We had the good fortune of connecting with Taneisha Wilks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Taneisha, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My fascination for hair started at the age of 10. Growing up, I would watch my mother, who got her cosmetology license at the age of 21, put smiles on her clients face as they left her chair. This was so inspiring as a young child. Knowing that one day that could be me. As I got older, that passion for doing hair slowly faded. It transitioned to wanting a job in more trending career fields, such as Accounting and Information Technology.
Undecided on my future, I joined the military after graduating high school. In 2017- 2018, at the age of 20, I did a tour in Kuwait and Afghanistan. While deployed I began to realize how limited resources were when it came to doing my hair and going to a salon. It was there when I began to wear and make wigs. Upon returning home I remained a part-time soldier. It was not until 2019 when I began to fulfill my dreams in the beauty industry.
I started my first business, 2T’s Custom Units LLC, making custom wigs by sewing machine. It started off as a hobby that I enjoyed doing in my free time for extra money. For some time that was just my secondary source of income, meanwhile my primary job was in the Information Technology field.
At the age of 23, with only 12 credits left to graduate with my B.S. in Information Systems and Cybersecurity, I decided to take an enormous step towards carrying out my purpose in life. I realized that my business made an impact on people’s lives bigger than I could have imagined. Mothers who did not have time to sit in a salon could buy a custom unit and still manage to get that new look, salon experience. I also encountered customers who suffered health conditions that prevents them from wearing certain hairstyles, such as alopecia and cancers, who found beauty again by wearing my custom units. Amid a global pandemic, my business was making a difference. Shortly after, making custom units became my main source of income.
Today I have two business, 2T’s Custom Units LLC and 2Ts CosmoFinery, that concur with cosmetology and professionals in the beauty industry. I am enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Paul Mitchell the School Huntsville. I have overcome poverty, depression, and financial burdens to get to where I am today.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I truly believe that I was put on the Earth to bring people joy. I do that by making them feel beautiful on the outside. When you feel beautiful on the outside, your actions and feelings on the inside reflect it. Your confidence grows and you have a boost in self-esteem. There is nothing in this world that could bring me more satisfaction than spreading felicity to the people who trust my professional opinion. Hence, why I use the term Future Professional. When I finally become a licensed cosmetologist, I can employ other individuals who share the same values. Furthermore, I want the world to know that the story behind my brand is “Happy hair, happy life.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a person who loves food and nature. For someone visiting Huntsville, AL on the weekend, I would recommend visiting Monte Sano State Park. It is truly a beautiful site that has impeccable views of the city. My new favorite breakfast/ brunch spot, Superhero Chefs, is sure to awaken both your tastebuds and inner child. Salt Factory Pub, also located in the MidCity area, is a great place to watch a game or grab a small bite with a friend or two. If you’re into something more adventurous and family-friendly, there’s rock climbing, Top Golf, Main Event, Star and Strikes, and more.
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?
I have an amazing support team that keeps me motivated and inspired to continue pursuing my dreams, to include my sister and mom. I would also like to shoutout my mentor and a Paul Mitchell alumni student, Tiece King, who has inspired me in so many ways.