We had the good fortune of connecting with Nia Surles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
You can not be self made without taking risks.
You can not call yourself an entrepreneur without taking risks.
You can not build a business without taking risks.
It is what separates those that will make it to the top, from those who are stagnant, and stuck at the bottom.
Taking risks is never easy, but it is always what has elevated my business and life.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Being a military spouse and full time mom created a difficult situation for me. How could I obtain a stable career moving around every few years? My passion for natural hair became my solution.
I ventured into natural hair first as a stylist. I was able to specialize in it to educate and help others along their journey. After learning that majority of the products for textured hair were filled with infertility and cancer causing chemicals, I immediately started producing my own plant based line.
Vonaé is the home of ayurvedic hair care. We focus on using healing ingredients such as clays, ayurvedic herbs, cold pressed oils, and exotic butters to promote healthy hair.
Vonaé not only focuses on healthier hair, we promote a healthier you. We love working in our community to spread the benefits of healthy eating, positive vibes, and holistic healing.
Each of our products are life changing for curly hair growers, especially the hydrating African Black Shampoo and Whipped Mango Butter.
We look forward to hearing the shocked feedback from someone who uses our products for the first time. Finding quality hair care that works is a hit and go now a days. Since our products are handcrafted and made fresh to order with premium, natural ingredients, you get better results.
When I first started my business, fellow entrepreneurs were adamant about the tip of creating a business plan. No one expressed how often you would go and revisit that plan and jazz it up. It was like as my business grew, I gained more clarity on how I wanted my business to be and how to get it there.
There were several hard moments where I wanted to give up, or made a mistake, or wasn’t showing any growth. Those were my most valuable lessons. They taught me to take a step back, re-evaluate, learn, and focus on what I needed to do for the growth of my business. Being an entrepreneur it is inevitable that you will have these moments. Welcome them, learn from them, but do not dwell on them. Do not become stagnate. Keep pushing forward!
I am so excited to announce that Vonaé is expanding in the community and is well on its way to being a major hair care company. We are now on the shelves of select black owned beauty supply stores and salons. We have even had the honor of sponsoring positive events in our community such as Fit & Fab with the Tau Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, INC.
To any entrepreneur, be open to risks, be welcoming of positive criticism, and never stop educating yourself about your business.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If you’re ever in the Hampton Roads area, of course you have to make your way down to the oceanfront or the waterfront in downtown Norfolk. Everyone and their grandma will be there.
I personally enjoy a relaxing scene at Sandbridge beach as it is more reclusive compared to the touristy oceanfront. To wind down, I love going to Mermaid Winery to enjoy a wine flight and charcuterie board.
If you’re looking for a budget friendly adventure, you always can go kayaking or canoeing at Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, Va. It’s only $5-$10 an hour!
There are numerous black owned restaurants here where you can find a tasty treat. I definitely would recommend Desmond’s Island Soul Grill, Mango Maneaux, and Cutlass Grille.
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?
First and foremost I would like to thank God for the vision and execution.
My supporters, hometown, and family, I owe a big thanks to. Thank you so much for the constant referrals, the orders, the likes, the shares. Thank you for donating and investing in my business.
Special thanks to the Mary Haddasha Foundation, Blessed Roots Beauty Supply, Kinky Hair Kulture, Intelligently Ratchet, and That Riverz Gurl. Thank you for using your platforms to put me on.
I owe so much to my first ambassadors @itsglennae, @coilywithrose, @curliekaye, & @miss.naillda for working with me through the growth. You helped so much with getting Vonaé out there. Your efforts are truly appreciated.
Thank you to my big sis and family-in -love for the talks and the words of encouragement.
Finally, thank you to my husband for the love and security through this venture.
Other: TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMRSw2LLK/
Dvxsn photography by Shaquille Bethea