by Tonya Cross
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.
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.
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”
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!
Tonya Cross – Visionary and Accent Designer of Accented Glory
How has your natural hair journey impacted your life?
Youtube natural hair blogger 11mjsmommy.
April 1, 2017 I attended a retreat on Tybee Island. This retreat was life changing for me as I met some beautiful spirits. I didn’t know exactly what to expect so I went without any expectations. I must say it was so worth it.
In keeping it completely real with you’ll, I almost canceled. Things were not quite lining up for me the closer it got to time to leave for the retreat but my husband told me that I should go and stop trying to talk myself out of going. Talking myself out of doing things for myself is so easy to do but I am working on that. I have to stop feeling guilty about taking care of me. You can pour into others all day but you have to pour into yourself as well.
One of my friends also attended the retreat so the weeks leading up to it was interesting. We were trying to figure out what we should or should not take. We where provided a list of what to bring but as women we must always be so extra. Ok, maybe not all but we did put a lot of thought into what we should wear and even did a little shopping.
I ended up just purchasing the yoga gear needed for the retreat and my friend bought me a dress in which I didn’t wear but will save for a later time. Surprisingly I packed light.
We arrived to our destination early so we decided to head to the beach and wait until it was time to meet up with the other sisters. We hung out on the beach for awhile, took pictures and watched the waves. We didn’t get into the water. My friend wanted to run in but decided not to as we did not want to meet up with the other ladies soak and wet. They probably wouldn’t have cared but we had no idea what was on the agenda for the day.
Once it was time to meet with the other ladies, we proceeded to the gate of the area where we were staying. The gates opened and we were in! The first thing I noticed once inside the gate was all the nature and sand.
I am a true nature lover so that was enough to get me excited. We parked and met up with two ladies that were standing next to a common area building. They welcomed us and gave us some Florida Water to cleanse ourselves of negative energy. My friend and I conversed with the two ladies for awhile and eventually got our luggage and picked our beds.
After picking our beds, we waited in the common area/building for the other ladies to arrive.
During this time I was taking everything in. I could hear the birds and smell the water. I looked around and observed our surroundings and it was so peaceful.
We indulged in some delicious vegan cupcakes, fruit, zucchini bread and water. Who ever knew that eating healthy could be so delish! Our cuisine was vegetarian/vegan the whole retreat.
After getting our bellies full, my friend and I decided to go hang out by the water until everyone got there. We took a few selfies and conversed about life. Another lady joined us by the water and we conversed about food and the health benefits of certain foods or lack there of. She was so hilarious to me. The way she talked and her bubbly personality. This lady was the true definition of real. She says what is on her mind and I love it!
More ladies began to join us throughout the day. My friend had wondered off to connect with the other ladies as I was doing the same. I eventually found her sitting on a dock with two other ladies. I joined them and watched as the water flowed beneath our feet and the crabs crawled in and out of the sand.
We stayed on the dock for awhile. By the time we left the dock, my feet were feeling wrinkly.
We eventually all met in one place to enjoy dinner and converse.
We had a very emotional night as we surrounded a campfire. We were told to write down on a piece of paper what we would like to release from ourselves so that we can move forward and we threw that paper in the fire. Afterwards, we talked about other things and it definitely brought tears to my eyes because I am personally working on some blockages.
My sisters embraced me. The love I received was amazing. These ladies did not even know me long yet they expressed so much love to me.
After eating smores and conversing by the campfire we turned in for the night.
We stayed in a dorm room setting which I thought was perfect for us. It wasn’t so big that we could drift off into our own little worlds. It was the perfect size for us to be close to each other. This allowed us to talk to one another and feel more connected due to the closeness.
We woke up early the next day and headed to the beach for sunrise yoga and followed up with Zumba. The instructor was awesome! I had a lot of fun working out. The yoga was very peaceful and I felt as though I had released something from me that was very heavy after doing yoga. I felt lighter.
