We had the good fortune of connecting with Charmaine Griffin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charmaine, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Balance, what’s that? I work full-time while running my business on the side… in the beginning, I was a hot mess. I was often overwhelmed by all the tasks I needed to complete while at the same time not effectively getting things done. Fortunately having a business coach helped me learn a few tips for efficient time management, like calendar blocking and saying no.
I’ve learned that balance isn’t about everything working perfectly via some magical schedule I’ve made up. Balance isn’t realistic for me. What’s realistic for me is accepting that some days will be a dumpster fire and others will offer complete and total ease. On the days that feel easeful, especially when my energy is high, I can get a lot done. I maximize those days because I know mental health, my period, or some other force of nature will come to destroy the zen garden of productivity that I’ve created. Which is okay.
The one thing that hasn’t shifted is self-care. I HAVE to prioritize self-care and my mental health. It’s non-negotiable. Since I’ve made it a non-negotiable, it’s how I start my day and end my day. Some days are better than others but no matter what taking care of myself comes before work. Then I block out time to get sh*t has done. There are late nights and then there are nights where I don’t need to think about work. Depends on the day of the week.
So balance doesn’t exist for me. It’s more about prioritizing and going with the flow of what each day brings.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I have a natural hair business, Kollective Koils. The term natural hair was coined years ago as a movement for Black women – focused on embracing our hair textures without the use of harsh chemical straighteners. But it’s more than hair, it’s about breaking down eurocentric beauty standards and reclaiming our sense of worth. It has since branched out to all women who want to embrace their curls. When I went natural in 2013, I was the first of my friends to “big chop,” meaning I cut off all my chemically straightened hair and embraced my kinky koils! But I ran into one issue: I didn’t see any influencers with my hair texture.
So, I decided to create an Instagram page that would highlight Black influencers with beautiful kinks, koils and kurls. What started as a hobby eventually turned into a business. We now carry vegan hair oils, hair tools and hair education to help our #koilfriends take care of their hair.
I’m a former teacher, so I’m really big on educating and not just selling a product. This is what sets us apart. I go live on Sunday to host an “ask me anything” where I answer questions about natural hair. It’s amazing how many brands are selling products but not really educating customers on how to take care of their hair. Kollective Koils is all about helping people reach their hair goals. Whether your goal is more moisture or healthier strands, we’ve got you!
YES… huge yes! I mean how big can I write yes? It was hard af to start my business. I spent years mulling over ideas. I also had decision paralysis and I didn’t feel confident enough to just start. Honestly, the hardest part of having a new business is starting. It’s easy to compare yourself to others, but if you don’t start, no one will ever know who you are anyway. There’s space for everyone to have a seat at the table… but that’s something I learned along the way.
It was also hard because I work full-time. My safety net is my full-time job. I don’t depend on family or friends for financial support, so I lean into my full-time income and advice from other business owners to fund my business. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that having a business is about failing. It’s not about always succeeding or out the gate having this huge brand launch. It’s actually through failure that you learn and eventually become a huge success. Don’t be afraid of failure.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There’s so much to do in Los Angeles it can feel pretty overwhelming, lol. If I had time to hang out with one of my friends who isn’t from LA we’d definitely grab tacos from Leo’s taco truck, then head to Venice beach to chill, walk around and shop. Downtown LA is also full of great foodie favorites, so we’d definitely go there to grab food before getting drinks at a rooftop spot like Perch or Broken Shaker. Hiking for sure… since that’s a very LA thing to do. Either at the famous Culver City Stairs or Runyon Canyon. And of course, we’d have to take a trip south to Long Beach because there are tons of good foodie spots there, less crowded beach vibes, and it’s a really fun place to bike ride or roller skate.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My best friends. They are my rock. When I wanted to give up (so many times) on my career as a copywriter or when I was in the thick of starting my business, they were there. They lovingly told me “you got this” coupled with some “girl if you don’t get your ish together. People need you!” Without them, I would’ve given up on myself a long time ago. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re one of the first in your family to pursue your dreams. I tell them a lot but I don’t tell the world how amazing they are – mainly because I’m super protective and don’t share enough – but yea, they are my whole heart.
Also shoutout to my therapist and my business/life coach. Both of them kicked me in the butt last year (in a good way) and helped me unlock parts of myself that I didn’t know existed. I’m a beast now, but I always was, they simply showed me a mirror.