Meet 22-year-old Diamond Jackson, a Tylertown, Mississippi native currently residing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Not only is Diamond the youngest boss we’ve featured to date, she is a great friend of JessicaSimien.com and someone that has totally stolen my heart! I just love me some Diamond!
I met Diamond about three years ago when she styled my hair and I quickly took to her kind and sweet personality. I’ve watched her grow as a stylist and was so proud to know that took a leap of faith and enrolled in The Academy of Hair Design to pursue her dream. That takes courage – a common trait of all of our bosses!
Check out our chat with her below.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: I remember the first time I had my hair styled by you in your living room and now I’m speaking with you as a business owner. I’m so proud of you! Can you share with our readers how you got into the beauty industry and styling hair?
Diamond Jackson: Thanks, Jessica. I’ve come a long way. Since a little girl, I’ve always been interested in the beauty industry. I somehow always knew that I wanted to be a hairstylist when I grew up. When I moved to Hattiesburg in 2010, I started styling hair on campus in the dorms. That’s how I gradually began building my clientele.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: When did you decide that you wanted to actually make a business out of it and become an entrepreneur?
DJ: There are a few reasons why I decided to start my own business. I was tired of working dead end jobs that caused me to be restless, overworked and underpaid. I have experience in every field from customer service to serving, processing shipment and I also have management experience. Out of all of the jobs I’ve worked, I never felt like I belonged there, if that makes sense. I was never really happy with any of those jobs, I was just working to pay the bills. Being on someone else’s time has always been an issue for me, as well. I began to feel like I was just living to work, missing everything important in life. I was enrolled at the University of Southern Miss. I wasn’t feeling it. It wasn’t for me and I knew that wasn’t where I wanted to be anyways. I was only going to please other people, until I decided to make myself happy.
Back in January 2013 is when I realized that I was going to switch some things up. I started to write down every single business idea that I had. I knew for a fact that I wanted to sell hair extensions, because so many of my clients always inquired about them, but I didn’t offer them at the time. After months and months of researching, August 2013 is when I officially decided to get everything together as far as launching an actual business.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What were your fears, if you had any, prior to launching your business and how did you overcome them?
DJ: Prior to launching Diam Divaz, I was nervous and excited, of course. I knew that there was a 50/50 chance..success versus failure… I mean, I literally gave up college for this. It had to work. I was always taught that the real failure is when you don’t try at all. Maybe I failed at being a successful student.. or whatever. I don’t know, I was taught to try everything at least once. I knew that it would be a risk, but I also knew that it could be a success. I try to never let fear take over. I prayed and asked God to lead me. He did just that.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: As a business owner myself, I understand facing challenges and having to conquer them for the sake of your business’ success. Have you had to face any challenges? If so, share them with us and how you were able to get through them and keep going.
DJ: I would have to say that the two biggest challenges I’ve faced would have to be managing my money and time. When you are in business, one wrong move could be crucial to your well-being and your brand. Now, not only do you have to think about your personal finances, but your business finances, as well. It’s a lot to balance, especially when you are first starting off. Saving is a must, because every move has to be calculated.
There are only 24 hours in a day and nowadays, weeks fly by in no time. Finding a balance between school, physical work and a business isn’t easy. I used to have a hard time balancing everything in general until I received a planner last year for Christmas. Now, I just write every single thing down and I that’s what I live by. It’s a lot easier than trying to remember everything. Also, a lot of the things I used to be interested in, no longer interest me. Once I started my business, I had to prioritize. I started to have less fun and more work on my plate. Work now, play later.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What are the top three things you wish you knew before you started a business?
DJ: I wish I had more knowledge in branding/marketing instead of just “jumping out there”. I also wish I would’ve sat down with you and hashed out my plans, I’m sure you would have been a great help. I don’t really know how to say this, but I wish I would have known that the people that you expect to support you will be the last ones to support you, strangers will be your most consistent customers and clients. That’s just the truth.
JESSICASIMIEN:COM: What advice do you have for young ladies who want to follow your footsteps?
DJ: For any young lady that has a dream, GO FOR IT! Never ever let anyone discourage you or your mind set. I would advise you to be careful who share your future plans with, everyone will not be happy for you. Everyone will not believe in you. Write the vision. When you have a brilliant idea, write it down on paper so that you can always refer back to it. Take risks. Life is all about taking risks. If you are afraid to fall, you aren’t ready. I’m sure Bill Gates fell a million times before he actually accomplished what he set out for. Look at him now. Don’t give up. It’s mind over matter. Set yourself apart from others, don’t be afraid to be different. Just because someone doesn’t agree with your idea, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be successful. Being open minded will get you far.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Are there any entrepreneurs that you admire or have learned things from, whether directly or indirectly?
DJ: Jessica, I’m very proud of you and all of your accomplishments. I told you before, I admire you and what you have going. You motivate me to grind even harder. You are so professional and well put together. I love it! I’m really trying to get on your level, professionally. Thanks for being a great role model. I also admire LaKeisha Kindred, CEO/Founder of Exquisitez Salon and Cutz and Exquisitez Boutique in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Ming Lee, CEO/Founder of Snoblife Studio in Atlanta.
Keisha has had a great influence on my life and career directly. I’ve been working in her salon for three months now and I must say, I love it. She’s one of the most genuine people I’ve met, always extending a helping hand to those in need. I really appreciate her because she believed in me and gave me a chance. She has so much going on a the age of 25. I really look up to her and I pray I can get to where she is at by the age of 25. I started following Ming Lee on Instagram about a year ago and she is amazing. She’s another young entrepreneur that took a risk and became successful. Ming is a hairstylist and business owner. I literally study her every move being that we are in the same field. I would never copy, but she is a great inspiration to myself and others in the beauty industry.
I can’t forget about my dad, Derik Forrest. He sat out to start his career many years ago. He owns a construction company. I remember when I was a little girl, maybe eight or nine. I used to ride with him to deliver checks to his employees. I’ve watched his business grow. He’s blessed so many men with jobs, reasons why God always looks out for him. I wouldn’t say that he taught me everything that I know (laughs), but he has positively influenced my career. He is the type of person to push you to your limit. I thank him for that.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Tell us a little about your business and what services and products you offer.
DJ: Diam Divaz is the brand. I offer virgin hair extensions, cosmetics and logo apparel. I am also a hairstylist at Exquisitez Salon and Cutz on North 25th ave. Hattiesburg, MS. I special in hair weaving, quick weave and sew ins. I absolutely love to transform my clients. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, everything else just falls into place. I love to give my clients that boost of confidence they may be lacking.
JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Do you have any upcoming projects, specials or features that you would like to share?
DJ: Yes, we have a toy drive planned for Sunday, December 21 at Exquisitez Salon and Cutz. We are asking anyone that is able to donate new toys for kids ranging months old to the age of 13. We will also host a wrapping party following the toy drive. We are asking people to donate boxes and wrapping paper, as well. Anyone can participate in both the toy drive and the gift wrapping party. Diam Divaz will also be hosting a toy drive in McComb, Mississippi in December. All details will be announced at a later date.