We had the good fortune of connecting with Tanesha Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tanesha, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
One thing about the braid industry that outsiders are probably unaware of is the time, patience, and skill behind hair braiding. Hair braiding is rooted in African history that extends over 5000 years! Braid patterns were used to indicate one’s tribe, wealth, power, and religion. It is a huge part of black culture that has evolved tremendously. As Black women have embraced their natural hair, there has been a huge shift from the African braid shops for various reasons. In Atlanta, there have always been many African braid shops, sometimes 2 or 3 on the same street. In smaller cities, most had to rely on the local family braider, or travel to larger cities. Now with social media, a lot of African American women have garnered attention for their innovative braiding skills and have used those skills to create employment for themselves and others. Due to heightened social media attention, a large portion of people do not appreciate or understand our skillset. Women are willing to pay endless amounts of money for bundles and wigs, using hair that doesn’t come from our culture, but do not see the value in braiding- a service that takes an immense amount of time and skill. Now do not confuse what I am saying, Black women have the right to wear any hairstyle that we choose, but just remember to give some grace to Black braiders. We provide a service that is just as important as your silk press, your nail tech, your weave specialist, or lash tech. Respect our craft, respect our time, and respect our policies.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a braider and owner of Blessed Hands by Tanesha LLC. I have been braiding professionally since 2017 and I specialize in knotless braids because it is a service that offers ultimate protection. In order for braids to be a protective style, they have to actually protect your hair! I chose knotless braids as my specialty because they are lightweight, tension free, and easy on your edges. There is also easy access to your scalp and roots, so that you can maintain your moisture routine. I have always had a love for hair. I started styling my own hair at 8 years old and graduated to braiding my family and friends hair. I decided to pursue braiding as a profession after the birth of my son, because it afforded me a flexible schedule to care for him. It was not an easy road at all. I struggled with a lot indecisiveness and self doubt, because I had never taken the risk of entrepreneurship. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing or how to effectively market myself. On top of that, I realized that braiding professionally meant that I had to keep up with the new braid trends, which took time and practice. I invested in myself by joining a braid group and taking classes to better my skills, marketing, and photography. I also learned that I do not have to cater to every braid style to gain or keep my clientele. I can better market myself by mastering and specializing in a niche service. My specialty is knotless braids and I have about 10 variations/sizes of this style that I offer.
I want the world to know that I am a braid artist, because the creative aspect of braiding is most enjoyable to me. I currently produce at least one artistic piece every month for my own portfolio. I direct all aspects of my creative pieces, from the hair and fashion, to the location and video editing, but my goal is to work with other creatives in art, film, and photography to create artistic braid designs.
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.
Atlanta has so many great experiences. I would recommend the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Center for Civil and Human Rights, for our history. For creative vibes, I would suggest the High Museum of Art and Atlanta Botanical Gardens. We would have to visit the West End and eat at Tassili’s Raw. I’m a native so we definitely have to stop at American Deli for wings. Lastly, for Instagram worthy pictures we would have to visit the Krog Street tunnel, Jackson Street Bridge, and all the murals around the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to my family. My son is the reason that I decided to turn my hobby into a profession. He keeps me going and is my biggest cheerleader. He loves to tell his teachers and friends that his mom braids hair! My sister is my hype man, ride or die, and my sounding board for any and every business ideal that I have. My bonus baby is my forever model, always willing to try a new style and send referrals. Their love and support pushes me to go harder. For other braiders out there looking to level up your skills, check out @fourpointfivenow and @ordinary.her on Instagram.
Youtube: Blessed Hands by Tanesha