We had the good fortune of connecting with Tonika Matthews and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tonika, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Honestly, My business was birth from me needing a product or products for my newly cut and natural crown. I cut my hair into a tapper style cut and I had no idea how to maintain my hair, or what products worked best for my coils, or hair texture. I did know, I was not interested in trying a variety of different natural hair care products until I found the right combo for me. I did what I have done my entire life, when I needed something and couldn’t find what it was I was seeking.So I created it for myself. It started as a D.I.Y recipe, that was given to me by my ancestors while standing at the kitchen counter. At the time I didn’t know what I was birthing, creating, or the seed I was planting.
This was different than my previous ventures.I do have some background in running a business since I had done it before as an employee and a business owner.
I never intended to start this business.It grew into a business and I wasn’t going to deny the calling.
An overwhelming amount of people started inquiring about my hair product. I literally had only been using it on my TWA ( teeny weeny afro) and my hair and then her loc’s that she started.
I was nervous and timid about sharing it, however I could not keep this awesome recipe to myself after seeing results from my daughter’s hair, others as well my own hair.
After an overwhelming response of orders, request and positive feed back, I knew I had to take it to the next level. I was no longer just fulfilling Facebook inbox orders. Once I realize what was taken place I had to accept my mission. I knew I was given the recipe from my ancestor to share. I believe it was apart of my healing journey and my way of helping others heal.
I notice it was all connected and apart of this season, this chapter of my life and healing.
I didn’t set out to create a successful natural hair and skin care line. I didn’t realize I created an all natural hair care line until I sat down and research the ingredients I was using. I looked at my research and said WOW!! I really have a product! and I can customize it to fit any hair care concern.
I still wasn’t looking at it as a business. I saw it as a way to provide a supply where there had been a demand.
People whom I didn’t know were supporting me. I was being referred to as the “ Get Into This Moisture Lady”. At that moment I knew I had to start preparing to run a hair care business. I was playing it small and safe and I could no longer continue to do that.
I knew I wanted my hair care line to be different than the ones I saw in the stores. I knew it was going to be so much more than hair butter. I wanted this to be a legacy. I didn’t want any limitations and I wanted to heal and customize as and when needed .I knew everyone wanted some shine, and moisture that last for a few days, protection, and growth. What about the people who have sensitive skin, dry scalp, dandruff, fine hair, bald spots etc. Are they to stray away because my product didn’t address those needs.
I wanted the people to know I can cater this product to fit their needs. If you struggle with dandruff I wanted to give your scalp that relief and them still have a hair butter. I wanted my product to cover your hair concerns and needs from the scalp, root, follicles, hair strands, and your ends.
I didn’t intend for any of this to happen. I knew I wanted a product for myself that I could also use on my daughter. I knew that the recipe given to me worked for me, and the first bash of customers I had. I knew the hype was growing and I needed to give it an official name. I knew I created something that I could see a growing future with. I knew I wanted to create more. I had more ideas and more importantly the people were asking me to create custom blends for their hair concerns, and then that lead to their skin.
I wanted to give the people what they wanted. I fell in love with creating what is now Nika’s Naturals. I never looked at it as creating a business. I just knew I was healing myself and others as I express myself and continued to listen to the guidance and love I receive from creating my natural products. Fast forward to know and we have officially shipped to 13 different states. We have expanded from hair butter to skin care as well, and just recently added a For Him line for the fellas.
Once I outline my “why” and kept my focus on what I loved to do, I found myself doing what I love and it not feeling like work at all.
I never intended for this to grow into what it now is, However I am so thankful to be on this journey. I am grateful for the people who have supported, and who continue to support us. They are the main reason we have grown into the successful business we are today. I show my gratitude by continuing to grow and improve the products. All while having the option to customize their hair and skin care needs, wants, and concerns.
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 all about doing what feels best to and for you. Finding your life’s purpose and being open to all the universe has to offer. If it is one thing I have learned while on this journey of life, it is that you have to take your hand off the wheel sometimes and allow life to lead you where you need to be. When everything else in my life failed or didn’t plan out as I had imagined . I allowed life to happen, things started falling into place. I started a business because I listen, and followed my own voice. By doing that other doors open for me .I found my passion, and my purpose. This business open a door, where I can create and bring awareness to help other people share their business , while also voice my healing journey. Allowing others to heal with me. Making room for me to now have a weekly radio show. I talk about personal healing and how to make small but significate changes within so we can have a better handle on living in this world, while still staying true to ourselves and putting ourselves first. Learning to unlearn and relearn so this world and our reality works best for us. I am a strong believer in creating your own reality. I discuss ways that allows us to do just that,
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to my village. To my daughter, JaNay who is my motivation behind all that I do. I want to shoutout Sherard Coward for being my tester, partner, my late and long night helper and all around helpmate. My voice of reason when I am going mad with my vision and need to be brought back to reality. He is also the one who figures out all the tech stuff that I am unfamiliar with. I want to shout out my IBF and my personal spiritual guru Wisdom Born. She pushing me past my limits, and exposes me to new heights. Last but not least, I want to shout out all the supporters of Nika’s Naturals. The ones who have been with me from the start and those who have just caught onto the wave. There would be no Nika’s Naturals without your continued support and requests. I am so grateful to all the people who have played a role in this growing business.
Other: Feel free to catch my weekly show every Sunday at 8pm EST on WDRBmedia. You can find us on Tune In or the iHeart radio app.