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Conversations with the Inspiring Raylene Crowder

Today we’d like to introduce you to Raylene Crowder.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Raylene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
When people ask me how long I have been doing curly hair, I say “My Whole Life.” I was raised in a Biracial household with two sisters. All three of us had a different curl pattern/hair texture from one another and at that time there wasn’t a wide variety of curl products on the market to cater to different curl types so my Mom did the best she could utilizing the same product for all three of us. So, what gave my baby sister beautiful bouncy moisturized curls gave my wavy hair nothing but a weighed down greasy mess, so I grew up hating my hair and not knowing how to properly care for it. By high school, I was dyeing and frying it literally but having dreams of one day becoming a successful hairdresser.

After high school, I had a deep desire to go to Cosmetology school but my parents didn’t support that. They were old school and believed if you don’t go to a traditional college you find a job that you can grow with and make money with that offers great benefits and you retire from that. It was their idea of adulthood and life. I worked at makeup counters hoping it would fulfill my wants of being in the beauty industry but it only intensified it. Three years after high school, I gave birth to my 1st child and now had no choice but to get a good job as my parents preached about.

I started working in the Medical Field and saw what my parents meant about great pay and great benefits working a Corporate job Monday-Friday 9-5 so I too started to fall in the mindset of “This is life.” I did continue to do hair and makeup on the side and each time I would do a side job, it would spark my desire and love for the beauty industry but I would quickly erase that thought out of my mind because “it was no longer a possibility for me only a dream and dreams won’t pay my bills.

In 2010, I gave birth to my 1st daughter. Here, I had this beautiful baby girl, my very own personal real-life dolly. At the age of six months old her silky straight hair started to sprout into beautiful coils; I started having flashbacks to my Mom’s struggles with our hair and I wanted better for my daughter. I started doing countless hours of research on proper curly hair care which eventually lead me to start thinking about enrolling in cosmetology school, I brushed off the idea for many months thinking “yeah right, that would be impossible” but for whatever reason, every time I drove by the local cosmetology school and seen all the students there, I yearned to be part of their environment.

One day, I finally made up my mind and went on a campus tour and I was SOLD. From the moment I stepped through those doors, my soul was ignited more than ever and I knew without a doubt I was supposed to be there. Without hesitation, I enrolled that same day without a second thought. I didn’t know how I was going to work full-time, go to school Monday- Friday from 5:30-10:30 pm all while being a Mom of two for 18 whole months, but I was determined to do it and that I did.

While in Cosmo school, I had many days full of tears where I wanted to quit and go back to my regular life (especially towards the end), why was I even there in the 1st place when I already have a career established??? Then, I would remind myself I was made for it and continue on because there was a light at the end of the tunnel. During my time there, I have seen the lack of education provided around curly/natural hair. No wonder so many people didn’t embrace or know how to care for their hair. There was no education for it then and if there was it was all about altering the natural curl pattern instead of embracing and enhancing it.

For me, this has been a 5-year process to even be able to be in the position to start chasing my dreams and putting my visions into motion. Straight out of cosmetology school, I didn’t have the luxury to quit my 9-5 corporate job and focus on my craft. I had two babies to feed and now a school loan to pay back. After 11 plus years in the Medical field, I was at a crossroads and was burnt out. At that time, I had gotten pregnant with my 3rd and final child. Since I knew she was going to be my last baby, I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible. I would express to my Mom who was also my coworker my desires, visions, and life goals. My Mom told me to pursue my dreams. It shocked me especially coming from the very person who felt like doing hair and makeup for a living wasn’t “a real job.” I finally had my Mom’s blessing and made up my mind that when I had my baby I’d leave corporate America and start the career of my dreams and life would be PERFECT.

Boy, did I have it all wrong! When I was seven months pregnant with my 3rd baby, my Mom unexpectedly and suddenly passed away with no signs or warning. I spiraled out of control and just wanted to give up on life altogether. All of those big dreams I had no longer existed. What was the point of life? why dream and chase dream if we are all going to die anyway?

I wanted to give up and lacked motivation, it was like that for an entire year after the passing of my Mom. Then, one day, something in me told me “it was time to get back to it.” I got a job at a local salon that was quite the hot spot at the time and that is where I started to pursue my passion of becoming a curl specialist.

