8 min 41 sec

Hair Braiding Workshops Help Trans-Racial Adoptive Families

A Chicago woman starts a side hustle to support her life, then adapts it to help more than 1,000 children in adoptive families.
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What It's About

A simple side hustle with a real impact.

Business Model
Skills Required
Hair Braiding & Communication
Profit Potential

Words of Wisdom

Being good in the world of haircare can often lead to a sea of referrals you just can’t handle. This means you need to improve at one of two things: saying no or working more. Saying no is an acceptable option!

Fun Fact

Tamekia has started to attract a wide-reaching client base, with people driving a number of hours to attend her classes and get their kid’s hair styled.

Notes from Chris

Episode 868
Tamekia Swint’s interest in hair braiding started at an early age. Her mom braided her hair every week, and by the time she was old enough to hold a comb, Tamekia was pestering her to pass on what she knew. And then, by the time she reached her early teens, she’d mastered the styles of Cornrows and Dutch Braids.

When it came time to go to college, Tamekia decided she would turn her skills into a little extra income. She had a part-time service job, but the work was sporadic and unpredictable. After enrolling in and completing a styling course in Chicago, she was ready to offer her services to people.

After graduation, she took a job as a parole agent. She stopped braiding hair for a while so she could focus her time and attention on the job, but after a few years, felt the urge to start back up again. There were loans to be paid, and it didn’t hurt to have a second stream of income coming in.

Tamekia ran this side hustle for a number of years, working 10-20 hours a week around her job. By now, she had raised her prices and was earning up to $4,000 a month. She didn’t need a high volume of clients to meet these figures, because braiding someone’s hair can take between two and ten hours.

Every few years, she paused her braiding hustle to pursue other ventures. She went back to business school to gain her masters, got married, worked for her husband’s business ... then got divorced and found herself a job at an insurance firm. Once again, she began braiding hair in her spare time to make ends meet.

But it turned out to be the last time she would give it up and eventually come back to it.

Tamekia got involved in a mission at her church and went with a group to teach English to kids in Poland for two weeks. There she started showing students how to braid their own hair as a way to get them talking and learning in English. She loved teaching, and the kids responded really well!

Back home, she knew she wanted to work more with kids. She started by simply expanding her services to include kids hair. She promoted the business using flyers and business cards—the same way she had in college—and quickly found a number of families who needed her services.

One of the families she grew close to was a trans-racial adoptive family. They were white parents who had adopted two African-American daughters. And, it was in their hair she felt she found her true passion.

Tamekia saw that the two children’s hair needed some love. They had no idea how to take care of it themselves, and neither did their adoptive mother. Tamekia felt she had to jump in. So, she styled the daughter’s hair and taught the Mom how to do some basic care herself.

Over the course of a few weeks, Tamekia was contacted by a number of other trans-racial adoptive families to see if she could help them out. She made the bookings, did some stylings, and taught the parents how to manage it all.

This led Tamekia to start a not-for-profit called Styles 4 Kidz. It’s an organization that styles African-American children’s hair and provides courses on hair management for adoptive families. Much like her side hustle, Tamekia has built this purely on referrals and only started marketing through social media in the last few years.

In 2018, Tamekia and her organization’s volunteers were able to serve 500 children in and around Chicago, and they are projected to serve 1,000 this coming year! Braiding hair is a real need, and her transformation was an unexpected twist.



Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,


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Quote of the Day
"A side hustle is a great thing to have in an emergency. When life circumstances change, having a skill you know you can be paid for can help in many ways.​​"
—Tamekia Swint #SideHustleSchool

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