JAIME: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Jaime Schrabeck.
ASHLEY: And Ashley Gregory. The launch of our podcast happened to coincide with the coronavirus pandemic, but to focus only on that topic ignores the more painful and critical topic of racism.
JAIME: Our guests, Shauna and Angel, the co-hosts of DINKS Podcast, join us to share their perspectives. Let’s grow together.
JAIME: Shauna and Angel, welcome to Outgrowth.
SHAUNA: Thank you so much.
JAIME: Ideally we’d have met in person to have this conversation, but to borrow your brilliant idea from your introductory episode of DINKS Podcast, let’s call this a virtual business shower.
SHAUNA: Creative. I love it.
ASHLEY: So we’re pretty new to podcasting all the way around, but if you want to each introduce yourselves, that’d be great.
SHAUNA: I’m Shauna. Basically how this got started was I am a licensed nail technician and Angel is currently one of my clients. And she came in for a nail appointment and we literally were like, girl, do you want kids? And I’m like, that’s not what’s happening in my life. Every time she would come in, we would start talking about it. And I was like, why don’t we just have a podcast cause we can’t be the only ones experiencing this? And it’s giving me a platform and a space to be completely authentic. I’m seeing that it’s helping a lot of people get comfortable with talking about their choices that they’ve made for themselves.
ANGEL: I’m Angel. When I’m able to talk with Shauna and just get things out and off my chest is a great reliever of stress to have something that major in common with someone.
ASHLEY: Angel, we haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you in person, but Shauna, the last time we saw each other, we were enjoying some cocktails, had dinner in New York the day the beauty show was canceled, and that feels like, at this point, five years ago.
ASHLEY: How do you feel about that?
SHAUNA: I can’t believe that I was actually there when the coronavirus started, cause when I got there it literally just seemed like everybody was living their regular life. So I rode the train and I get a, I think Jaime, or you, text me or something, and was like, um, um, so I think it was canceled, and I said, canceled where? I just got here. And then lo and behold, an hour or two later, canceled. So, I was like, my faves are here. Let’s go get a drink.
ASHLEY: We got to have a conversation, I think much like this one, wherein we just got to touch base on everything we think about beauty, everything we think about the beauty industry, but particularly now, like there was this umbrella of COVID over everything. And now we’re living in a completely different reality. This is such a stupid example, but I bought a sweatshirt off of a Facebook ad that said, in the rainbow font, it said, everything is fine. Everything is fine. Everything is fine. And I got it and I wore it outside and I’m like, nothing is fine. People must think, especially right now, I’m walking around in this everything is fine shirt, and I’m thinking, I can’t wear this anymore. Because, yeah, nothing is fine. And part of the reason that we wanted both of you ladies to come on the podcast and just kind of give us a firsthand account of what you’re thinking and feeling in terms of the beauty industry, in terms of just your own personal lives. We understand it’s not our job to direct the conversation, but I want to check in with you and, and ask you really how you are.
SHAUNA: Well, so dealing with COVID, dealing with teleworking full time, living in the DMV area, and then having to deal with everything that’s happening outside with the police, and they’re killing Black people in the street, and for us, Black people, this is, we knew this already. This isn’t something that’s new to us. This isn’t something that it’s now being broadcasted because it’s being recorded, but we already knew that this was happening on a day to day basis. So now that it’s been amplified and I’m Black being married to a Black man, it’s frightening. Every time my husband goes outside, because of how it’s been heightened, I’m terrified, and my husband, he’s just, I mean, he’s bearded. He’s a Black man. He wears glasses and he drives a black fancy car. At this point, literally anything could happen. And it puts me on pins and needles to have to constantly worry about him just going to the grocery store, or walking down the street, or going downstairs to the lobby of our building because we live in a pretty nice building where we’ve seen people call the cops on people that actually live in the same building. It has definitely taken my anxiety to another level. I’m usually walking around regularly on a four, and my threshold is a six, and I’m at about a eight on a daily basis right now. It makes my stomach turn. I can’t be on social media as much as I would normally be because it’s so much and it’s happening more and more every day. It’s being recorded every day. And it’s overwhelming, to the point where it’s like, okay, should I reschedule some therapy appointments? Like it’s going to take some processing, and it’s gonna take a lot of self soothing just to live a regular life, just to be normal mentally and emotionally, but that’s, that’s about where I am. Going back to work tomorrow doing nails, I’m really excited. It’s been three months of relaxing, but also three months of, okay, how can I continue to be creative? How can I continue to, you know, be motivated to do all the things that I said I was going to do, but also having to deal with COVID? It’s a lot of hyper awareness happening and it’s super exhausting.
