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From Jump Rope Instructor to Mogul: Big Chop Hair Founder Melissa Etienne Shares Her Story

Avatar • Aug 9, 2016

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Big Chop Hair, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are our own.
Big Chop Hair Founder, Melissa Etienne, is the stuff entrepreneurs are made of. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to chat with her and learn more about how she has grown Big Chop Hair into one of the the leading kinky-textured hair extensions companies on the market.

BGLH: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
BIG CHOP: Well first I’m a mother. My baby is 7 months old, and my older son is 5. Everything I do is for them. I also come from a large, tight-knit Haitian family. I grew up valuing hard work and family. It’s pretty much what drives me. I was also born and raised in New York City.

BGLH: When did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
BIG CHOP: I’ve always been an entrepreneur. From as far back as I can remember I’ve always been selling something. Before I began selling hair extensions, I was a jump rope instructor.

BGLH: Wait, a what?
BIG CHOP: I know, it sounds crazy, but yes. I would go around to different gyms and teach people how to jump rope. Before that, when I was in college and high school I would sell clothes. And when I was a kid I’d sell candy.

BGLH: Wow, so what made you get into the hair extensions business?
BIG CHOP: Big Chop Hair is 4 years old, but before that I was selling straight hair extensions too. I’ve always loved beauty and fashion. so it made sense to be in selling something related to beauty.  Plus, we all know Black women love their hair.

BGLH: So why kinky-textured hair?
BIG CHOP: I went natural so it made sense to transition to hair extensions that I could wear myself. I don’t really draw the line between myself and my business. I am my business so it all kind of flowed together naturally.

BGLH: So now you’re 4 years in the game and more and more kinky-textured hair companies are creeping up. What sets you apart from the others?
BIG CHOP:  One thing about me is I try not to pay attention to my competition. I feel people know me. They know my family and my kids. I don’t separate myself from my business. I don’t feel like I need to hide who I am. I am the face of my brand. I share my personal life as well as my business life with my Big Chop Beauties and I think that is what makes me different from everybody else. I’m a real person.

BGLH: Who are your “Big Chop Beauties?”
BIG CHOP: I don’t like using  the word “customers.” It feels really impersonal. I think all women are beautiful, so when they wear Big Chop Hair they become “Big Chop Beauties.”

BGLH: What’s next for Big Chop Hair?
BIG CHOP: I want to start interacting more with my Big Chop Beauties and potential  Big Chop Beauties. I had a huge tent at CurlFest this year and it was insane, but in a good way. I love getting up close and personal with fellow beauty lovers, so I think there will be more of that in the future. More events and networking, for sure.

BGLH: Any advice for would-be entrepreneurs?
BIG CHOP: Put faith first, and then find whatever you are passionate about and stick with it. You also have to find time to disconnect. When you are a business owner you never stop. It’s 24/7 and sometimes you do have force yourself to stop to re-boost, pray, spend time with your family. Running a business and being so involved in your business can really drain you. Find time for yourself.

Be sure to use the coupon code BGLH to save 10% off of your next order on www.bigchophair.com.

Check out these four super easy styles you can create with Big Chop Hair Clip-ins:

Kinky Curl Clip Ins

Blown Straight Clip Ins

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About Lisa Jean Francois

I'm a Lipstick-obsessed Journalist and Fashion Blogger. You can find me over on my blog or youtube channel swatching lippies and strutting around in 5-inch heels. I'm a also a brand coach, specializing in video marketing and digital brand development. Find me @lisaalamode.

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TWA4now
TWA4now
4 years ago

These are nice clip ons.

notimeforignorance
notimeforignorance
4 years ago

She says she doesn’t pay attention to competition, but a few months ago she decided to blast Her Given Hair in a few ig posts because the owners weren’t black, which they never proclaimed to be. I think she believed her fans would be on her side, but instead everyone was asking why she decided to do that (of course, posts were deleted). I am a strong supporter of small businesses, especially female owned businesses, and the pettiness is why I decided to unfollow.

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[…] a black owned brand. Owner, Melissa Etienne, started the company in 2012, and now runs it […]

Aenh71
Aenh71
3 years ago

Terrible experience with big chop hair. This fraud scam pushing products to brand ambassadors needs to stop. Low quality product. She can’t guarantee quality. The company should not be in business.

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