We had the good fortune of connecting with Selam Simone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Selam, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Honestly before I moved to Maryland from Philadelphia, becoming a braider was never a thought in my mind. I always enjoyed doing hair, as I was the other braider in the family besides my mother. I would always try to do my mom’s hair, or other people in the family. But surprisingly, I didn’t want to pursue it. It was only because I dreamed of becoming a singer at the time, but I was also very young. I’m 16, still young, but a small experience changed my passion and future. When I was about 12, I started doing my own hair out of curiosity and also because I believed the hairstyles my mother was doing on me were childish ( sorry mom). After my first time I just kept up with it, and was always trying new styles on me such as box braids and cornrows. Then when I started my freshman year of highschool in Maryland, a girl came up to me and told me she liked my hair. She then proceeded to ask who did it, and was shocked when I responded “me”. It was the first time someone complimented my hair, and asked if I could do hers. I charged her only $50 to do her hair, but it wasn’t for the money, it was something I genuinely wanted to do. When I finished her hair, I realized how I loved to see the outcome of MY work and seeing other beautiful black girls feel confident in their skin. It only took me one time to realize what I wanted to do, and from there my business HairBySelam came along.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
When people think of a braider, they think of a person who just does it for the money. This can be true in most cases, but when it comes to me its a PASSION and form of art. Just imagine someone sitting in your chair with a blank canvas, trusting you with their hair and the style they want. When it comes to my clients, I always make sure to exceed their expectations. I always try my best to do exactly what they asked for, and even better at that. I’m a perfectionist, so I take my time with braiding because I know the outcome will be great. I would also say what sets me apart from others is that I’m personable. I love meeting new people and having conversations where I could gain knowledge. You never know who you meet, so I always do my best to make sure my clients are comfortable with being around my energy.
A lot of people have crazy stories on how they came up as an entrepreneur, but honestly my story is pretty simple and isn’t done being written. I just kept pushing myself and did whatever I could to perfect my craft, and the more I got better the more clientele I received. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds: I broke down a lot, was contemplating on quitting, and just wanted to throw everything I worked so hard for. But I didn’t allow those negative thoughts to get to me, I just had faith in myself and the people around me did too.
What I want the world to know about HairbySelam is that my goal as a braider is to make all the Beautiful Black girls feel more beautiful and confident in their skin. We all know that as soon as we get our hair done, we automatically feel better as a whole. I love seeing the looks on my client faces, and that’s what keeps me going.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my family, who have constantly supported me through my journey. Thank you for all the love and pushing me to follow my dreams.
I also want to dedicate this to my Mom, who taught me how to braid and sparkled my love and creativity for braiding.
Lastly, I want to dedicate this to my Grandmother, Carol Hemingway. thank you for always being my inspiration and role model. You built me into who I am today, and you will always hold a place in my heart. Rest in peace.