Lessons in Level-Up: Mahisha Dellinger, Founder and CEO of CURLS

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If you’re flipping through your favorite magazine or scrolling through social media, you can’t miss the ample reminders that #BlackGirlMagic is alive, well, and thriving! Can we get an Amen on that?

Often times we get inspired by the dope things other people are doing and it can cause us to miss the lessons and the blessings of others. “There are lessons in the level ups and eff ups of others who we know and don’t know,” is one of my favorites sayings. In this brand-spanking-new series, I’ll introduce you to a round of inspiring women in various fields to help you get your level-up on in your own life and career.

First up is #GirlBoss Mahisha Dellinger, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of CURLS, a natural hair care brand founded in 2002. Her covetable products grace the aisles of beauty supply stores, Target, Walmart, and Amazon.

Dellinger’s products are also periodically found in CurlBOX, a monthly beauty subscription service for girls with natural hair, founded by Myleik Teele (you can read about Teele and other self-made bosses here.)

In a 2016 New York Times interview, the beauty maven gave insight into how she established the desire to command exactly how her life would flow:

“I reached a point where I decided I’m never going to work for anyone else again. I’m going to own my destiny, and I’m going to determine how far I can go,” she told the paper.

Now that’s fierce determination! She hit the switch on her online home in April 2002 and kicked off her beauty empire with just eight orders, she explained in the column. “It was the best thing ever, that first day.”

Her dope Instagram feed is packed with loads of inspiration, “real talk” and a behind-the-scenes access view of her businesses (CURLS and CURLS Girls Rule the World, a non-profit organization).

Getting on the shelves in Target and inspiring girls to love their natural manes eventually yielded a partnership with OWN to produce “Mind Your Business with Mahisha,” a new unscripted series, premiering Saturday, Aug. 11 at 10 P.M.

This creator keeps it uber real. She’s like that OG Auntie who comes to the house looking fly only to snatch your life into formation and then leave the function.

Now that we know all about the brains behind the brand, here are some quick lessons I learned from just watching.

Don’t be afraid of the market

These days it can seem like everyone is a CEO and the saturation in the market of companies like yours can be a bit discouraging. For Dellinger, even back in 2002, she knew there were products out there that fixed the same problem, but she jumped anyway. Here’s the lesson: Just jump. There is always room for you to enhance the market and take it to another level.

Your voice will always speak for you

There are countless articles offering instruction on how to shift your personal brand to fit the space you want to be in. Dellinger proved that if you stay true to yourself, your voice will move you into places beyond thoughts. You don’t have to fluff who you are to fit in!

More tribe, less network

We often hear that your network determines your net-worth. While this is true, the essence of networking is about being authentic. The term networking has become more of a forced one-sided relationship vs about building a connection. This shows through her tribe-ships with the likes of Myleik Teele, Kahlana Barfield Brown and more.

Higher level, stronger foundation

Whether you happen to be going out for a raise or trying to raise capital, when you go higher in your journey you have to strengthen your foundation. With each product placement, company enhancement, or staff hire, she has consistently remained herself. Often times when we go to that next step, we have to pull from former seasons to execute that new thing. The job loss or demotion can be the blueprint for an even better role. The investor might fall through, but you gain perspective on how to develop your pitch deck even more. Each “devil” builds you up for the next level.

Check out the OG Auntie realness on “Mind Your Business with Mahisha” premiering on OWN Saturday, August 11th! Will you be tuning in?

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