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Meet Jazmyne Bellinger of Braid Made

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jazmyne Bellinger.  

Hi Jazmyne, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I first got an eye for braiding in my adolescent days going with my mom to her hair appointments where she’d get micro braids & if anyone knows those take hours. I was never the kid that gave my mom trouble in the salon because I was too intrigued with the braiding process and wanted to watch the braider’s hands move so fast. Because my mom always maintained my hair, I was so infatuated with it. She kept me braided, but at times, she wouldn’t finish the middle which was so frustrating so I promised myself to learn so that I could finish it. Once I got to middle school that’s when I actually started doing my own hair trying different styles, learning my hair, enjoying the different transitions my natural hair could make, and figuring out what products work and don’t work as a normal preteen would, developing a sense of self and confidence. I was my own model unknowingly. It wasn’t until high school that I’d start braiding friends and family’s hair in individuals or box braids. I’d do it anywhere I could, a friend’s house, my house, at school, in class, in the library wherever I can get my hands on their head at. I’d watch YouTube videos here and there, but for the most part, I took initiative to teach myself how to braid. I learned that I was a visual learner. Although I never made the time to finish what is started, it was a hobby to me & I found that I was patient enough, I enjoyed it and I was determined to learn and become a beast. It was very inconsistent, my mindset at the time wasn’t to run a business, but Id took pictures of my work here and there; I finally got my first full head in, it took me all day but I got the job done & I learned I needed a strategy. Although I didn’t have the clientele or portfolio, I had passion to want to learn, and perfect my craft, heck I faked it till I made it. I knew where my skill level was and I was honest with everyone that allowed me in their hair but I wasn’t taking braiding as serious. I wasn’t really focused on that I just wanted to do what teenagers did. Eventually, I transferred schools where I met my lifelong best friend, I got my first job at McDonald’s and went on to graduate from Mt Miguel HS. I was accepted into San Jose State University & San Marcos State University but I didn’t know any better at the time so I decided to just work as I transitioned into adulthood. I started experiencing real-life family issues, relationship issues, homelessness, and losing job after job realizing that working for someone and on their time wasn’t for me, before I end up pregnant with my first child and that’s when life really started. I stayed with my mom for the first year after having my daughter so she could help me & my daughter’s father out and, in that time, I slowly started to get into hair again but I also started doing nails. I began investing into my crafting practicing on a few family members and friends while still working my 9 to 5 to provide. During that time, I went through the biggest changes in my life that plant the seed for today and it took a major toll on me mentally physically, and emotionally that I just was not ready for but I knew I had someone watching me and I couldn’t give up. I couldn’t fathom the thought of not being able to provide for my daughter so I had to boss up and get in position to take care of my daughter. Eventually, I moved out into my own place working part-time but I knew it just wasn’t enough obviously. Because I sat back for some time watching other start a business and watching them progress, One day I just got back to braiding, watched a few YouTube videos, and at the time knotless braids were trending so I did my little bit of research got some starter products started taking models, and utilized social media to expose what I can do. In the midst of it all I was still dealing with personal issues every day and eventually dealing with postpartum depression, I wasn’t myself. Every day I woke up in a poor state of mind not even realizing that I was dealing with postpartum depression so every day was a struggle but I did not stop, if anything I used braiding as an escape to keep me busy from feeling & dealing. I prayed every day and kept myself busy just so I wouldn’t feel or think about my problems I wanted to escape my everyday problems and went on to become a full-time braider & braiding became my lifestyle. That’s when I knew it was becoming some serious business. I still wanted to go to school but I put it off. I went from offering whatever I could do to specializing in knotless braids feedins and ponytails and offering just that. I was confident God would provide the clientele for me never worried about business slowing down instead I perfected my craft and gained so much clientele and exposure off of knotless braids I became a beast at them. The desire to want to fight through everyday struggles got me to where I am now. I spent every day building on my business little by little, although it took me away from my family, they understood what I was trying to accomplish. Watching things come together little by little and the positive effect that I had on others drew me in more. It made me want to give more! I gave blood sweat and tears to establishing a brand that I want to put out into the public, it has all been a journey and still is! The good the bad and the ugly, it has helped build character and strength to carry what life has dealt me. I went through many uncomfortable situations where I was put in a position to constantly choose my battles and learn from them, pride myself and respect myself enough to do what’s best at the time being. But time after time, I ran into the same problems wondering why, just caught up in the emotion not realizing that everything has been a test to teach me and build my character. That “WHY” Turned into what is this trying to teach me. I was forced to face many deep rooted problems; I had to let go of a lot of things that meant me no good in order for me to grow. The person I was becoming after going through these uncomfortable situations, I just did not like her and did not want to be that person. It took a lot of unlearning a bad habit in order to make room for the new. I also had to learn to forgive myself every day along with others allowing me to see life in a different light all the time I just begin to change my mind to be more positive and speak over myself find a guy would allow me to see myself the way he sees me. So I took some classes, networked, took braiding courses, and eventually register my business as an LLC. Now that things are more stable, I wanted to further my career & education so I enrolled into cosmetology school What everything is constantly changing and a learning experience with every interaction. Here I am today running a small business, going to school, and parenting. It’s not easy, it’s very tiring, but with the support of my man and my daughter & anything seems possible. I encourage you to do it to!