ASHLEY: And Angel, can you share with us how you’re doing, what you’re thinking about, how you’re feeling?
ANGEL: Yeah, I wake up feeling a little differently each day and I’ve realized that I need to manage the intake of current events, into what I’m listening to and what I’m watching. I believe very greatly in balance, and how hard must that be to do when you have so many things that are out of control right now, or out of my control at least. So each day I wake up feeling just a tad differently than the day before and sometimes, in the beginning of all of this, it was really, really not good and my attitude was not great so I needed to just be quiet in all of this, and then now where I am is I am trying to direct my imagery in a more constructive way. So instead of just watching all of these horrible videos that people post and saturating my life with all of that, I’m saying, well, what can I do? I feel like I’ve lived a pretty privileged lifestyle, for my entire life really. I’ve never had to want for anything. And so because of that, you can feel a little detached from some of the more hard things we’re dealing with right now. And I’m in a place where I can’t sit idly by. So now I’m talking to people about their task force that they’re creating to make sure there’s more diversity in the workplace, and how to promote more Black businesses, and who are we really voting for, and making sure I’m actually learning who these people are, and seeing how they voted on things, and not really not being concerned with party so much as who is this person and will they represent the change that I want to see? So I’m just trying to limit the bad that’s coming in and redirect it to what’s constructive. What can I do? Um, I’m not really a marcher per se, but I can do more in my career industry, and with my family, and with my community, and making sure that we’re creating the change that we want to see. In terms of this COVID, it did disrupt things. I have two careers, and my day career, just shut down, and that is something that I absolutely love. So that is frustrating that I can’t be around the people that I enjoy working with and assisting the clients that I would normally be assisting. So, that’s a thing I’ve had to get used to, but in my second career I’m able to work still, and service people, and just making sure we’re being overly cautious in terms of protecting ourselves. I don’t get really anxious. I’m not so much a worrier, and when I do get worried, I immediately start to focus on what is the solution to what I’m feeling. Like I don’t so much dwell, if that makes sense, like sit in what I’m going through. I’m like, okay, fix it, you know? That’s my overall attitude toward things so when I felt myself waking up feeling down, I said, all right, we have to make this useful.
ASHLEY: Well I don’t want to spend the whole time just asking you how you’re feeling, and what’s on your radar, and stuff because I’m very hyper aware of my role in what I’m asking people to do to help my understanding. So many things can be Googled that I’m really making a conscious effort to not be that person to put the burden back on the person who needs the help, or needs the awareness, or disease and support in that moment.
SHAUNA: I don’t think it’s a problem to ask how you can help because how else would you know how to help?
SHAUNA: Googling is fine but, if you have someone that you can reach out to, that’s even better, and I don’t have a problem answering the question because you won’t know unless you ask. That’s being on the other side of the playing field, I guess people are assuming that you should know how to, but if that’s your world, you wouldn’t know how to interact with the other side. So I don’t have an issue with someone asking me, how can I help the, the cause or whatever? My main thing is, like Angel said, I’m not a marcher because I can’t do large crowds. Even before COVID, so having COVID in the air even makes it more terrifying. But my answer to you, Ashley, would be have the conversation with your friends, or with your colleagues, or with your family members who either may not quite understand why it’s happening the way that it’s happening, or they literally just don’t know. Like having to explain white cops killing Black men, for whatever the reason may be, it didn’t have to end in death. There are so many examples that, the guy that went to the church in South Carolina and shot all those people in that church. He walked out with a bulletproof vest on.
SHAUNA: We can’t even get out of our cars without getting shot up. So with those types of examples, I mean, how much more explanation do you need? There’s one committing multiple murders that’s living to even go to jail and one person reaching for their driver’s license, and now he’s dead. Those types of things I don’t think necessarily needs an explanation, but I think the deeper level to that is that a lot of people see it as, well, he shouldn’t have done, or he should have did, or. We’re taught that early, as Black people. Even as a woman, I’m terrified. I don’t speed anymore. Not going to lie on myself, I used to drive really fast. But just driving on the highway, I’m terrified when a police officer gets behind me cause I’m like, okay, well is my tags okay? Like did I signal getting over? All of those things never go through my head because at any point, I could be dead and that’s so extreme, but that’s how my brain works. I mean, Googling, yeah, you can find answers but I don’t think you’ll get like real-life people conversation.