After zumba we headed back to our common area and ate breakfast.
Towards the end of the retreat, I purchased a green tea bath scrub from @fearlesslylovingyouryoni and I have used it already. My skin feels amazing!
I also received a rose quartz yoni egg. I actually wore it for yoga and zumba……
This retreat was so needed. There was healing, spending time with nature, bonding, support, healthy food, networking, building friendships and so much more. These ladies definitely have a special place in my heart.
I have always said that I needed more in my life. I needed change when it came to my social circle. I needed siSTARS who would support me when I am down and congratulate me when I am up.
My vision board is manifesting!
I am so glad that I took this retreat! I feel renewed. I returned back to my hometown ready to continue my journey with a different mindset. It is time to go beyond our circumstances. It is time……It all starts with YOU.
Music credits: http://www.bensound.com
If you have curly hair then you are probably already very familiar with shrinkage. To some it is not a big issue and to others it is the devil!
As a natural hair blogger, I hear many complaints when it comes to hair and I must say that shrinkage is one of the top complaints. Many naturals that have complained to me about their shrinkage desire for their curls to loosen up a bit so they can see their length.
Instead of having loose hanging curls many naturals are dealing with a tightly coiled afro. When you are really out of the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage don’t you want to at least look like it? I can completely understand due to my personal shrinkage.
Many are in shock when they see how long their hair is once they receive a blow out. It is definitely a wow factor when I see the transformation from curly to straight.
Unfortunately, many black women have been taught that our type/texture of hair doesn’t grow like other races. To see our hair reach our shoulders, eventually our backs and waist is a goal that many want to reach. We want our hair to show its’ true length.
One day I just woke up and decided to embrace my shrinkage. It wasn’t doing me any good to worry about how long my hair appeared to be. Only then was I able to truly embrace my natural hair journey every step of the way. I stopped the length checks and just took care of my hair and before I knew it the length was there.
Even with locs I have shrinkage. I can stretch them all day long to check my length but length is no longer of importance to me. The health of my hair is the most important. Length will follow if you take care of your hair.
I have come across a few ladies who have stated that they have been natural for years and their hair will not get past a certain length. I have seen this happen to many and this could be due to many unforeseen reasons. It could be medications that a person is on or genetics -just to name a couple reasons.
Shrinkage aka the devil (to some) is really not a bad thing. It is actually a really good thing. How so? If you have shrinkage then you have great elasticity.
When I attended beauty school we did an elasticity test on ourselves to see the health of our hair. Healthy hair, when wet, will stretch up to 50% of its original length and return to its normal shape without breaking, while dry hair will only stretch about 20%.. Elasticity is rated as being low, normal, or high.
Now take a moment and check your hair elasticity!
Do you embrace your shrinkage?
My name is Destiny and I reside in the DC metro area. I’m a southern belle/country gal from North Carolina with a doggie name Nini as my best friend (instagram/nini4ya). I am an enthusiast of natural hair, natural/herbal living, doggies, crochet/knit, cookery and music.
I’ve been natural for 11 years. I have always been a “black sheep” in my own universe, rejecting all of the negative “isms” around, so it made sense for me to be natural.
Many times I’ve encountered women who inquired about being natural but most of them stated they either could not pull it off nor have the time to care for it. I counter with sharing that my motivation for being natural was to finally be ME-not a VERSION of me…and be comfortable and in love with my own beauty, unconditionally. So my advice was to get to that special place first then research, tryout and learn your natural hair with an abundance of patience on deck 🙂
I’m not a product junkie because my low porosity strands hates any white or alcohol filled product (product buildup) Most of my products are natural diy. I wash and condition with either bentonite/rhassoul clay, seal with natural oils like almond, apricot, jojoba or with a botanical gel like Kinky Curly Custard or shea butter.
My 3 favorite natural styles are braidouts, bantu knots and washandgos.
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