Nia Strothers is busy. Really busy.
This communication major and business minor is preparing to graduate on May 13, 2017, while juggling a burgeoning social media consulting firm, her own line of luxury wigs and hair extensions, and freelance work as a blogger. And this ambitious soon-to-be-grad will add another iron to the fire in the fall when she begins work on her Master of Arts in Communication at the College.
“I’ve always been entrepreneurial minded,” Strothers says, admitting that lately it’s been tough to find time to sleep while balancing her proverbial juggling act of endeavors.
Strothers’ interest in business and working for herself began in high school when she earned her cosmetology license through a dual enrollment program. Since arriving at CofC nearly four years ago, she has stayed current with her license and styled hair part time to earn extra money. But she quickly started thinking bigger.
“I wanted to turn my passion for hair into something more,” Strothers says, noting that her pursuit of a college degree and her interest in social media and digital marketing had her contemplating many different ventures. “I knew I wasn’t going to work in a salon full time, but I didn’t want to let go of my passion for hair, so that’s why I started the hair boutique. I’ve always worn hair extensions. I love hair extensions and wigs!”
Her online business, Reflections Hair Boutique went live in 2015. Strothers sources her hair from a supplier in Asia and creates extension bundles for naturally curly hair, straight hair and wavy hair. She also makes custom wigs by hand based on clients’ individual measurements.
But breaking into the competitive beauty industry has proven challenging, requiring Strothers to be strategic in marketing her hair line as a high-quality item that’s worth the splurge. The experience of building a website for Reflections as well as creating content to reach potential customers on social media led Strothers to create a personal blog to brand herself. Her blog offers digital marketing tips, personal stories and inspirational advice and has opened the door for offers from media outlets and businesses that want Strothers to provide content for their websites, including a jeweler in California. And that led to another idea.
In November, Strothers added to her brand when she decided to create Social Savvy, a social media consulting service aimed at helping small businesses effectively manage their social media accounts to create a meaningful online presence.
“A lot of times small business owners don’t realize that social media and digital marketing are such an integral part of marketing and branding their business,” she says. “I thought about things I was good at, and I thought I’m really great with social media, I’m great with creating content and graphic design, so I said ‘You know what? Let me start a digital marketing business.’”
The experience of taking what she’s learned in her communication and business courses and quickly finding real-world applications for those skills has been invaluable and empowering, says Strothers. Ultimately, this go-getter of a 22-year-old sees herself earning her doctorate in communications and someday teaching motivated students like herself in a college setting.
But until then, she’s casting a wide net in the hopes of capturing all her interests as she prepares to move on from her life as an undergrad.
“They’re starting to come together,” says Strothers of all her entrepreneurial projects. “I have nothing to lose. If everything I’m doing crashes and burns, I’m still young and I will have a college degree and I’ll be working on a master’s degree. I’m just going to go for it.”
Featured image provided by Nia Strothers.