ANGEL: I have something to add to that. So I do appreciate the sentiment behind not putting the burden back on the person in terms of like, how can I help? I think it’s very similar to like when people are grieving. Don’t make them tell you how they need help at this time. Just show up. Well, I think the number one thing right now, which you are doing, is letting your counterparts know where you stand. I think my number one thing that I’m looking for, and the people that I do business with, and the people that I service, and the people I work for, et cetera, like where do you stand on this? And it’s not been like that in my life before, but we’re in a place where I need to know if you are an advocate and ally, or not. Like, tell me the truth where you are on this. And I think having conversations like this and saying, let me go do my own research, and reading, and being empathetic in all of this, that is the number one thing. And then because what’s really going to solve this as such a bigger, long-term solution, that it’s going to take so many more years than we thought that it would. So being present ,and being firm in where you stand on these issues, and letting the other person know where that is is of the utmost importance in my opinion. And then you can start educating yourself on what it means to be Black in this country. And that’s going to require a lot of empathy because you can’t possibly know what it’s like if you’re not a Black person, and it’s even hard to know what it’s like if you’re not a Black person that lives in a limited income area or lives right around where this is actually happening. Like in my quiet little neighborhood and my affluent county, I’m not necessarily encountering things like that on a regular basis but, because it’s so prevalent and because I’m seeing it, now I’m like, when I leave my house, am I going to have to deal with some mess when I go out? And I’ve not had to think like that before, but now I’ve put on kind of like this preparation, for lack of a better term. All right, let me get my mind right just in case something goes down, just in case someone says something out of pocket, just in case, you know, someone mistakes me for something else, or questions me in a way that isn’t fair or whatever the case, you know? So even where I wouldn’t normally have to worry about that, now that’s something I have to look at whenever I leave my dwelling. And I can’t even tell you what it is to worry about my Black husband when he leaves the house, and my Black nephew when he goes outside, or my Black brother and all of my Black cousins. I worry about them more than I worry about myself.
ASHLEY: Being an ally and knowing that I’ll never understand, but being an advocate for Black Lives Matter, and understanding that it is my job right now to feel uncomfortable. It is my job to sit with this because, for me, when I leave my house, I, I feel the things that a woman feels when you leave the house, like am I safe? Do I have the things I need? Oh, is it dark, et cetera, et cetera? But I think may be as close as I could possibly get to feeling what she was feeling. Something my fiance and I talk about a lot is why do you have to personify something to understand it? You know, that classic, well, she’s someone’s daughter, or someone’s mother, that a lot of people say when it comes to sexual harassment and things like that. Why can’t her personhood be enough? Why does it have to be that she’s someone’s daughter, wife, mother? Cause that, to me, kind of connotes property.
ASHLEY: Like she belongs to some man, therefore, she is worth something.
ASHLEY: And I guess if you extrapolate that out.
ANGEL: You’re absolutely right, and on the right track, and, and you can very much tap into what you feel being a woman in the same way. And now, since you bring that up, Shauna and I deal with both, just like you said. Like, how do I react to somebody if a man and can I give the most lame example ever?
ANGEL: So I’m in Lowe’s. I told you we were getting our basement renovated. I’m in Lowe’s and I’m just getting like LED light bulbs for the recessed lights. And this guy walks by and he’s like, hey, Ms. Lady, your husband should be doing that. I’m like, I’m getting light bulbs. Like how hard is getting light bulbs that I need a man in this Lowe’s to pick out my own damn light bulb. It made me so angry. And I was like, actually, I like it here. I like to come in here and do these kinds of things. I like to exert my independence and don’t have to ask any man for help. Like I was a whole human being before I got married, and could do things on my own. Why did being married change that?
SHAUNA: Angel, what did you say to him?
ANGEL: I said, actually, I like coming to Lowe’s to pick out what I want. So like, move on, sir. I don’t know. Why are we still thinking that way? So.
ANGEL: Similar to race, like the whole woman’s role thing is such a long-term issue, and I’m going to connect this a little bit because, to me, that is also a role that non-Black people can play is hold your counterparts accountable. They need to know that something they said that’s off is off, and you’re not okay with them speaking that way, or looking that way, or assuming that thing around you, like make them be uncomfortable with being so comfortable about saying something, or feeling something that’s inappropriate about that race.
ASHLEY: I appreciate that because as we all work on our wokeness and work on our allyship, it’s very easy for us to press pause and say, this is not okay. I mean, it’s not easy, but it, there’s nothing standing in our way of doing it other than our own fear of awkwardness, and that’s just not a reason to not do something.
ANGEL: It isn’t.
