It is exceptional when you see a woman making boss moves, closing deals, and opening new doors in the midst of the pandemic….And that woman is none other than international celebrity hairstylist, Nafisah Carter. As a leading industry hair veteran with well over 10 years under her belt, Nafisah Carter is a force to be reckoned with. Having slayed the manes’ of some of the industries finest such as Michelle Williams, Debbie Allen, and Tinashe, Nafisah has proven herself to be an unformidable force in the beauty industry. Nafisah has come full force even during the pandemic, with the re-emergence of her new salon and brand image, The Salon Raleigh by Nafisah Carter! Formerly known as Nafisah’s Beauty Boutique, The Salon Raleigh is located in Raleigh, North Carolina‘s Capital City. It is the premier place where beauty, glam and privacy meet luxury. Glambitious had a chance to catch up with the beautiful and resilient, Nafisah Carter, for an exclusive interview to discuss everything from her most memorable career experience, to how she stepped out on faith and leveled up her brand.
Nafisah, you are a world renown international celebrity hairstylist! Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Nafisah Carter, an international multicultural, celebrity hairstylist, and the proud owner of The Salon Raleigh and Pyara Hair.
What is a typical day like in the life of Nafisah Carter?
A typical day for me starts with prayer before I do anything. I drink herbal tea every morning with a little yoga sometimes. (Laughs) Then I do my work from home--I go over emails, schedules, hair orders, text messages, whatsapp messages. It’s a lot, but it has to get done before I go to work. After I complete all of that, I usually talk to my friends and family for a few minutes. I always need good laughs and checking in with the people I’m closest to. It helps me with my day. When I finish all of that, I go to work and work on my beautiful clients. I love my clients so much; they have the best energy so it really gets me through my day.
I know that you worked at the infamous Rita Hazan Salon that has serviced many celebrities such as Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and more. Tell us a little about your professional journey as an influential celebrity hairstylist.
Yes, working at Rita Hazan in New York was the best experience for me as a celebrity hairstylist. Working there helped me tremendously to gain so much experience and knowledge in the celebrity world. I moved there knowing what I wanted and where I wanted to go in my career. As a hairstylist and an entrepreneur, you can never stop learning and growing, and while working in New York I learned so much. As with anything, there are a lot of high’s and low’s but the high’s definitely outweigh the low’s. I’ve always tried my best to stay grounded and surrounded myself with positive, influential people.
This is so inspiring! How did you relaunch your new salon, The Salon Raleigh by Nafisah Carter, in the middle of the pandemic?
Thank you so much! Relaunching took a lot of focus, strategizing, sleepless nights, and prayer. During the shutdown, I kept thinking about when things reopen, and how would I want to come back better. I always feel that in life and in business, you should always want to level up, do better and want better...No matter what it is. Everyone is different, whether it’s something small or large it doesn’t matter, just strive for better, always. We had a lot of time on our hands during the shutdown so I figured before things open back up, I want to set myself up to be in a new location. I knew that would make me feel good and my clients as well. After all, we’ve been through a lot, so I wanted a place that’s nice, calming and fun, but still private for my clients to come back to. I wanted everything changed including the salon name. As soon as I found the perfect location, I called my friend Vanessa and she immediately agreed to decorate it for me. I am so grateful to have a ton of support from my family and friends. I never have to really ask for much, they always just show up for me and I'm so grateful for that.
Tell us about The Salon Raleigh experience. What can consumers expect?
I like to say that The Salon Raleigh is a place where beauty, glam and privacy meet luxury. I offer a vast array of hair extensions services. My flower wall and lighting keeps it fun! It has definitely become a space where clients love to take pictures of themselves. I offer different types of drinks and snacks to keep you feel comfortable while receiving your services. It’s definitely a vibe at the new salon.
What hardships did you face in relaunching your brand and reopening your new salon? How did you overcome it?
I ran into several hardships. They were so random and unexpected, but in business you never know what will come up. The only thing to do is try again with possibly a different approach and keep it moving. I started off trying to find another location. I paid deposits not realizing that it was not as convenient as I thought for my clients because my clients travel from all over. Some are from the area, but about 90% commute from other cities. After asking around, I realized that the location I thought was perfect was not so perfect at all. After late nights of searching for more locations for months, I found a location at 3am online. It was actually a place I looked into 2 years ago, so I was excited to see it pop up again. At the time it was not available. I inquired about it the next morning and it was available, so I jumped on it immediately. Another thing I faced was all my fault. I can laugh about it now but at the time it wasn’t so funny. I was so excited about my new space that I immediately went online ordering furniture not thinking about measurements! (Laughs) Everything I ordered was too big. So I was stuck with pretty furniture that was too big for my space. That’s when I knew to hand the decorating ideas over to my friend Vanessa, and I would just focus on the business side. (Laughs)
What has been your most memorable experience of your career to date?
I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences, but I would have to say when I opened my first business, basically starting as an entrepreneur, would be my most memorable to date. I think it’s the most memorable because I learned so much about business. As a child I grew up with my parents as entrepreneurs, so I learned some things from watching them. When I actually decided to take the leap of faith and do it myself, it was a completely different ball game! (Laughs) I learned that you must always do your research first, you have to be very organized, plan and not rush things, and most of all, trust the process. Being an entrepreneur especially in the beginning can feel like a roller coaster; very up and down, but I think that’s why I’ll never forget all that it took to get where I am now.
What else is next for you in 2021?
I really want to focus on building my business even more. After I get to a certain point, I can focus on my next goal which is a school.
What words of advice would you offer to your younger self now that you have experienced life as an entrepreneur, or other aspiring hairstylists?
I would say to my younger self don’t stop, just keep going. Stay focused on exactly what you want and don’t let anyone, or anything change your mind. Surround yourself with successful people that you look up to and can learn from. Always remember that one “no” doesn’t stop anything, keep going until you get a “yes.”
What gives your life meaning?
The fact that I can motivate people and inspire people gives my life meaning. Having the ability to make people feel good about themselves from the inside out, gives my life meaning. Hairstylists are like therapists so being able to be a listening ear to someone without judgment, or to give advice to clients gives my life meaning. Also me being a single mother gives my life so much meaning. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for me being a single mother. I know I wouldn’t have worked as hard. My career has literally taken me all over the world, and I’ve been able to have my son experience going to these places as well. Some of the choices I made was because I knew I had my child watching me and I wanted to always set a good example. Not saying I’m perfect by any means, but being a positive, hardworking, loving person, has always been important to me.
Keep Up with Nafisah Carter: @nafisahcarter @thesalonraleigh @pyarahair