-I was born, raised and live in Toronto, Canada. An artist and natural hair enthusiast! I've gone through a plethora of hairstyles in my day but have been natural for about the last 5 years and have been loving every minute of it. I became really passionate and completely obsessed with it! It lead me to start a youtube channel dedicated to offering haircare and styling tips and encouraging other women to rock the hair they have. It's been one of the best decisions for my confidence and my pocketbook! It's also opened the door to meet a lot of great people.
What is your inspiration to draw? You are very talented and I feel inspired every time I see your work.
-I gain inspiration from a lot of things...people, places, scenery. I think since finding a passion for natural hair though, it has really taken the spotlight in the subject of my work.
|Purple Haze- Rights owned by Ms. Toni Daley|
-I've been selling my artwork online for a number of years through different photo sharing sites such as fotki and flickr. When I started creating accessories, I then moved on to Etsy which is a website dedicated to handmade goods. Late last year I decided to launch my own website under my name and really build my brand.
When did you realize that you were an artist?
-I've always loved creating artwork but I think I decided I was an artist in my mid teens. I was about 16 or 17 when I started entering art competitions and really sharing my art on more of a public platform.
Besides your awesome artwork, your store offers beautiful earrings. Was your love for earrings your motivation to create your earrings?
|Blue & Gold Spiked!|
-Yes! I'm an earring fanatic! I buy earrings constantly and because of my growing collection I'm always on the hunt for really unique pieces. A couple of years ago I was simply searching for a specific design. I couldn't find exactly what I wanted anywhere! When I did find something relatively close it was $40. That's when I decided to create my own. I got so many compliments and re-created them for friends and friends of friends. From there I decided to add unique earrings at reasonable prices to my online store.
What motivate your earring styles?
-It's gotta look hot! It's gotta stand out and be unique! If I won't wear it, I won't sell it.
-It saddens me sometimes at the lack of support we are willing to show each other. That success is seen as a negative. It's ok for a sister to be doing well...it doesn't mean she's changed...it doesn't mean she's a bad person or had to step on people to get where she is. We are allowed to succeed and we are allowed to be happy for each other! I try to spread that message on my youtube channel. I like to feature other black female entrepreneurs that I shop with not only to spread support for their product or service but to spread the message of support within our community. If we don't support one another.....why should anyone else?
What is the hardest part about being a business owner?
-The hardest part for me right now as a small business owner is juggling my full time job and my business. It's hard to find time to unwind when you work your 8 hours for someone else and then put in another 8 for yourself. You've got to be passionate about what your doing....you have to enjoy it.
Since some may know you for your natural hair? How long have you been natural?
I stopped relaxing my hair about 7 years ago due to extensive damage that I inflicted on myself from an at home relaxer. I didn't know what to do when I could no longer relax my hair so I wore braids. I loved the braided styles a lot and actually wore them for 2 years! When I stopped wearing the braids, I was literally shocked by what was left on my head. I'd never actually dealt....or seen for that matter my hair natural texture in all it's glory. I fell in love with it and have been rocking it ever since.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to open a store and sell their artwork?
My advice would be to find your passion. When you pour your heart and soul into your work others will take notice. I've been creating art since I was a kid but my artwork only started getting noticed recently. Why? because now my art reflects my passion....now when people buy my work they are buying a piece of me. It's a great feeling :)
What is next for Ms. Toni?
Well, I'm kinda liking what I'm doing right now...so I think i'll just keep it up. Keep working on improving my art, keep designing unique accessories, and keep encouraging my natural hair ladies. I'm addicted to the natural hair youtube community but I decided this year to start paying a little more attention to my blog for those who may not get the time to watch videos as often.
Lastly, where can we find you and your merchandise?
Thanks again for the opportunity to share with your readers!