Hey everybody, here is an interview with Toni Daley of tonidaley.com. Toni is a natural hair enthusiast, entrepreneur and vlogger.
So Toni, what motivated you to start tonidaley.com?
I guess you could say ToniDaley.com was started by accident. I never actually intended to start a business when I purchased my domain. It simply housed my blog and links to my various social media as I became more active in the world of YouTube. I have always been an artist and the more I shared my creations online, the more requests I received to sell my wares, whether it was my t-shirts or paintings or earrings. It started as more of a hobby until my husband who is a serial entrepreneur encouraged me and helped me to create the ToniDaley.com of today.
What did you do before this?
I worked in corporate Canada as a business analyst.
Was it hard to transition from your former career to being an entrepreneur?
I’m not much of a risk taker so I didn’t actually transition; I worked my 9-5 and ran my business simultaneously for about 6 years before I quit and went full time with the business.
What were some of the challenges and road blocks that you faced when starting your business?
Since it began as a hobby I didn’t run into any challenges in the traditional sense that someone who is trying to make it work for their bread and butter would run into. I do believe everyone has a different path but if you are similar to me in that you are not a major risk taker I would suggest doing the same. There is no reason that if you don’t time manage you can’t do both. Plus multiple streams of income never hurt anyone!
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I would have started sooner. I’d say if you have an idea go for it. A mantra I try to live by is “You cannot fail unless you try”.
How did you get into vlogging?
I went natural in the early 2000’s when it wasn’t so popular. To be honest I didn’t realize that being “natural” was an option. Constant questions of what are you going to do with your hair made me feel like my hair as is just wasn’t enough. Despite all that I fell in love with my natural texture and wanted to encourage other women who may not have realized that their own hair was an option as well. I started my beauty channel where I focus on natural hair care, styling, protective styling, and product reviews.
Do you think that the exposure from your vlogs helps with visibility on tonidaley.com? or the other way around?
I think that if you are thinking of starting a new business it’s beneficial to keep all of your social media handles consistent. It makes it easier for people to find you, keeps your brand cohesive, and can also improve your SEO ranking.
How do you find balance? Running tonidaley.com, two youtube channels and your personal life?
Time management is extremely important. I have a physical calendar in my office and I utilize the calendar on my phone which helps keep me organized. With being your own boss you can obviously be more lenient with your time but I’ve found that putting yourself on a schedule will make your life a whole lot easier.
What advice would you give someone starting their own business?
I think it’s great to get advice from people in the game but the most important thing is to do what feels right for you. There is no one set way to be successful. If anyone with a business degree took a look at my business model they would probably shudder….however it works for me and my goals. So before you start sit down and do some self reflection and really figure out what your goal for the business is. Is it to build a multi-million dollar conglomerate? Is it to replace your current income so you can be your own boss? Is it to bring in a second income to take care of increased expenses? Is it to make enough money to go on vacation once a year or shopping once a week? Whatever the goal is…is ok, there is no wrong answer. Once you have your goal, set tasks to work towards it.
How do you get ideas for your products?
I’ve always been an artist and creative so I love making things. As with most women I also love fashion and often times when putting an outfit or look together I need something that I just can’t find. So I’ll make it for myself.
Why did you start making and selling wigs?
I couldn’t find a natural looking half wig that matched my texture so I decided to make one for myself.
Where do you see yourself and your business in five years? Do you actively set goals for yourself and your business, or are you more of a go with the flow type of person?
Typically at the beginning of each year I set goals for the year for my own personal life, financial life, business life and family life. Then I write them down and leave them above my desk that way I am reminded to work on it every day of the year.
Now I know on your personal youtube page and in your vlog, you have something called support a sista? Can you talk about what that is?
Supportasista is a call to action to encourage black women to shop black owned. It’s not about exclusion; it’s about group economics which every other culture in the world does. We are the only ones discouraged to do so.
What motivated you to start that movement?
One quote that I do love and think everyone should live by is “Be the change you want to see in the world”
There was a sisterhood and loving community in the YouTube world back when I started in 2007 that is not evident in YouTube today. I want to see sisterhood truly revived, so I started my movement. We can complain until we are red in the face that black people don’t support each other and that black women are spiteful towards one another but if we are not doing anything about it are we not part of the problem?
Okay, so you recently announced that you are launching a “support a sista” subscription box. Tell me a little bit about that.
The SupportaSista box is a bimonthly subscription service that includes 4-5 items from black owned businesses. It will cover anything and everything from beauty, hair, accessories, etc from various businesses that I curate every other month. I’m very excited for its launch this February!
Please tell everything where we can find you on social media.