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Absolutely not, but I can say it was & is worth it! Once I graduated high school, I wanted to get my license in cosmetology but I got a taste of freedom and took that route and I was chasing after the money, that’s all I knew. I had numerous jobs & even lost jobs because I had no control. Once I became a mother my world changed drastically and I was still learning who I was and learning how to be an adult. Going from being homeless for so long to a stable environment was a big adjustment for me. I was still dealing with the personal issues every day, I felt like I lost myself I didn’t know who I was, all I wanted to do was escape my everyday, escape the mindset I had at the time because it was draining & I still had to care for my daughter where eventually I was watching her every day and still doing hair. Can you imagine the stress that was on me? Juggling business, taking care of home, parenting, and a relationship, I didn’t realize I was dealing with postpartum depression so every day was a fight with my mental. For a short, while I went to see a therapist when he made me realize that I was in a season of depression and since that day on, I made a choice that I will no longer be depressed that doesn’t even sound right, Jazmyne depressed, please. I wanted to get back to the old me that was happy and carefree but I knew there was no way that I would be the old me, but that I could show up every day at my highest self. People counted me out, people acted funny with me even the ones that I looked up to but it only motivated me more to go and get it myself. I realized that no one could do it for me but me. I went from working eight hours a day to working 24 hours a day figuring everything out on my own. I had been offering any style that I knew I could do even if I hadn’t done it before which became stressful because I was still trying to perfect my craft. I couldn’t do everything so I narrowed my menu down that way I could focus on one or two styles and perfect my craft from there. I had a small supportive circle and every day I prayed & over time things became clearer & more peaceful by the day. It took some years to shake and make room for the new, but I did not stop pursuing my dreams, I persevered in the midst of it all & stayed prayed up. I had to find myself all over again, learn myself all over again, love myself, and learn to respect myself. I had to give myself grace moving forward & keep myself encouraged because who else will! I became more focused on the vision investing more and eventually, I got my LLC. I knew I had to get my license & education to fulfill the role & even educate my clients so that they knew I know what I’m doing, but I had to find the time to. Just being able to meet new faces every day and not knowing what the other person goes through was a whole motivation to my soul, they even encouraged me to go to school. We all have struggles, but it could have been way worse & I’m thankful. I could always give advice or encourage others but never for myself. From fresh experience & despising the feelings that came with the struggle, I felt I was able to pour into others. I’ve always been the type of person to clap for others & if you were doing better than me it only motivates me to want to level up myself. Seeing other women go through similar struggles whether it’s mental, emotional or physical abuse, it made me feel great about a woman’s position in this world.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Braid Made is A brand that empowers and inspires others but women specifically to embrace the struggle because that’s what builds character and makes you you! You are fearfully and wonderfully made to do anything that you focus on. The struggles don’t define your outcome so give yourself Grace every day, but why not look good doing it. I wanted to get my license way back when & could have easily beat myself up about it but I accepted the timing of everything. Don’t ignore the motions go through them and get through because everything is a lesson, everything happens for a reason and everything happens in the time that it’s supposed to. Take your time, this is your marathon it’s not a race. Do what works for you, but also what’s going to solve the problem for others. I always encourage others to become their own boss. It’s not easy it’s not for everyone & it’s nothing against those that work 9-5 but when you know what you want & see a positive greater outcome within it & can see the effect it has on those around you, pursue it! Nothing is impossible. Someone out there somewhere is willing & ready to support a complete stranger! I am a self-taught braider that specializes in braiding, knotless braids, feed ins & ponytails & am known for my precise clean knotless braids. I customize my braids to fit the client’s needs whilst receiving longevity within style & promoting healthy hair growth through braid styles. I am very passionate & precise with my work, I let my work speak for itself but also like to educate my clients on proper hair care for braids. I offer a calm settled environment, hospitality, & convenience of privacy. Braiding hair is included with all services making it more convenient & easier for clients & myself. I am proud of the whole brand in general. I am the brand of my business. The name is based solely on the fact that I was made to braid, I was made to help others as we all are. I was sketchy about the name, but I grew to love & embrace it. I am currently a servicewoman, work from home & in school for my license to specialize in hair care & hair loss.

What was you like growing up?
As a child, I was very creative and used my imagination a lot. I was into fashion but I want to try a little bit of everything. Playing with relatives and siblings, I wanted to be the teacher, the fashion designer, lawyer, and realtor but mainly the boss. Not once did I think to become a hairstylist, I kid you not. I knew I wanted to be something great, run a business and make money. I was the daughter that took initiative like when it came to getting dressed for school my mom would allow me to dress myself or if I wanted to do my sister’s hair my mom would make them let me do their hair. I wasn’t the perfect kid and I gave my mom a run for her money at times but I knew I had a calling over my life. I had anger problems and attitude problems but I was very sweet I was very loving I was a mama’s girl I have my family’s back no matter what I feel like I was a black sheep of the family. I was very bubbly, energetic, down to earth, ready to try new things, open-minded, and optimistic and I pretty much spoke my mind. I was a girly girl, I liked to keep my hair done and wear dresses. I got good grades in school I was very athletic & family oriented. My mom pretty much worked full-time and was an independent hustler so I pretty much got some of my qualities from my mother. Thanks, mom.

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