JAIME: I think there’s a fear of loss as well, because if we are aligning ourselves, or realigning ourselves, according to our priorities and our values, we risk losing those people in our lives who can’t accept that, or whose values are so different from ours that to have them stay in our lives would not be healthy.
ANGEL: But as the adage goes, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything, right? So like at some point, it’s important to be okay with sustaining a loss of people that aren’t a good fit for you because I promise, if you’re doing the right thing, you’ll attract the right things into your life. So if you stand for something, you’ll attract the people that also stand for that thing.
JAIME: Is that the lesson that brands are learning now, even as perhaps their shareholders worry that if a brand were to take a particular stand, or to remain silent, that they risk profits?
SHAUNA: I think so. Absolutely. I think the brands that know that most of their customers come from the Black community are saying things, like I saw Nike said something. Adidas said something. A lot of small restaurants in the Alexandria area where I live have said something, and people are paying attention to who’s saying something and who’s not saying something. So I think it’s important for them to say something, but I also don’t want somebody or a company to say something just to be saying it, because you don’t want to look bad or, you don’t want to be slack, or get called out because you didn’t say anything. As far as like brands and stuff go, I haven’t done my research. So I’m not really sure. But I did see something. Did you see those posts that were going around about how many Black people work in those particular organizations like OPI and CND? Did you all see that?
SHAUNA: So those numbers were crazy. I didn’t realize that, that it was almost nonexistent.
ANGEL: The only people that are allowed to not say something are the people that we’ve known all along who they are, whether that be for Blacks or against Blacks, or whatever the case, like those are the only ones that can get away with not making a stance, that they’ve always had it as a policy, inclusivity and nondiscrimination, and all those wonderful things. Outside of that, it’s time to let people know where you stand. If you can do it for the LBGTQ community, and you can do it for women’s rights, and all of these wonderful things, then, then yeah, you can let us know what your plan is to make sure that your brand stands behind making everyone, literally, making everyone matter. Because there’s this whole debate about Black Lives Matter – all lives matter. Well, the issue behind that is that people say all lives matter as a counter to Black Lives Matter, and there, it doesn’t need a counter because no one said other people’s lives didn’t matter. We just need Black lives to actually matter. And so if you can’t get behind that as a brand, you should be okay with sustaining the loss of the Black dollar. And we are a very spendy people. Let’s just be honest about it.
SHAUNA: Amen. Yes, we are.
ANGEL: It’s powerful. And if we literally decided to band together and choose to X a certain brand out of our spending budget, I can guarantee so many would need to shut down, whatever the store is. They’d have to shut down branches everywhere, because that’s just what it is. Those are the stats. You can look it up on any credible website source that you want to. We’re spending the money, and that kinda brings it back around to like, in the service industry, and like you said, nail techs. I met Shauna because I had reached out to my girlfriends and I said, I want to spend my money with a Black person that does nails. I was very purposeful about it, and then one of my girlfriends had sent me Shauna’s way and subsequently three, four, and five of us, started going to Shauna to spend our money with her. Number one, because she’s superb and excellent, and does everything in excellence so that’s why I keep spending my money there. But if we all get purposeful about that, these brands would be in trouble. So yes, they need to say where they stand and time will tell if that’s really where they stand, or if they’re saying it because they’re scared to lose money.
JAIME: Does it really matter what their motivation is as long as they take the right action?
SHAUNA: Well, you know what I feel like if they say it and there’s no action behind it, you should just not say anything, because we’re going to be paying attention to the people who are saying things, and we’re also going to be paying attention to the action behind it. So let’s say, a brand, yes, we are speaking on Black Lives Matter. We support. We’re going to be doing this better. We’re going to have so many new Black nail tech influencers are going to be ambassadors for our brand. And then six months later, they still haven’t done anything. So we’re going to go back six months and say, hey, didn’t you say that you were going to sponsor, or pull these people onto your brand? What happened? So it’s kind of like, don’t say anything if you have no intention on backing up what you’re saying, cause you’re going to get called out on it.
ANGEL: You are, and it’s so easy, like in the past, things will quote/unquote get back to normal. And so you’re back in the rat race, or you’re back to your normal routine. Well, there is no normal routine anymore because now we’re social distancing, and people are working from home, and people are spending a lot more time on the internet and social media. So there is no back to normal to make people forget what you said. Now, more than ever, and especially with millennials and how quickly they get information around to other people, we’re not gonna forget to check to see if you’re holding true to what you say. It has to be backed by actions. Yes, your words are important. I always tell people that that whole sticks and stones may break my bones, but words never hurt me, that’s absolutely 100% false. Your words matter a great deal. Your actions behind those words are going to tell us what’s real. And we’re not in the point anymore where we’re going to forget what you said and forget to check up on are you holding true to how you’re going to help us solve this problem.
