With over 10,000 bookings on StyleSeat and a 5-star rating, Nikki McKinney is a true curl connoisseur. We sat down with Nikki to learn what advice the Curl Boss has for new stylists and how the beauty industry can change for the better. 

What advice would you give to new stylists and business owners starting their journey? 

Take advantage of the baby steps. People want to come right out of a learning institute and open their businesses. A lot of businesses fail that way — there is a lot to learn. It’s not always about the technique, it’s about the business side too. It’s not enough to just be gifted in your techniques, you must learn how to run a business. 

How does your business impact your community? 

We have always been pillars for connecting people — especially in Atlanta. From networking to news to advice and what’s going on in the community. 

On how the beauty industry can change for the better…

You go to cosmetology school and you are taught about textures that don’t necessarily apply to you. After you’ve paid that money you have to go to workshops and invest more money in learning how to generate revenue in a salon through advanced classes and workshops. Then once you look into purchasing or leasing a building you aren’t allowed to sign commercial leases, business loans, etc. so we are pushed back into our communities — many of them are already impoverished.

It’s very common to see black stylists working 10-12 hours just to make a living, which is unheard of with our counterparts. We tend to be overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. We need to find a way to address this gap and make the beauty industry less segregated.

“We need to find a way to address this gap and make the beauty industry less segregated.” 

What are some of your favorite Black-owned beauty brands and businesses?

Mane Choice, Curlmixx, and Design Essentials.

How can StyleSeat better elevate Black business owners?

I would say [StyleSeat] is doing a good job of featuring Black business entrepreneurs, but I would like to see a spotlight on smaller artists. Lots of stylists already have a large platform —  I’d like to see [StyleSeat] uplift smaller businesses. And by posting other cultures representing afro-centric styles of art, braids, curly hair. If we were offered the platform to feature more of what we’re known for, there would be more appreciation for the things we do organically. And that would give our community more respect. 

To learn more about Nikki visit her profile on StyleSeat.

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