Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
My name is Natasha Ickes-Saman, In my late teens, I did the expected series of jobs- retail, sales, a movie theater, and even a gas station. I hated it and that was one of the biggest blessings of my life because I learned that I simply could not spend every day doing something I do not fiercely enjoy.
I had been doing hair for some time, loved the time and connection with clients, and decided that could be my career. After a few years in the business, I opened my own salon, which is still successfully running today. I was working diligently in the hair industry for over a decade.
I enjoyed taking classes, working bridal events, doing hair for runway shows, and even having my work published in magazines. I am heavily involved in the charity Haircuts With Heart where we go into the community providing free haircuts for homeless men, women, and children. Then I reached a point, where my soul was called to do even more.
I wanted to give back on a deeper level. That is when I founded Unstoppable Woman Inc. I speak at various events, host workshops, and work with women to pinpoint their passion, create a life centered around their purpose and create the life of their dreams no matter what challenges may arise.
Where did the idea for Shear Passion Salon come from?
For my salon it was simple, hair has been my passion for some time. The feeling you give to a client when you transform them is something I love. Shear represents hair-cutting scissors. So Shear Passion was formed.
For my coaching company, I toyed around with different names. But at the end of the day, I am trying to empower women to be unstoppable in every avenue of their life and Unstoppable Woman Inc was born.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
My hair salon has been around for so long that it is self-sustainable. There is no marketing involved, in fact, I am booked out for weeks. I have to show up with impeccable customer service and the skills to back it up, and from there it is all good.
For the coaching company, I take a different approach since it is a newer company. I actively speak on podcasts and radio interviews, at as many seminars as possible, and just continually get my name out there so people know what I do.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that actually motivates and drives you?
My passion for helping other women internally (through the coaching) and externally (through the hair). Being able to make a positive change in people’s lives day in and out, motivates me even through the difficult moments.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness and why?
I use Facebook and Instagram. Honestly, Facebook is the easiest for me. I have been using it for the longest. My friends on there are all people from my life (high school friends, old coworkers, family, and clients). It is a network of people I care about.
I have been open and honest about my journey and because of that, it is a natural place to build brand awareness and receive support. Then Instagram is a must. I built my first website at 19 so that there was an online gallery client could go to see my work.
But now everyone just checks you out on Instagram. So by having a page for my salon @n_shearpassion and by having a page for my coaching @natasha.ickes.saman, you can go and quickly see what it is that I am about.
People take different approaches to social media. Some keep their pages strictly about brand content. While I absolutely always keep it professional, I can’t help but be open and honest. I am not the type to post what I am eating for every meal, but you will see a few pictures of children and family vacations sprinkled in there.
And on Facebook I am transparent about wins and struggles, I think it is important to see both sides and to understand that success has its ups and downs. I want to be authentic in expressing my journey.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
Authenticity. We are each unique because of our story. No business is the only one of its kind, but your story is what makes you stand out. I struggled with depression since I was young, leading to a suicide attempt which left me hospitalized.
From there I went through years of homelessness and addiction before I had a radical shift in mindset. Through the lessons I learned, I was able to turn my life around. By sharing my story I connect with the people I am meant to.
Where did your first six figures come from?
It came in my 3rd year of working at a salon before I even opened my own place. I worked really really hard. I was the first to get there and the last to leave. I even came in on Sundays for over 5 years.
I would leave to get my daughter from school and bring her back to work with me. Luckily salons are fun so she did her homework while I worked on clients and a lot of evenings she would fall asleep at the shampoo bowl while waiting for me to finish. I was determined to change our lives and hard work was the only way I saw to do that.
What is one piece of advice you still remember and that has practically changed your life?
One day in the salon I had a really rough day and I remember an old-school barber who had been in the industry for more than 50 years looked at me and said: “Some days you have to work for it, baby.” That simple sentence sums it up. Most days are a lot of fun.
However, no matter what the situation, life is not always going to be easy. Some days will be smooth sailing and some will be some choppy waters. You don’t hop off the boat because it got rough, you stay the course and see it through. To this day when I have a rough day at work, I think back to that phrase.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
No. I learned so much along the way. Your character is built in the trials, you learn the lessons through the mistakes. Everything happened to get me to where I am right now.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself hosting wellness retreats a few times a year, speaking at seminars, and continuing to run my salon.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Get ready to work hard and be prepared to pivot. Too many people expect instant success, especially in this generation. It won’t happen overnight. You have to be dedicated, work hard and learn from the wins and losses. So make sure it is something you are completely passionate about, that way you enjoy the ride.
Natasha Ickes-Saman Opened A Hair Salon at 25, Became an Empowerment Mentor After 30, and Still Found Time to Write a Book and Give Back to the Community.