ASHLEY: Maybe that’s a way for allies to actually do something, is to hold brands accountable and do that work in the next three, six months, a year from now to go back and say, hey, what have you done? And show us the tangible steps you’ve taken.
SHAUNA: Well, that’s definitely a great idea.
JAIME: I would hope that brands and businesses didn’t just showcase a more diverse influencer or employee or whatever it is that they think they’re going to put in front of the public, but that those decisions and the critical role that someone would take in an organization as a decision maker, that those opportunities get expanded because otherwise they’re just props.
SHAUNA: Right. No, I 1000% agree with that. I mean, there needs to be people of color, like Jaime said, making the decisions to choose the people to work as the influencers. There needs to be people of color that are on the, the board of directors, or that are in the creative spot that can come up with the colors, or the marketing, or there’s several different areas in these brands where they can put creative and very smart Brown people in these positions. Not sure why they haven’t already, but that needs to be something that needs to happen because I didn’t realize there were as many Black nail polishes that were out. So I’m going to start buying their collections because I need to see something from all these other brands for me to feel comfortable. Like, okay, I’m buying your product and I’m spending all this money but, do you even support what I’m doing? I spend so much money, but I think I’m going to have to redirect my money until I feel as though my money is appreciated. Great, I’m one little person not buying a polish but, for me and my conscience, I’ll feel good about it.
ANGEL: And the thing is about putting people of color in higher places, there’s no shortage of qualified people. They just aren’t seen. There are people of color that are just as qualified as their counterparts that are already in those high places. They get looked over, and I think that’s part of the issue with these brands. They’re going to have to make sure they’re seeing people, and if they’re qualified, put them in those places. I think particularly in terms of creativity, like we just have so much to offer because we come from such a diverse background. That can help a brand greatly. So like don’t discount somebody’s creativity even if they have another year left to get their degree, or whatever is the case. They can add from another way too. So we need to be looking at how we’re qualifying people as well, so that people of color and women don’t get overlooked.
ASHLEY: That’s such a good point too that it needs to be the decision makers reflecting what the world looks like, not just the influencer, or the feature, or whatever, because yeah, the tokenism is real. I mean if you’re looking at what brands are posting right now, especially like hair brands, that don’t even make product that works for texture, it’s like, how are you backing that up? There’s just so much inauthenticity right now that it’s pretty transparent, especially if you know anything about any of these brands.
SHAUNA: That’s what I was saying. Like, if it’s not going to be authentic, then just keep it to yourself and just get called out on it.
JAIME: I just imagine all the billions of dollars that have been spent over decades, researching, marketing, and advertising to appeal to consumers of color when all that really needed to happen was to have people in those positions to make those decisions, and share their opinions and their expertise, as you would point out, because they certainly are qualified. It boggles my mind that that wasn’t already happening because I think it would be a no-brainer. It would be a huge savings. It would just be a direct connection to the community that you’re trying to serve.
ANGEL: That is the epitome of hitting the nail on the head.
ANGEL: You got it. You understand.
JAIME: When I look at what’s happening now in terms of certain companies being boycotted and other companies being propped up for doing the right thing, and by propped up, I mean, supported through social media, the attention that’s being given to brands that haven’t been able to compete because they don’t have the resources. And like you mentioned, Shauna and Angel as well, you want to support brands that have the same values that you do, that are owned by other Black women, for example. Look at how much can get done. Look at how much just organic advertising gets done when it goes viral. It doesn’t, you don’t need a huge marketing budget. You don’t need an ad agency in the age of social media to draw attention to a quality product.
ANGEL: Now that’s an absolute fact. Like word of mouth, and now word of social media, is the way to go. Like you can’t not have a presence online, specifically in social media, if you’re going to be successful in business. And even in my own career, 95% of my business is repeat customer and referral customer, people that I know, and the people that I know know. And that is how you’re gonna sustain yourself. So I would think you’d want to align with people that will put a positive image of your product out there, and, and just what you’re saying, the whole thing about going viral. Well, businesses that are doing the right thing, which is being inclusive and having inclusivity a part of their operations, can go viral and be wildly successful. And there is a company called Honeypot. That’s a prime example, right?
ASHLEY: Totally. I was just going to piggyback on that and say, doesn’t this drive home the importance of, number one, having a brand, even if you’re a solo practitioner? Because people shouldn’t have to guess, or search, or investigate where you stand on things that are important to any part of your market.