I love meeting women from all walks of life and backgrounds and hear their stories of growing up curly, exchanging tips and tricks with each other (because the more knowledge and tools you have in your toolbox the better) and giving each of them a little sliver of confidence back after they receive a curly cut, I am not only teaching women how to love and embrace their curls but both of my daughters as well!!!! And most importantly, myself! What a beautiful journey it has been and I am excited to see where it goes because Sky’s the limit. Curly Girls ROCK.

Has it been a smooth road?
Nothing in life is ever easy or smooth sailing, You will have MOMENTS of ease and smooth sailing but in order to savor those moments, you must work hard and realize there will always be bumps in the road no matter how much of a plan you THINK you may have. Ever hear that saying “Anything worth having won’t be easy” it’s so true. You must realize nothing happens overnight and it is best to set small goals within your reach to achieve, it’ll start to create the pathway for a BIGGER VISION and goals you used to feel were out of your reach that’ll now be within your grasp because you laid the foundation to build upon. Never give up, giving up is easy… following something all the way through and dedicating yourself is hard work but so rewarding! You never want to live your life with the would’ve, could’ve and should’ve guilt that quitting brings. If you make a life decision, dedicate yourself to it, stick it out and follow through. You’d be surprised at how people will admire and respect you for doing what they are scared to do, I once have seen a quote that is forever etched in my brain and it goes like this “The distance between dreams and success is action.”

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Bossin Beauties story. Tell us more about it.
I am a curl specialist meaning I live, breathe, speak and dream curly hair. I love all hair but curls are my thing!!! I specialize in the care, treatment, and cutting of wavy/curly hair based on their hair type and curl pattern.

I am currently a level 1 Deva-inspired stylist with the goal of making it to level 3 (mastery).

I am known for my Devacuts when a curly client sits in my chair the conversation goes much deeper than a haircut. I want to know it all! What has your experience been as a curly girl? Have you always embraced your natural hair? What struggles do you face as a curly girl? Do you come from a long line of curly girls? what are your hair goals? etc… it’s a connection we form. Being a wavy/curly girl isn’t as easy as it may seem and I want each one of my clients knows that I too know 1st hand how challenging it can be.

Bossin Beauties is more than a brand it’s a feeling, a swagger. It’s the way a client looks at themselves in the mirror after I take the time to clip each individual curl perfectly and allow them to fall into place. I believe in the empowerment of all women and especially young girls. I am proud of the fact that Bossin Beauties caters to the hair needs of all regardless of ethnicity or background. It is extremely important to teach young girls/women self-love and acceptance. I am proud of the fact that I am able to help contribute to the embracement of their God-given crowns (aka curls). Being a curly girl is a lifestyle, not a fad.

What sets Bossin Beauties apart from the rest is the passion and excitement that flows from my words when the topic of curls comes up. It’s the time I spend with each and every single person who sits in my chair. It’s the questions I ask before I cut their hair to get a deeper understanding of what it is they are wanting to achieve. It’s the way I take all of their concerns into consideration and reassure their fears by letting them know that they are safe with me. My goal is to teach my clients if they leave my chair loving their hair and have learned something new during their visit whether it be a new technique or product I feel like I have done my job.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My Mother, my Nana, and my daughters have inspired me thus far…

My Mother, for leading by example with her work ethic, her strength, and resilience. For never letting me quit anything I started and for always being my cheerleader even when she didn’t always agree with my life choices. She faced many trials and tribulations during her life but never succumbed to them. She was the strongest woman I knew, the definition of a survivor all while keeping a smile on her face to hide her internal battles to make sure we never worried. She went without to make sure we always had. She always told me to “Bloom where I am planted” and that I shall do. My Mom had a great heart and would give you the shirt off her back. She has instilled greatness, love, ambition, strength, and determination within me for that I am forever grateful.

My Nana for always believing in me and never judging me and always being my shoulder to lean on as well as my voice of reason. She too has always lead by example with her work ethic. She came from the era of women who didn’t have many opportunities to pursue their passions and chase their dreams all they knew was being a wife and mother. She has ALWAYS been by my side and it is such a great feeling to have her by my side and witness the woman I am becoming. She inspires me to keep going even when the going gets tough. She has the purest and most loving heart a human can have. She is the definition of unconditional love and strength.

My daughters both inspire me to grind harder because there is nothing more motivating to see two small versions of yourself that exude innocence and are extremely impressionable that depend on you for everything and mimic what they see. I want them to know that sky’s the limit, nothing is impossible but it will require hard work and patience. I want them to grow up and be proud that I am their Mom.

Contact Info:

                                      Image Credit:
Bossin Beauties

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