Atlanta-based entrepreneur, celebrity hairstylist, and owner of Studio Techilo, Aida Techilo is known for making hair magic with celebrities like Chilli of TLC, comedian B. Simone, and many luminaries. With nearly half a million followers watching every swipe of the flatiron on YouTube, Techilo is changing narratives and talking points, one product and video at a time.
In recent years, Techilo has shifted from doing hair to manufacturing and selling best-in-class hair products including undetectable extensions, flat irons, and more. It is with this shift that she’s set her sights on cementing a legacy that has infinite growth potential versus relying on her physical body to create her revenue.
While the Black hair care market size is expected to be worth around USD 4.5 billion by 2032, according to Market US. Black ownership in comparison is incredibly small and Black brands make up only 2.5 percent of revenue in the beauty industry, yet Black consumers are responsible for 11.1 percent of total beauty spending.
To purchase Techilo’s products or to book services, visit https://www.studiotechilo.com.
The Atlanta Voice spoke with Techilo to discuss her business, advice, and journey.
The Atlanta Voice: Why did you decide to start your business?
Aida Techilo: I’ve always lived here, and I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, so I was already set in stone. Once I found out what I wanted to do, which was be an entrepreneur in the hair and beauty industry, I didn’t know how far it was going to go and how big it became, but it’s always been in the works for me. That was always the plan.
AV: When did you start your journey?
AT: I started my journey in 2004. As soon as I got out of school, I went to hair school and from then I finished high school and maybe about a year worked at a salon for probably two years and from then I opened my own business. I went small and then scaled.
AV: You’re a celebrity hairstylist who’s creating a blueprint evolving from hair hairstylist to beauty mogul, hair educator and online retailer. How was that journey/transition and what did it teach you?
AT: Oh, the journey was difficult because we’re creatives. So, I didn’t know anything about the industry, like the business part of it. It was like I was thrown in and when I started getting popular, I began selling products and had to learn the business part of it, and it kind of taught me the importance of diversifying a skillset and not just being stuck behind the chair. Other than that, it wasn’t an easy process, but we got through it. We made it through it.
AV: What does it take, in your opinion, to build a hair business from the ground up?
AT: I would say first you have to have some type of love for the beauty industry. I know some people get into it just to make money, but I feel like for longevity reasons, you have got to love it. After that, just knowing what people want, you can’t stay stagnant and just think that that’s going to be the trend for the rest of your industry or your career more soon. So, I would just say in keeping up to date with all the trends that are coming, knowing what your clientele or what your people want and move in it fast, finding the right product, finding the best quality that you have because you want to keep your name and brand relevant. I have not only the best service, but the best quality product, because once you get a bad name out there, there’s no going back. So, you want to make sure that you’re consistent with everything.
AV: Now, while the black hair care market size is expected to be worth around 4.5 billion by 2032, black ownership, in comparison, is incredibly small. What are your thoughts for black ownership in the current market?
AT: On the business side, I feel like we need to network and start building relationships, like they can’t shop with us if they don’t know that our business is out there. Also, I think we kind of lack the marketing part. A lot of these other business owners are spending endless amounts of money on marketing and advertising, and that’s how they’re reaching out to our demographic. So, I feel like we need to get out there and just market ourselves, spend that money, and have that budget so that people know that we’re out there in the shop with this. Not only just having the best customer service, but also getting our names out there. You can’t shop with us if you don’t know that we exist.
AV: Was there a moment that inspired you to start your business?
AT: I’ve always loved doing hair. I knew that that was my angle from when I was in middle school and then I grew up with my family. They always owned businesses from gas stations. So, I kind of saw that and I knew I wanted to be a hairstylist. I didn’t know that it was going to go so crazy where we’re selling products all over the world and traveling and doing classes and YouTube courses and stuff like that, but I knew that I wanted to have my own hair salon and business now.
AV: Are there any mentors in your life that inspired you to partake on this journey?
AT: I would say a person that inspired me is probably Myleik Teele from Curl Box. I’ve never met her, but she’s just so inspiring. She created a lane in our industry, and she wasn’t scared and her marketing and everything is just so creative. I’ve never met her, but even her advice on life is just so inspiring and teaches the business aspect and it’s kind of hard when you don’t know that or have any mentors. However, I feel like without even meeting her, she’s the kind of somebody that inspires me like a mentor.
AV: What are your business goals for the remainder of the year and even next year?
AT: That’s a good question. It’s been a rough year for entrepreneurs, I would say, not in just our industry. So, we’re just gearing up for next year and to get through this last quarter of this year and trying to set ourselves up because of a couple ideas we’re looking to expand and open another location. So just doing that and getting ready for the next quarter, the first quarter of next year.
AV: What do you hope to inspire in other stylists?
AT: I would hope to inspire that there is life beyond the chair. A lot of times, when you are creative, you don’t know the business part of the industry and you just think, ‘oh, I’m just going to do this for the rest of my life’, and it takes a toll on our body. So, just knowing that there’s a lot of things that you could do and still be in the industry but not be behind the chair from whether you want to be a celebrity stylist or work on sets or be the Amazon of the beauty industry, there’s so much more. Just don’t wait for somebody to create your lane, create it, or follow the footsteps of somebody, but it’s just such a big picture and we can’t just be stuck in that one little room. So, I would just say, yes, pretty much be open to anything. Follow your passion.
AV: With every industry, there comes challenges. So, in the beauty industry, what kind of challenges have you faced and how did you prevail through those challenges?
AT: I don’t even know where to start because there’s so many challenges. There’s challenges every day in the business industry. As an entrepreneur, we go through so much every day. I would say being consistent was something that I had to work on. Good business and being a good business owner help and good business is going to get you so much clientele. They’ve been trying to nickel and dime and win every you know, every battle. You can’t win every battle, but just doing good business keeps the customers coming. Another thing would be customers. I was doing hair, and I was able to pick and choose my clients and once we got big like this, we were dealing with all types of customers, and I love what I do. Everything about it, it’s my passion. So, I am checking everything before we send it out. We were serious about the business aspect, so when we would get a complaint, it would really hurt. I had to sit there and say, ‘hey, okay, well we have to understand other people’s issues and take it as constructive criticism and learn from it’. So, I would say one of the hard parts was hearing criticism, knowing that I worked hard for something, and I just wasn’t selling or putting something out just to be putting it out. You don’t want to take it personal because it’s business, but when you really love what you do, you end up taking it personally. So, I had to take my feelings out of it and just be a business owner and see how it is as a consumer for myself and how I would want to be treated.
AV: What kind of advice do you have for future business owners taking the plunge?
AT: Never taking anything personal. I would say being consistent is always important and patient. Just being patient. Don’t give up on the first note, I feel like all these social media platforms make it seem like everything just comes easy and we’re opening businesses left and right, but they don’t really see what we’re going through in the struggles in the 24/7, not even 9 to 5 working. We’re working 24/7, so just being consistent, being patient, loving what you do, and what gets you far.