ASHLEY: I teach a lot of branding and marketing classes, and I get a lot of pushback when people maybe are in the beauty space, and they work alone, and they say, I don’t need to go through these branding exercises. It’s just me. Um, and I don’t know. I feel like right now, your brand is super important because it’s pretty much what you stand for. It is your story.
SHAUNA: Well, if it’s just you, shouldn’t you want to be known, and like, how do you get more clients? How are you exposing your skill or your craft if you’re not marketing yourself?
ASHLEY: Totally. I guess the decisions we make about like our logo, and the colors we want to use, and the name of our business, or whatever, those are branding decisions, but nobody’s really categorizing it that way. They’re just thinking like, oh, I need this stuff in order to be a business.
ASHLEY: It’s like once you have business cards, you’re official.
SHAUNA: That’s not how that works.
SHAUNA: I created this business coaching thing where I’m trying to educate new nail techs, or nail techs that have been in business for themselves for years, but they don’t have the foundation to really consider themselves a business. Yeah, you have a name. You have an Instagram account. But, if you have an LLC, is it registered in your state? Do you have an EIN number? Do you have a business bank account? Do you have a business savings account? Like, do you have business insurance? Like all of these things, a lot of people don’t have, and I’m not, I guess, quote/unquote, known enough for someone to trust me enough to come to me for those types of business things. I have the credentials, if that’s what it takes, you know, I mean like, yeah, I have a business degree. I have a master’s in business administration, which is how I feel comfortable enough telling someone or advising someone on the next steps of what you should do, or the fact that I’ve been in business for seven years, and I worked as a nail technician full time for a year and a half and was completely successful. I feel like all of my boxes are checked, but at the same time, I’m not well enough known for me to get clients in that realm of being in the beauty industry.
ANGEL: Yet, you should say yet.
SHAUNA: Yet. Thanks, Angel.
JAIME: I want to say something directly to Shauna.
JAIME: Being unqualified hasn’t stopped others from finding their audience.
SHAUNA: No, so listen, you know, I struggle with this. So, it’s so frustrating, guys, when I see nail techs who literally just got their license last month offering classes. Like, you just got here. That’s not how this works. You can’t teach somebody something that you literally just learned a month ago, and not even like learned in the way where your clientele is lucrative. You just want to make money in the sense of you want to make money, but there’s no foundation education behind what you’re teaching. You just want to teach it to get money. And it’s frustrating to me because I feel like I can teach somebody properly.
ANGEL: Well, that’s where your branding comes in, right? So that’s exactly the point in branding because if those people who are actually not qualified are pushing their agenda hard enough, and being repetitive enough, then they will win out and teach people how to do things incorrectly, and it will be frustrating for the whole marketplace. But you are actually excellent, and can teach people to do things properly, and you are qualified. I don’t know about this not being qualified. You are qualified. So it’s a matter of getting that out there more so that people understand that you are the authority on how to do this right in this marketplace.
ASHLEY: Maybe we need to do an episode on imposter syndrome and how rampant it is because I think so many of us waiting for permission, or waiting for guidance, or waiting for the tap on the shoulder, and so many of us seek that through educator positions with brands, or ambassador roles, or things like that where instead of standing in our truth, knowing what we’re capable of and saying, F it, I’m going to do it myself. Not to knock that other route, but there are definitely lots of different paths open. But maybe that’s something we need to focus on as white women is, how are we amplifying the voices around us, even if it’s not pushing you forward on the stage, it’s saying, I can give someone that tap on the shoulder. That is my power. So why am I not doing that, or why am I doing it not as much as I could be?
ANGEL: It’s a great point.
SHAUNA: So my first time going to Premiere Orlando was the first time I went to see Ashley’s class. I literally go in, and I sit down, and I’m like, I wonder if there’s any Black people doing what she’s doing. I want to do what she’s doing.
SHAUNA: I literally walked up to her and I was like, I’ve never met you before, but I really want to do what you’re doing. And she looked at me and was like, um, okay, thanks, I think.
ASHLEY: I just was like, I was so taken aback by your absolute straightforwardness. I was just like, okay, yes.
JAIME: You must have made it look really fun, Ashley.
ASHLEY: Oh boy, yeah, that’s it.
