It’s another glorious Friday! And it’s time for us to highlight more amazing black fempreneurs! In Where You Should Be Spending Your Money, we showcase the various businesses available in our community that you can support to inspire you to cycle your very important and all-powerful dollar amongst people that look like you and have YOU in mind. Today, we feature Miss Natural Nation.
IHTG: Tell us a little about yourself (hometown, family life, etc.).
I’m originally from Atlanta GA. My father was a truck driving so we moved around a little. First to Jacksonville FL and later to Charlotte NC. I went to the University of North Carolina Charlotte and studied abroad in Ghana, Togo, and Benin. When I graduated I moved back to Atlanta and started my first pageant “Little Miss Natural”.
IHTG: What motivated you to start this business?
When I first went to Africa I noticed that the same issues with an identity that women of color have in the States are the same on the continent. There were a lot of billboards and ads for skin lightening cream and wigs.
Also after I had my daughter Ariel, I wanted her to participate in something that celebrated natural hair. Since I couldn’t find anything I decided to create something myself.
IHTG: Tell us about your business (what product or service do you offer, your typical customer, etc.).
I am the creator and owner of the Miss Natural Nation Co. which now hosts a series of natural hair pageants, fashion shows and events in Atlanta and other cities. My shows are for black women and girls of all shapes, sizes, and ages.
Here are all the show titles:
Little Miss Natural (Ages 3-16)
Miss Natural Beauty (Ages 17-25)
Miss Natural Diva (Plus Sizes Ages 18 & Up)
Miss Black Don’t Crack (Ages 30 & Up)
Mommy & Me Natural Beauty Pageant (Moms and Youth Ages 17 & Under)
Natural Royale Fashion Showcase
Natural Royale Fashion Showcase-Kids
I also do empowerment workshops and seminars for young girls.
IHTG: How does your business give back to the community?
A lot of the women and girls in my events are able to extend the work that they are doing in the community through exposure to Miss Natural Nation. Through our events, we have given several women and girls a sense of empowerment, purpose, and inspiration. We have had women submit photos of a different person because they truly thought they were not good enough. Grown women who have suffered from low self-esteem their entire lives have changed into loving themselves…all of themselves.
Young ladies in college who have experienced bullying, molestation, self-doubt, and more have used Miss Natural Nation as an outlet to let their stories be heard and become a victor after years of being a victim of their experiences.
A lot of Black women have gotten to a place of accepting who they are, building themselves up and feeling like they are enough. But I don’t think its enough to merely feel like we are enough. We must know for a fact that we are everything.
“I don’t think its enough to merely feel like we are enough. We must know for a fact that we are everything.” – Aza Shukura
IHTG: What advice would you give to someone considering starting a business?
My advice to someone trying to start a business would be “proper planning will help you prosper”. Most people have bumps in the road when they first start. But always plan as best as you can.
Also, listen to yourself and know what your goals are and stick to them no matter what anyone says. A lot of people try to tell you that you can’t do something simply because they are not doing anything in their lives. Don’t let the shadows dim your sun.
IHTG: What is the best advice you’ve received since starting your business?
“Listen to yourself” has been the best advice I was given. I have always had big dreams and I had always listened when family and friends have told me that my vision wasn’t feasible. That it was something that could not be accomplished. When you have never known someone close to you to do something amazing it seems ridiculous for someone to try. It is never too late to try to do something wonderful with your life. Remember that most people that have done extraordinary things started from scratch. As ordinary people who were called crazy; told they couldn’t do it and chastise. But at the end of the day, they accomplished more than they ever thought they could.
So I decided to do more than just try. I decided that I was going to Do and Succeed…..Period.
You can learn more about Aza Shukura and Miss Natural Nation by visiting www.missnaturalnation.com online or on FaceBook and on Instagram @missnaturalnation.