By Terez Howard
I would like to introduce you to Paulette Brown, the lady behind Locks4life. She educated me on why we Sisterlocked sisters should listen to our consultants/trainees. I’m very thankful that Paulette took the time out of her busy schedule for this interview. She also shared her own interesting journey with Sisterlocks®. Guess what? She was doing them and didn’t want them! Let’s get right into it.
How long have you been a Sisterlocks® consultant, and why did you decide to become one?
I took the class in 2002 and only to do my husbands’ hair. He was researching options for himself and stumbled upon the information. The next thing I know I had taken the class and had my book open and was doing his hair. Then my son wanted his hair done.
I think the path to become a consultant was decided for me in 2002, but I didn’t accept it till 2004, really 2005. I think that just like no one can make you get Sisterlocks®. No one can make you do them. When I took the class, I had a relaxer and had no intention of ever locking my hair. I could not figure out for the life of me why all these people where on this journey. Three years later, I understood.
What do you think makes Sisterlocks® a great locking option?
I think Sisterlocks® makes an excellent option because it answers every issue a person can have with their hair. You can style Sisterlocks® just like loose hair. It is a “green” or “natural” hairstyle as oils, waxes, gels are not needed. It saves time, as you don’t have to take off work to have them taken out and put back in. Lots of times our clients come to our locations during work hours and have their hair re-tightened, as each location provides Internet service. It helps the hair recover from what we have done in the past. Many times, clients will see their edges fill in, their hair get fuller, stronger and healthier. It also saves you money because you aren’t buying a bunch of products or extra hair. Maintenance is about every 5-9 weeks depending on the hairs’ growth and size of the the locs. You can style them yourself.
Why is it important that a client follow the leadings of her consultant?
It is important because taking care of Sisterlocks® is not like taking care of any other hairstyle. Taking care of Sisterlocks® is not taught anywhere. Yes, there is a lot of information on the Internet, but be careful. Many times, those giving advice are at a different place than someone who just got their locs installed. You have to take care of them in the beginning, so when they have settled in and are in no danger of unraveling, they are the locs that you admire on others.
What would you say is the most important thing a client should do to care for her Sisterlocks® and why?
First thing is to ready yourself for the journey. Everyone comes though the door with a set a circumstances. Don’t talk yourself into it. Don’t let someone else talk you into it. Do this one for you. When you are ready, you don’t care what other people think or what they will say about your decision.
The second thing is selecting the person to do your locs, be them certified or trainee. To me, it doesn’t matter. I was an excellent trainee, and I am the same excellent consultant. One costs more than the other, and if you just want a small clientele, maybe she is a trainee. They just have to have taken the official SL class. If the name is not on the website, then they need to show you their trademark agreement paperwork from Sisterlocks®, and I would say test locks and or other client referrals. But if your soul says yes, then go with that.
I personally hate that I’ve had my Sisterlocks® for almost one year, and I still have to braid and band. Can you tell me why braiding and banding is so important?
The braiding and banding that you do today gives you the beautiful locks you seek tomorrow. When our hair is wet, it typically will swell and shrink. That is the process that you have to control until it settles in or it will loc swollen and uneven (bunched). You know how you see people whose locks are fat on the ends and skinny at the scalp? Or their locks are not straight and symmetrical? Thats what you get when you stop braiding and banding too soon. That can also happen from coloring too soon, not getting regular retightening’ and adding oils, shea butters, waxes and gels to the the locks.
Please tell me about your own Sisterlocks® journey.
Ahh, my journey. What a journey it continues to be. My journey is different in that I started the business, Locks4life. Initially, I had no intention on ever locking my hair. I remember telling my twin sister that I needed my relaxer, and I was always going to have one. Boy, if I had to eat words. I was happy as I stopped relaxing my hair and started to press and curl it. That was natural enough for me.
I had a full time business doing Sisterlocks® and not one loc in my head. Sometimes during consultations, people would ask me why I didn’t have Sisterlocks®. I would say I was good at doing them. We often go to nail techs with horrible nails and male OBGYN’s who have never had a baby. You just need the tools for the job. I have taken the class and honed the skill. I had put together a package that people understood.
A client sat in my chair one evening. What she did next, changed my life. She slapped my money on the table as she ran her hands through her hair. Shaking it back and forth, she informed me that she had washed her hair that morning in the shower. It was something about that moment in time that I thought. I have never just washed my hair in the shower, went to work and then got it done. It was at that moment I thought about all the vacations my husband and I had went on that I discovered the whole vacation was spent with me not getting my hair wet. Can you imagine walking up the side steps of Duns River Fall in Jamaica in stead of the falls? Being on a small island called Vieques that you had to take a small plane over the rainforest just to get to and you wear braids that you never wear just to get your hair a little wet in the ocean but not in the pool because the chlorine will strip the perm? Can you imagine it is so hot that you spend hours looking for hair oil only to find it for $18.00 when at home it is $3.99, and you are reduced to oiling your hair with baby oil so the press doesn’t dry out and frizz during the captain’s dinner? All that and more happened to me in a moment. Next stop, Sisterlocks®.
The business was an answer to a prayer. You know when God doesn’t tell you, he shows you, and then you act like you don’t see or hear it because you really didn’t, because you can’t believe that’s the answer.
I couldn’t believe God wanted me to quit my full time dream job to do “hair”. Then, enviable we ask for a sign. Just to make sure, and the sign was there. It was a date book full of appointments. Every available appointment, booked. So, I have to make a choice. I had run up the corporate ladder for years. I had done locs for 1 year. I landed project after project. But people were driving and flying in just to get their hair done. I was also risking my father’s life as he never understood how a person could quit a full time job to do contract work and then quit that to do hair.
I felt like I could always get another job or project, but this was my opportunity to help women. I thought back to a time when a lady sat in my chair very insecure and looked in the mirror confident but more importantly, happy.
We always have a choice. I chose to step out on my faith that this business was what I was supposed to do. I landed on hallowed ground, and that is where I remain today. I like hallowed ground. I don’t worry. All my needs are exceedly met. All I do is ask, and it appears. Once you step out on faith, you never want to return to what felt like sinking sand.
I have seen the business of natural hair grow and grow. In the beginning, clients thought they were the only ones thinking about locking or wearing their hair natural. Now we see natural hair in print and media advertising. It has begun to define corporate America as doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, accountants, and executives (just to name a few) wear Sisterlocks® as well as other natural hair styles.
Natural hair, Sisterlocks® in particular, is showing grandmothers, mothers and daughters that they can be themselves instead of trying to be someone else. I see women living their best lives now as originals. Every other hair style requires us to change and then to be. We have to perm first or press first to straighten or braid or weave when all our hair wants to do is spiral and curl. It always goes back to the curl it wants to be. Sisterlocks® takes advantage of that curl our hair naturally has. The best thing Sisterlocks® has done is to allow a person to be themselves without changing first.