SHAUNA: She did. It was like she was just up there talking like, you know, saying literally whatever she wanted. And there was really nobody that could check her because she worked for herself and I’m like, this is what I need to be doing, like right here. And she’s like, oh, this, we have an educator training in California. It could have been in Australia and I still would have went. I think seeing Ashley in that role made me think, okay, maybe I could be my own entity teaching. So that’s kind of where my thought process came from. And then when I met Jaime in California, she was like, oh no, you’re doing this. This is really not a question. And I was like, I don’t think I’m ready yet. No, you’re ready. It’ll be okay. You can, you can do it. It’s like, um, okay. So that’s how I got to New York because of Jaime, and I love her for that.
ANGEL: There’s proof in the pudding.
JAIME: And now coronavirus has given you even more time to get ready.
ASHLEY: What can we do to facilitate that space just being taken and being filled with the kinds of voices that are empowering, uplifting, and elevating, but they’re also like just people we haven’t heard from before? We’re trotting out the same tired people over and over again. They have the same message from 35 years ago and you’re thinking, well, how is this relevant? I’m not voicing this very well, but I, again, I just don’t want people to wait. Like it’s the opportunity is there, and I think if you’re motivated and just want to do it, you can claim your own space and there’s nobody that’s going to stop you.
SHAUNA: No, I’m getting there.
JAIME: The future of the beauty industry will depend on how well we adapt to what should have been happening all along, which is, we are an incredibly diverse industry, but we’re not all that inclusive. We’re not all that accepting of each other. We constantly get fragmented, according to the type of work we do, whether we’re a licensed cosmetologist or we just do nails, as often we’re told, and then you have the licensed versus the unlicensed, and it just goes on and on and on. And at what point do we come together? And what can we do to expand the stage and not limit ourselves so much?
ASHLEY: I don’t know, maybe we have to name it first and realize that it’s happening.
SHAUNA: Yeah, I don’t know either. How would that get jump-started? Like where would that, I’m not sure?
JAIME: Maybe this is where our creativity comes in, where we bring our best to each other, and the things that I’m able to do that others may not do as well, and vice versa. I think that’s where we can collaborate, and work together, and connect in a way that honors our individual contributions, but collectively we’ll advance the industry, and set a standard for what can be done in an industry that has incredible reach globally. If the beauty brands and the businesses within the industry, and the individuals in the industry can lead the way, I’d be so honored to be part of that.
SHAUNA: I think it would have to come from a brand, and I mean brand, like the person at the top that makes all the decisions that trickle down, all the way down to the influencers. The likelihood of that happening, I’m not quite sure cause I don’t know who’s going to step out and be the black sheep of the beauty industry, I guess, quote/unquote if they were to say something to be inclusive, like verbally say that Black Lives Matter, or we are starting this new avenue of something to help, or influence, or advocate, or whatever have you. Who’s, what brand is going to step up and do that?
ANGEL: Well, here’s the thing. So I definitely agree that it should be the brand that takes that initiative. So we agree that everyone needs some sort of social media, online presence, whatever platform it is, they gotta be on there. So what if they started to highlight or just even share posts from the people that are using their products, even if they just searched the hashtag and started sharing the local people that are using their products in their feed. That is a start to making sure that people are using their brand are seen and the diversity of those that are using their products. That is one way to put, put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.
SHAUNA: So this goes to you need to have Brown people sitting in these rooms where these types of conversations are being made.
ANGEL: Prime example.
SHAUNA: So now I can’t drink your coffee, and that’s like, my bloodline. You know, like I am addicted to Starbucks coffee, but now I’ve either got to make my own coffee, or I’m going to go to Dunkin Donuts, or I’m going to go to Peet’s Coffee in the city, or I’m going to go to Compass Coffee in the city. There’s other options but Starbucks was my thing. And I can’t get with you now, because now you want to give us, what is this? A million dollars? Um, no. Sorry, it don’t work like that. You can’t speak against, and then get called out, and then want to shove pity money. That’s not how this works.
ANGEL: It really doesn’t because they’re the same company that shut down all of their operations to have this tolerance training when that one particular employee called the police on those Black people and got them thrown out of the Starbucks, and all of that. They made like they understood what was going on in our community. Well, what happened?
SHAUNA: Cause they didn’t
ANGEL: Right. We’re watching.
SHAUNA: I see you. That whole training thing? You can’t retrain a racist person. I’m sorry. That’s just what they are.
ANGEL: Right. And just show me who you are. Just show me like, you’re a racist. Great. I know what to do with you now.
JAIME: Is there anything that either of you could see happening within the next six months? We have an incredibly important election coming up. I know I heard you in a podcast earlier agree that you wish you could just have a do over of 2020, but don’t you want a new president?
