We had the good fortune of connecting with Myriah Nonay and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Myriah, how do you think about risk?
Risk has played a big role in where I am today. I graduated from Morgan State University in 2011 with a degree in Elementary Education. I then taught in Baltimore City for 7 years. The last few years of teaching I really had to push myself because I was feeling defeated. The feeling of never really being done was a bit overwhelming to me. A teacher’s job is NEVER finished. I contemplated year after year leaving but I could never build up the courage to actually leave. In 2017, I took the biggest risk I have ever had to take thus far. The principal sent us our letters of intent and I finally checked that I would not be returning. After 5 years of undergrad and 2 years of grad school I decided to walk away from it all. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fulfilled and I had become that parent that teachers talk about when it pertained to my our child. I was tired of having to choose between being present for my son at his school or going to work with other people’s children. Teachers sacrifice A LOT. After I signed the intent form stating that I wasn’t coming back I began to work on opening up a boutique and I began taking classes to acquire my real estate license. I was so nervous

In 2017 I was a contestant on Family Feud. During one of the breaks Steve Harvey took a moment to talk to us and one of the things that he talked about was taking risks. His speech stung me because I was literally in the process of stepping out on faith, believing in yourself. I was adamant that I wasn’t going to return to teaching and that I would just have to make it work, and I did it too. I left, which was definitely one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done and I opened up my online boutique. I never really ended up pursuing the real estate license although I did take the class.

The online boutique was doing really well and then I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I was very ill and unable to produce the content that I needed to in order to keep things afloat. So eventually, I ended up selling all of my inventory and becoming a stay at home mom.

I fell into braiding by mistake. Being a stay at home mom was cool but I’m not the type that is comfortable with not producing. I wanted to bring in my own money. I asked my cousin if I could braid her hair one day. I braided her hair and posted a picture and I’ve been booked EVERY DAY that I open my books since that day. Such a blessing.

I braided as a young girl all the way up to college. However, I never thought in a million years that thats what I’d be doing for a living.

So taking that risk of walking away from making a comfortable living as a teacher has provided me the luxury of peace of mind. I make my own schedule. I get to spend time with my family and truly be present. The dramatic raise is just a plus. lol

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
About Me

Growing up, most children are tasked with cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, or mopping the floors as chores, but not me. My mother added a little sprinkle to my lists of responsibilities. I was responsible for ensuring that my sisters hair was braided.

That’s where it began for me. In the dining room, in a small townhouse, in a quaint community in the suburbs. Eventually, that chore turned into a small business for me at the age of 13. I booked clients and serviced them at the dining room table. I continued on this journey throughout college.

To be honest, I never pictured myself where I am today, braiding. As a child, I didn’t see the value in the chore my mother tasked me with, and with time I grew to dislike it. In fact, it wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I even got back to styling full time, and it was by mistake.

I had a failed business venture, a new baby, I had quit my teaching job in Baltimore City and my bank account was dwindling. I styled my cousins hair and posted a video of it on Instagram and I have been booked from that day on.

When I think about my journey and where I am now, I know I’m right where I am supposed to be, braiding. Braiding comes natural to me. It doesn’t feel like work. Although this may sound cliche, I am the happiest I have ever been in my career. I want to create opportunities for other artists. I want to teach. I want to create an atmosphere where women want to come and relax and be catered to. I want to provide an experience.

Thanks Mom, I didn’t see the value in it then, but I appreciate you so much for it now.

My business is Braided By the Beast. I chose that name because it is catchy, hard to forget. I began braiding again in June of 2019. I specialize in knotless braids although I do offer cornrow services as well.

I think my customer service sets me apart from others. I build rapport with my clients that keep them returning. I am excited about my new goals of expanding. I am working hard to open a salon space soon.

I am blessed to have such a loyal client base. My clients are repeat customers and make it hard for new ones to get in.

Being a braider is hard because if you’re not careful you can mess up your work/ life balance. It is really difficult turning down hundreds of dollars but if you dont you can find yourself working from 6am to 2am the next day easily. You have to make yourself a priority otherwise you’ll get burnt out.

I want the world to know that my brand is a built on respect. I respect my clients, their time, and their money. I want them to know that my brand is built on love and upliftment. Many people say they leave my chair feeling like they can do anything. My clients love sharing their goals and I love to hear them. I love encouraging them and speaking life into their dreams.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am really a home body! I don’t club or hang out much. However, I am always down for food with a view. Some of my favorite views in the DMV are at 12 stories in D.C or La Vie. You will see such a beautiful skyline.

If my best friend wanted to come visit me I’d say lets meet on an island. I personally love Aruba and would tell her to meet me there. There’s something to do for everyone and the beaches are beautiful.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I think there are two people that deserve credit.

The first being my fiancé. Stepping away from your career is not an easy thing to do. At the time we were just in a relationship but we were living together. As I talked to him about leaving he never discouraged me even though he knew that if things didn’t pan out how I planned there could be a lot of additional financial stress put on him. He encouraged me, he told me that he wanted me to do what would make me happy. He made the decision so much easier. He is also an entrepreneur and the advice that he would give me on the daily was critical part of my growth. I will forever be grateful for the guidance he gave me.

The other being, my mom. Growing up, most people had regular chores like cleaning the kitchen or bathroom. I had those types of chores but I also was tasked with braiding my sisters hair. My mom saw that I was a good braider and she made me practice on my sisters. She eventually allowed me to take clients in our dining room. I am grateful because she saw that I had a gift and she made me stand in it.

Website: www.braidedbythebeast.com

Instagram: Braidedbythebeast_

Other: personal ig that I receive much more engagement on is @myriahnonay. Although it only has 5.2k followers vs. 13.1k on my business page

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