Stacia Dashiell, owner of A Beautiful U Beauty Supply. (Courtesy of A Beautiful U Beauty Supply)

By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,
msayles@afro.com

Although Baltimore native Stacia Dashiell now runs her own beauty supply store, A Beautiful U Beauty Supply, she got her start in the beauty industry as a young girl. 

Her mother struggled to maintain her and her sister’s hair between beauty appointments, so Dashielle took it upon herself to learn how to braid and style. 

She began by practicing on her dolls and worked her way up to doing the hair of the girls in her neighborhood. 

Fortunately, Dashielle’s grandmother was a beautician and her grandfather was a barber. Her grandparents became her mentors. The pair taught Dashielle how to shampoo, color, style, cut, press and curl, as well as informed her about the various uses for different hair care products. 

Her grandfather even encouraged her to attend cosmetology school when the time came. 

After earning her license, Dashielle spent a few years working in a local hair salon with the goal of one day opening her own. However, life took an unexpected turn. 

On top of Dashielle’s mounting responsibilities at home, her grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She ultimately decided to defer her dream to spend more time with her family and continued to do hair out of her house. 

When Dashielle was finally ready to jump into entrepreneurship, instead of opening a salon, she decided to go into the beauty supply space. 

Though Black women make up the majority of sales, rarely are they doing business with Black beauty supply owners. According to Nielson, a data and analytics company, “African Americans dominate the ethnic hair and beauty aids category, accounting for almost 90 percent of the overall spend.” (Courtesy of Black Doctor.com)

In America the beauty supply industry is largely dominated by Korean Americans,  despite the fact that Black women comprise the majority of the industry’s customer base. Dashielle recalled that when her grandparents were working in hair, there were many more Black-owned beauty supply stores. She decided that was the venture she wanted to pursue. 

“The beauty supply industry and store did start with us, so I wanted to bring that back,” said Dashielle. 

Launched in 2020, A Beautiful U Beauty Supply started as an e-commerce business. It provides quality hair extensions, wigs, bonnets, lashes, edge control and more. 

When seeking funding to establish her company, Dashielle felt as though the odds were stacked against her. She knew there was money out there, but the stipulations to obtain it were difficult to meet. 

As the pandemic exacerbated existing inequalities across the country, many discussions surrounding African-American entrepreneurs’ struggle to obtain capital ensued. Dashielle was eventually able to secure funding for a brick-and-mortar store in Nottingham, Maryland. 

When it opens this summer, Dashielle will become one of the first Black women to own a beauty supply store in Baltimore County. 

As a young girl, Dashielle’s mother instilled a commitment to the community in her daughter, and she maintains that devotion today. 

A Beautiful U Beauty Supply’s store will host beauty classes for licensed professionals and community members to hone their skills and technique. Dashielle also aims to collaborate with local high schools to teach youth about entrepreneurship. 

A Beautiful U Beauty Supply was founded by Stacia Dashiell in efforts to address racial gaps in the beauty supply industry. (Courtesy of A Beautiful U Beauty Supply)

The space will also serve as a venue for voter registration and various events that promote both outer and inner beauty. 

A portion of the business’ proceeds will go to a nonprofit that Dashiell is in the process of developing, called Project Chill. 

Chill stands for “children holding interest in long-term living,” and the organization will support youth who are interested in the arts. 

“No matter what obstacles you come across in life, let your failures be stepping stones to your success,” said Dashielle. “Failures build your resilience in order for you to endure additional challenges to come because they’re going to be many challenges, but you have to learn from them, hold your head up high and continue to take your place in society.”

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