SHAUNA: Yes. Voting is going to be 1000% different. The lines in some of these states that had voting the past couple of weeks, they have been astronomically long. And we are getting out to vote because Black people don’t vote because we feel like our vote don’t count. So we don’t do it. But now, I think now that we’re learning that people that are elected officials, whether it be the sheriff, whether it be your council person, whether it be your mayor for your city, or your whatever, people are learning that those positions make decisions.
ANGEL: They matter.
SHAUNA: Yeah, but what I’m also learning is that the mayors really don’t have a whole lot of say so, unless the governor says so, but I think it depends on what state you’re in that the mayor actually has weight in their decisions. Know voting is definitely going to be different and I’m here for it. It’s going to be a good different cause Black people are going to start voting more, as they should have been to begin with, but that’s a whole nother thing.
ANGEL: Well, I mean, isn’t that systemic too, right, if we think about it? There was a point where we couldn’t, right?
ANGEL: And so we had to fight for that. And then when we could, we were made to believe it didn’t matter, and your vote doesn’t count, and it’s not real, yada yada, yada.
ANGEL: And so now where we’re able to see that who you let in office matters greatly in terms of being able to either bring this country together or divide it. It matters. The president does matter, and your vote for who that person is does matter. And there are a lot of people in the last couple of elections have been like, well, we’re just voting for the lesser of two evils. Okay, but vote for the lesser of the two evils. Don’t vote for the evil, the master of all evilness, like, come on, people.
SHAUNA: Yes, yes, please pick the one that’s not as nuts.
JAIME: I love that.
ANGEL: Oh goodness gracious.
JAIME: Well, not participating in the process is not an option. I don’t understand at what point being political, or being politically aware or active, became some sort of dirty word.
ANGEL: I don’t understand it either. I don’t. And I think part of it though is people not being educated on, on what it really mean, lLike which offices do we actually put into office and how that person votes on things and, and actually getting into it cause it is a, you have to study it. You really do. Like, I’m an environmentalist and it matters to me. It’s not the only thing that matters, but it matters to me on how people vote on the programs that I work with, and the things that I promote in my business, and things like that. So it matters to me that those programs are funded and how the person I elect votes on things and signs bills. It matters. And if we don’t get educated on how those things matter and affect our community, then we’ll continue to think that our vote doesn’t count, or we have no control over things. When I saw the numbers of Blacks that don’t vote, I mean, it angers me. It actually angers me the numbers of Blacks that don’t vote.
ASHLEY: How do you bookend an episode like this? Like, what do you say to be like, okay, well, we, solved it?
SHAUNA: The fact that we’re having a conversation is important. So let’s end it with asking Angel and Jaime, how are you two really feeling after this conversation?
ANGEL: I just want to say thank you. Like it is important that this conversation be had, and we’re having it, and that’s really major in my opinion. Starting with the conversation, so thank you all for inviting us to your platform and your audience base.
ANGEL: And I can’t wait to share this when it’s up and running. I just appreciate you all.
JAIME: I wish I could say we’d be in person, and could be all together sometime soon, but then we’re going to have to find an excuse for Angel to come to a beauty show.
SHAUNA: I know, right?
ANGEL: I’m like Shauna’s biggest cheerleader, so it’s fine.
SHAUNA: Yes, she really is though, so I might have to sneak her in some type of way.
JAIME: If we can commit to continuing the conversation and engaging as we would with any of our other colleagues, I think that’s what it’s going to take because the knowledge that we have based on our experiences individually can benefit everyone.
ASHLEY: Well, thank you both. Thank you, Shauna. Thank you, Angel, for being here. And all I can really share is my heartfelt thanks to you both for the time, number one, for the emotional labor that it takes to explain how you’re feeling, and it’s definitely a conversation we’re going to continue.
ANGEL: Thank you.
SHAUNA: Thank you very much.
JAIME: Thank you so much. Ashley, this was enlightening, and it was the conversation that we needed to have, and have needed to have for quite some time.
ASHLEY: I’m so thankful to both Shauna and Angel for sharing their perspectives and helping us all understand how we can be better allies. So thank you again to both of them for their time. I’m definitely looking forward to part two.
JAIME: As am I.
ASHLEY: Please subscribe, rate, and review Outgrowth on your favorite podcast platform. It really helps us reach more listeners like you.
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ASHLEY: That is so fantastic. Thank you, Richael. As always, you can follow us and comment on recent episodes on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast.
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ASHLEY: For more information, show notes and other great resources, you can check out our brand new website, Outgrowthpodcast.com. Until next week.
JAIME: Be smart
ASHLEY: Be safe.
JAIME: Be an ally.
ASHLEY: Yes. Bye.