By Kelista Santos, Age 18
Ashlè Pointer is the owner of Queen Me!, her business located here in Fresno, CA. Through Queen Me! Ashlè braiding services as well as other natural hairstyles, she teaches classes on braiding techniques, and sells her handmade moisturizing oil.
Phone Number: (559) 213-2061
Q: When did your natural hair journey start? Did you struggle with it?
A: When I was 15 I decided that I didn’t want to get perms anymore, everyone was getting perms so that was around 2005. It was hard, what I did was I would straighten my hair all the time and put it in braids, I did not want to deal with my natural hair. I would wear a slick ponytail and that was it. I started doing research about doing my hair when I was about 23 or 24. That is one of the reasons I started making my own oil, I would buy products and they wouldn’t work for me. I started to research what were some good oils to put in your hair. I learned to be patient with my hair because sometimes it wont do what you want it to do.
Q: How did your business start?
A: I have known how to braid since I was 15, but I didn’t start pursuing that as a career until I was 26. I started making my oil before, but I was making it for myself. One time I had a client who had very thin edges so I gave her some of my oil and it grew her edges back! I was like “gasp!”, it was an “a-ha” moment. So I started selling it and making bottles of it, not as frequently as I want to. It is all handmade, I make it all myself. This next time that I make oil it's going to be the biggest batch I have ever made. I'm starting a website and I am so excited where my business is going to take me. For my braiding business, it's more than just the money, just creating confidence in women and even men! Seeing someone turn into a whole different person after they get their hair done, that is my satisfaction.
Q: What advice would you give to young black girls who are on their natural hair journey or are considering starting?
A: Embrace your hair, and when I say embrace your hair that means you embrace those bad hair days, those bad products, and the looks! You get this look when you have your natural hair out. It made me uncomfortable at first and then I asked myself why am I uncomfortable? What is it that I don’t want them to see? I feel like you need to find beauty within yourself to feel beautiful on the outside. Once you become one with that, everything starts to make sense. For thirty days I wore my own hair, doing twists, braids, everything, but with my own hair. Just embrace all aspects of your hair and that's when things start to make sense and change.