This month, we had the opportunity to chat with Vanessa. She describes herself as “the result of a cultural mix that has enriched her existence.” Vanessa is of Congolese origin but she was born and raised in Belgium. This double culture has set the tone for her entire life.
A few years ago, Vanessa started to question the model of beauty that had been presented to her since childhood. She always straightened her hair thinking it was the beauty standard. 5 years ago, however, she discovered that there were different types of hair and all these textures were beautiful. Unfortunately, there were no product in the industry that met her hair needs; so she decided to create it. This is how “Happy to be natural” was born. Her company provides a range of natural moisturizing treatments specially designed for black / mixed skin and curly / mixed hair.
The following is what Vanessa shared with us to realize our ideas …
One thing is sure and certain “to be a Christian is not an obstacle” to launch one’s project. On the contrary, it is an opportunity because peace accompanies us throughout the whole process. It is true that starting a new project can become stressful and we can quickly give up, but we, as Christian women we can live this adventure in lightness and marvel at each step, because God is by our side.
It is important to break away from the thought that “being a black and Christian woman is an obstacle.” It is essential to renew your thoughts through word of God, when you start entrepreneurship. It has never been a problem for me to be a black woman because I know my identity and my identity does not depend on what the world says about me. My identity has been renewed in Jesus Christ. As a result, I think with the values of the Kingdom of God. It’s a grace to be a black woman but I am also much more than the color of my skin.
Now that you know that, you must grasp an essential key which is “to be intentional”. I will come back to this Some time ago I found myself in a season of my life where I had a lot of free time. Before that, I was always busy with work, humanitarian travel, leisure.During this period of calm, I felt useless. Still during this season, two seemingly disconnected elements became the engine “Happy to be natural” creation.
Indeed, I began to take more time to pray and to take care of people. At the same time, I learned to take care of myself.
Unlike my sisters, I thought that I did not have beautiful hair because it was too fine, not kinky enough … I could not find anything on the market that allowed me to take care of my hair. Consequently, I started making my own products. Also, while I was complaining to my mom that my hair was not beautiful, I felt that the Holy Spirit was saddened by my thoughts. So, I said to him: “I don’t want to be sad, so help me love and take care of my hair.”
After this short prayer I redid my formulas and they answered perfectly the need for hydration of the curly hair. Everyone pointed out to me that the texture of my hair had changed and asked me what I was using as a treatment. Then, I started offering my products on birthdays, and one day my neighbor asked me this question: “Why don’t you sell your products? “.
This question was not trivial, because it answered a prayer that I had addressed to God. This prayer was as follows: “God I want to serve you but I don’t want my ministry to depend on the gifts of men or a church”.I knew it was the green light from God, so I took this opportunity to get started. In this journey, I had to take stock of my skills. It is very important when launching a project to know what skills are needed and which are missing. From that moment, I took the time to train, I looked for tools to develop my project, I attended networking events that brought together project leaders and entrepreneurs. It was through attending these events that I learned this key component of the process: ” to be intentional”.
There are two sure facts:
1) We are not professionally trained and we need knowledge carry out our project2) Our lack of competence is not an obstacle and should not discourage us. It is with respect to these two points that one must be intentional, be active and do not wait for God to do things for you; meet other entrepreneurs, seek training, external skills, etc. “What is possible God will let us do it, what is impossible he will do it.”
When you have understood this, you need the second key, which is to be intentional with God. It is even more important than the first key. From the moment you have the idea until it becomes a business, you will have to include God in each step. Because this will allow you to discern the actions that you should take at each stage of the process. You will also know where, when, how and what to invest in. This attitude will allow you to manifest Christ wherever you go. You should know that the project does not belong to us, it belongs to Christ because he alone knew that this project had to be born to meet a particular need. It’s an opportunity to manifest Christ and share His message, His values.
In today’s environment, it’s easy to envy people’s success or stop supporting other entrepreneurs because they don’t support us. But I could experience the power of love given without waiting in return. Do not allow yourself to be overcome by jealousy, do not waste time envying others but on the contrary support and sow and you will harvest twice as much. Another piece of advice that I can give is to trust God even if in certain situations his directives do not seem logical, because that is how He will save you from bad partnerships, bad expenses, etc. The time of God is not ours and this also applies in your business. God accelerated time when I thought I was not ready, but he also taught me to be patient.
Finally, one should not be limited to a single project. Indeed, God has not given more than one talent. He made us with many skills, many talents and we are never too old, or too young. It is never too late to use your talents!
Vanessa & Grâce B.