Natural Hair

A Path To Opportunity

Accented Glory Visionary Tonya Cross

by Tonya Cross

Opportunity Knocks

Most would probably classify me as an ol’ school natural! I began my natural hair journey in 2000, before the natural hair movement regained its popularity post 60s and 70s. Like most, when I first started out, I struggled with finding hair care products that met my natural hair needs. It was also difficult to find hair accessories. Most accessories in retail stores catered to a much younger demographic and were not natural hair friendly.  So here I was, in a dilemma. I wanted to dress up my new natural tresses with age appropriate accessories, without damaging my hair.  

Accented Glory Puff Holder
Accented Glory Afro Puff Holder

 

Fast-forward 12 years later, after raising three beautiful daughters who are also naturals, I picked up a new hobby – crafting hand-made hair accessories. The hobby was both a time filler and therapeutic. Once I had a few accessories created, I was surprised to find that my daughters liked the designs and started to wear them regularly. Soon they began to request specific designs, like the afro puff holder, to accent certain natural hairstyles. Other natural hair women started to notice our hair accessories and asked where we got them. When they found out I made the accessories, they wanted to purchase my designs! So, I took a leap of faith and launched a handcrafted accessory brand for women called Accented Glory. 

 

My  brand offers hair accessories that are created with materials that minimize damage to textured hair, provide a comfortable wear, and endures natural hair care products. I choose fabrics and materials that won’t cause friction with textured hair and that assist in maintaining healthy tresses. I test wear our designs to ensure they are not only stylish but also comfortable. I also use minimal amounts of adhesive and rubber materials when creating my designs. Naturals’ hair care regimens include oils and oils have the potential to breakdown adhesives and rubber. 

 

 

Expanding My Horizons

 

My natural hair journey has opened doors in so many areas; most of which are related to Accented Glory. Before starting my brand, I had no entrepreneurial or marketing experience. With the guidance of my oldest daughter and online network groups, I’ve learned a lot in the past few years about marketing and entrepreneurship. I’ve also built a natural hair Facebook group community, Accented Glory Naturals, of 300+ members that I co-manage with my daughters.  

 

The relationships I have established as an entrepreneur have been great. I’ve met other forty plus female entrepreneurs who have decided to pursue their passions later in life too. Many of us are balancing full time jobs while building our brands. I’m thankful that my three daughters are actively engaged in helping me build Accented Glory. I honestly couldn’t do it without them – they have truly become my tribe; my support system!

I have also started creating jewelry designs! My handcrafted jewelry includes earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. My motivation to create the jewelry line was to expand our design options for our brides and bridal party customers.

Accented Glory Rhinestone
Accented Glory Rhinestone Vine Earrings
Accented Glory Pearl Earrings
Accented Glory Pearl Earrings

Embracing Greatness

Last year I launched Accented Glory’s “Embrace Your Crown – Embrace Greatness” series. I gave fellow naturals an opportunity to share how their natural hair journey has impacted their lives on my blog Accessory Diva. I created Accented Glory’s first tee shirt design for this series that encourages my fellow naturals to “Embrace Greatness

Accented Glory Custom Hair Flower Arrangement
Accented Glory Custom Order  Floral Hair Accent

Reading the stories of other naturals, allowed me to reflect upon own my natural hair journey. My journey has taught me a lot about myself, my passions, and my drive. Whether it’s building a brand or mastering a flat twist style, with the right tools, I can do anything I put my mind to. Building my own brand has helped me to discover my passion to create beautiful things by hand. Now anyone can reap the benefits of this passion when they wear my hair accessory or jewelry designs. Accented Glory fosters my daily drive to be a better version of myself and to turn obstacles into stepping-stones. I can’t wait to see what new opportunities my natural hair journey will lead me to next!

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Tonya Cross – Visionary and Accent Designer of Accented Glory

How has your natural hair journey impacted your life?

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Inspiration

Natural Woman

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by Sabrina Sainthilaire –http://www.ladyinthewilderness.com/

You make me feel…you make me feel…you make me feel like a natural woman…woman… If anyone remembers this song you are an 80’s baby that experienced some good times watching your Mother sing the words to this song while revealing bits of her most confident self! Well, at least this was my experience with the song. However, I found myself singing this song today! Yes, I found myself feeling my most confident, my most natural, my most beautiful. Why? Well, that’s easy! Because I can look in the mirror and SEE!!! I can see who God has created in His image! I can see myself again! Lol…yes, I lost myself for a minute. Caring too much about what others think while also feeling that no matter what I did, who I was, or how I appeared would never – ever- be good enough! Through my eyes, however, it seemed as if everyone else was perfect! Make-up without flaw, attire without wrinkle, shoes without scuff, hair made-up without effort! Yet, when I looked at myself… my eyes could never be satisfied because I could never truly see – ME!

The wonderful thing about blogging is that I get to tell you how I got to this point…this point of confidence! Here goes nothing!

