeated. I asked what I could do to get this one credit, so that I could walk. The counselor did not seem optimistic but all I could do was give it my best shot.
Believe it or not, after all of that, this wasn't
even my degree. It was a picture of the "M" 🙄
First, I had to get the registrar's office to approve late registration for a one credit "independent laboratory study class", THEN I had to find a professor who would be willing to read a paper on the research I was doing at my part time job as a research assistant at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and grade it with a C or better. Easy breezy, right? Well, it ended up working out but it was stressful as heyall! I had to call on my Emmy award winning acting talents to convince the registrar's office, showing up with pictures of my mangled car, discharge papers from the ICU and, of course, eyes full of tears. It worked. I was registered for a one credit laboratory class in the proper category.

The most stressful part was finding a professor who would read a paper and grade it. Shouldn't have been too hard, I mean University of Maryland College Park had at LEAST 200 faculty in the Life Sciences department alone. I could find one who would do that for me. All I needed was one yes. Just one. One professor who would do a solid for a mediocre, not so memorable student they had never met before. *sigh* That was the reality I was facing but all they could say is "No", right? I would never know what they would say if I didn't ask. And besides, I only needed one "Yes." So, I started emailing. And emailing. And emailing. I emailed every. single. professor. at UMCP's department of Life Sciences. Every last one of them. All of them said no, except for one. And that's all I needed was one yes. I wrote the paper, got an A, not only walked in my graduation but actually finished that chapter of my undergraduate studies on time. Barely. But I did it.

I went on to get a second bachelor degree, a master's degree and become a certified specialist in my
How a Transfusion Services Supervisor's desk looks. LOL!
field. My career goal was to become a laboratory manager. I hit that goal by the time I was 29. How? I reluctantly took a job at the American Red Cross after I graduated from the National Institutes of Health's Specialist in Blood Bank program. I loved what I did but I hated the work environment. One evening, after a I had a disagreement with my immediate supervisor, I went online looking for a new job. I saw the position for a Blood Bank Supervisor. They wanted someone with managerial experience. I had just finished school, so I didn't have that. I applied anyway. What's the worse that could happen? All they can do is say "no". They didn't though. They took a chance on me and EYE was able to leave that god awful work environment I hated.

I have a few friends who thanked me for giving them the same advice when they were applying for graduate and professional school." Just apply. So what if your scores aren't where they recommend. All they can say is no. You only need one yes anyway." They took my advice and BOOM! They were admitted and right back on track to hitting their goals. Ok, you applied to 10 graduate programs and got rejected from 9. Go to the one who accepted you. Duh! LOL!

You will not die if you get told no. I mean, your feelings may be hurt but you will not physically perish and cease to exist. So, stop being afraid of hearing it. Shoot your shot. The worst thing that could happen is you get rejected. So what!!! Brush yourself off. Figure out why you were rejected. Improve. Try again or go somewhere else and try. However, if they say yes.....EVERYONE wins. But if you never ask, if you never try, the answer will always be "no". And you'll probably always be wondering "What if I had gone for it?"

MORAL: Life is way too short to live with regret. Just do it. If it works out, it was meant to be. If it doesn't, Jehovah definitely has something better in store for you. Trust.

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Signs Are Right In Front Of You

My husband and I closed on what we consider our "Forever Home" in December 2010. The previous owners had very different taste when it comes to paint colors than we do. The foyer was painted grey and white. There was a navy blue accent wall in the living room. One bedroom was painted royal blue. Another bedroom had a black accent wall. In my opinion, the house was dark and gloomy. Not very inviting.

Our bedroom walls had been painted with neutral colors. Not too bad. My husband's closet came already outfitted with a closet system. My closet was just an empty room with a few shelves in it. Kind of disappointing but we can say it was a blank canvas. My clothes were all over the house. I rearranged and reorganized my closet at least 3 times before I started getting quotes from California Closet Systems and the like. Five figure quotes for the closet of my dreams. How disheartening. We definitely didn't have $10,000 for a closet when we needed to repair the roof, upgrade electricity, open the pool, renovate three bathrooms, so on and so forth. So, I put my shabby chic hat on and got to brainstorming....

