Estimated reading time: 13 minute(s)
Brother Jesse: Who and what in particular inspired you to be an entrepreneur?
Shimah Muhammad: My inspiration for being an entrepreneur derives from the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He has instructed our people to “do for self.” Elijah Muhammad teaches that until we are able to do so, we will never be free from the oppression that we have suffered for over the last 400 years. This country is in extreme debt, we are living in the “Fall of America” and one of the results of this fact is the job market is almost non existent. Millions of people are without jobs which has the crime and murder rate at an all time high. I became an entrepreneur to not only be in accordance with what I have been taught in the Nation of Islam but also to be an example of an alternative to lifestyle that young people in the black and brown community are living.
Brother Jesse: When did you launch your company Hair-a-medic and why did you pursue that particular industry? Is it just for women?
Shimah Muhammad: I began Hair-a-medic in February 2013. While looking for solutions to the concerns I had about my own hair’s health, a friend recommended I try a hair salon that specialized in natural hair treatments. After visiting the company’s website and viewing their undesirable price list, I jokingly said to her “I can do this myself!” I researched different foods, oils, plants, herbs and the benefits before trying my first batch of “Pre-Shampoo Deep Conditioning Mask” on a male family member (because let’s face it, if his hair falls out, it would be way less traumatic than if mine did lol). Anyway, he loved it and encouraged me to package and sell it, I did. So no, this products is not just for women, the very first bottle was tested on, and after great results, sold to a man.
Brother Jesse: What are some of the successes and challenges you have experienced as a business owner?
Shimah Muhammad: Being an entrepreneur has definitely been a great learning experience. Labeling was one of my biggest issues starting out. Creating a look that would appeal to everyone has been difficult as well. I’m always remaking my brand, from the colors and shapes of the bottles to the promotional pictures used. The successes always outweigh the difficulty. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with the popular TV show “Love and Hip Hop” Yandy Smith’s business called “Everything Girls Love” which gave my business a great amount of exposure and I have met so many wonderful people on this journey.
Brother Jesse: I see you are very active on social media. How valuable are those platforms in connecting with potential customers and spreading your services and products?
Shimah Muhammad: In regards to business, social media is a gift from God (smile). It has allowed me to gain customers from all over America that I don’t think I could have acquired by word of mouth. The technology that we have now, if used properly, can give businesses owners the opportunity to expand beyond any scope we could have imagined. 60% of my sales come from social media and I truly believe that with more time given and attention payed, that percentage could sky rocket this next year.
Brother Jesse: How do you plan to expand in 2016?
Shimah Muhammad: In 2016 I am going to pay more attention to the economics of my business. I can admit, I have not been the best at budgeting my earnings. I plan to keep better records of my spending and profits because I am aware of how poor financial planning is the death of any business. My goal is to double my profits from 2015 by discovering more avenues in which to create new customer opportunities and incite more returning business as well.
Brother Jesse: I saw on your Instagram page that you’ve been doing alot of public speaking alongside other Nation of Islam sisters in Chicago. What has that been like? And are you planning to add motivational speaker to your repertoire?
Shimah Muhammad: It has been a blessing beyond measure and a honor beyond words. I do not take the responsibility of speaking before so many people lightly and it is something I have enjoyed doing since I was a child growing up in Los Angeles, Ca. I personally would not use the term “Motivational Speaker” but a “Bearer of Witness” to the Teachings that God has sent through His Prophets, Messengers and Warners. I just want to be a great helper in His cause.
Brother Jesse: What is your favorite quote in 140 characters or less?
Shimah Muhammad: “Accept your own and be yourself”-Elijah Muhammad. This is why I named my company Bea-U (Be You), I wanted to encourage my customers to be themselves.