Natural woman in the making! Mirror observation…“When I looked in the mirror I would only see my flaws.” – Rose Lady

  • FACE –I would notice a blemish before noticing the beautiful skin it lies on, I would notice an unwanted hair before I notice the beautiful freckle it sat on, I would notice an untamed lash before I noticed the almond shaped eye it protected, I would notice open pores before I noticed the golf-ball shaped nose that the Lord so humorously blessed me with! But then to top it all off, I would cover it all with make-up and become another person before I could truly appreciate who I was!
  •  BODY – As I observed my body I would only see the battles that it has endured. The pains of breakups, insecurities, misuses, scars from laboring in the workforce, the births of my children, so on and so forth. I would be so quick to cover it up, thus, feeling complete. But why did it have to take a nice outfit or get-up to make me feel that I had a nice body! Instead of recognizing the beauty underneath, I was depending on material and worldly things to validate my body before I would validate it myself in its natural form! In addition to this travesty, I would wear clothes that I would need to squeeze into! This would help me force a figure that I did not have, appear to be something that I was not, and feel better about the fact that I could still fit into these smaller clothes. This further ruined my body because the fabrics were cutting into my skin, decreasing circulation to certain areas if I sat the wrong way, and attracting unwanted/unwelcome attention. Plus, I WAS NEVER COMFORTABLE!
  • HAIR – My poor hair has been the most abused of all three. Growing up I always wanted hair like someone else. No matter who else, just as long as it was anyone else. For the longest I wanted my elder sisters hair, even now she is commonly known as Naturalista4me! I love her to death, however, her hair is one to envy. I have chopped my hair off, kept it in braids for a solid year, quick-weaved it, sewed it, burned it (relaxer), and kept it undercover (wig)! I could never be satisfied… When I looked in the mirror, I was never satisfied with my hair…never.

Natural woman in the making! The Change…

“It took me to make a dramatic change, something new, something undiscovered and embrace it until I liked it!” – Rose Lady

  1. I returned natural – mind, body, and soul
  2. I no longer cut my hair, permed my hair, or tied my hair down.
  3. I no longer took a razor or wax to my brows
  4. I no longer applied make-up…even for special occasions
  5. I no longer wore smaller clothes that made me uncomfortable – yes – I went up two sizes!
  6. I invested in moisturizers that were safe for my skin
  7. I invested in oils that would bring out my hairs natural spiral
  8. I started reciting inspirational and uplifting words to strengthened my self-confidence
  9. I started embracing my body and gradually I started to see beauty above flaw
  10. I chose to see myself as God has saw me from the beginning, this had to begin with forgiving myself for all things that distanced me away from God.

Natural woman in the making! The Result…

“I felt like a new original, an untouchable beauty, someone that no longer blended into artificial society”- Rose Lady

These changes started to reflect positively on my Spirits. It was as if I had become plugged in to a source of ongoing security. My blemishes were minimized and actually accentuated my face, my unibrow was annoying – I must admit – but my eyebrows were gorgeous in it’s natural shape, my skin was starting to heal from the maltreatment of harsh chemicals and the wear of clothes that pinched and rubbed beyond comfort! I became comfortable in my own skin! So, to sum this up, the things I gained from this transformation were…

Don’t concern yourself with the things other people say!

They don’t know you, your background, your circumstances, and they don’t know what makes you happy

Find yourself

  • FACE – If you like make-up, cool, but don’t wear it to cover what it is that you don’t like. Embrace the flawed part of you, become comfortable with that part, and understand that God’s grace is sufficient for you! After I allowed my face to go bare for a while, I decided on lip gloss and eye liner in the end. That is all I wanted! I rarely cover my marks and only pluck out the “UNI” part of my “BROW”.
  • BODY – Find your comfort style and embrace it, if you are a thick individual but admire tight-fitted clothing don’t buy your clothes small! You can buy your size clothing and it still holds that style. Then question, why is it that you wear such hugging attire? Is it for attention? Is it because you are still stuck on being smaller? Going through “The change” process will help you to answer these questions. I know that I have bought a cotton -stretch pencil skirt… it’s super cute, sexy, comfortable, and I can breathe!
  • HAIR – Give your hair a break! After my worldly detoxification process, I managed to grow my hair in abundance. My color grew almost completely out, I learned so many new styles and was showered in compliments because of it! To ‘fro it out was my go-to. Becoming comfortable with your afro is the hardest, so this is important for you to master – thus resulting in the full acceptance of your hair’s natural beauty, boldness, and strength.

I grew more in my spirituality

  • Whether it was the lack of attention I was paying to other areas of my life or that God was steadily reaching out to me, I noticed that I felt more connected to his love than ever before! Untainted on the outside and developing on the inside.

It’s time for you to feel like a natural woman!!! Please comment below and tell me a bit about your thoughts on transformation, the process of your transformation, and the result!

Lady In The Wilderness is an all out life on speed dial site that covers topics on faith, family, finances, struggles, depression, military-related issues, and anything else you can think of from a small-town country apple dipped in city living caramel perspective!!