I WANTED a closet system but all I really needed was racks to hang my clothes and some more drawers for storing other items. I found some quality Z-racks on Craigslist. My father and I went to the Loading Dock, a warehouse that sells used building material, and found some bottom kitchen cabinets to create a closet island. He had a counter top in his storage unit - very random, I know, but just go with it. He is an investor and rehabber. And the final step was choosing paint colors for the wall.

It's the summer of 2012. I wanted bright and vibrant colors that would make me feel alive when I walked into my closet. I went to Home Depot and picked swatches. They looked good together, in my opinion. Orange, purple and green. Don't ask. I painted the walls. Then painted all of the trim gold.  I spray painted the drawers of my bootleg island gold and the counter top was white with gold trim. The final product....looked kind of juvenile but whatever. It was my closet. My labor of love. And I did it all for under $500. Eff dat California Closets quote.

Fast forward to 2014. I'm becoming a real business woman and decide that this little LLC. I've established is going places, so I need a logo. I hire a graphic designer to design it. She sends me a survey asking questions about my business and personality. I pick the font and the colors based on her recommendations. The colors I chose represent wealth, wellness, and luxury. The colors were orange, purple and green. Go figure. Based on my choices, the Fancy Free, LLC. logo was official. We've gone through some rebranding but the logo and colors remains pretty much intact.

Interior decorators recommend that you freshen up your decor every 5-10 years. We're coming up on 7 years since I "renovated" my closet. Seven years, a pool renovation, 4 roof repairs, a new refrigerator, one cat, two businesses and two children later, I'm ready to spruce my closet up again. Preparing my daughter's bedroom and FINALLY buying a bedroom set for the master suite inspired me. I read  "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and purged about 75% of what was in my closet. Now, I have a lot more space to work. More wall space. More space on my racks. I'm looking around thinking of color palettes and furniture configurations when it hit me. OMG! I chose these colors WAY before starting a business and it was staring me in my face all this time. The colors that represent Fancy Free. Orange, purple and green. Wealth, wellness and luxury.

At 30 years old, I had achieved all of my healthcare career goals. I was just looking to occupy my time when I started my first direct sales business. That business opened my eyes to a whole new way of life. I thought I'd achieve the time freedom and income through that company but Jehovah had already planted the seed. He had something different in store for me. Something that I had full ownership of. Something that I could pursue with all of my passion and remain true to what I believe in. Building generational wealth and helping others do the same. Creating products that support wellness. Having the luxury to spend my time as I choose. Offer "Fancy" products at affordable prices that make people feel luxurious without breaking the bank.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but it never ceases to amaze me when I look back at the "signs", good and bad, that were right there in my face. Honestly, had I done a computer composite of what my closet would look like with those colors, I would have switched it up. But I just rolled with it. After all, it's just paint. An inexpensive way to drastically change the look of a room.

So, what's the point? What's for you is for you. Always have a plan but be flexible and open to things that aren't necessarily in your plan. New experiences. Learning new skills. Broaden your horizons. Let Jehovah show you the grand plan He has for your life. Don't fight it. Even if it feels uncomfortable. His plan is WAY better than anything you can imagine for yourself. Had someone told me in 2012 that I would retire from healthcare 5 years later, I would have told them they were crazy. Look at me now, Fancy and Free representing orange, purple and green! Bars! LOL!

Shameless Plug Alert:
Fancy Free Hair & Skin manufactures quality products for hair and skin, as well as provides natural hair consults for women who would like assistance on their natural hair journey. Our motto is "Keeping you fancy and free of chemicals." Visit our website,, to see a full range of our products and services. Sign up for our mailing list to receive natural hair tips and stay up to date on sales and the latest happenings with Fancy Free.