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A Dream About Cayenne Pepper Made This Stylist A Million In Under A Year

"What I want to be real is what can be real."

BOSS UP

Sometimes, it's the darkest before the dawn. No matter how cliché that might sound, Stormi Steele is a woman who can vouch for how real those words truly are. Back when she was a junior in college, she was depressed; "Actually, I was suicidal," Stormi clarifies. While to the outside world, she was in school studying painting and photography and things seemed to be going fine, within her something, many things, didn't feel quite right. In fact, something felt very wrong.

"I did what a lot of us do around that age," said Stormi. "I went to school because it was expected of me, but I wasn't happy. Then one night, I had a breakdown and so I picked up my bible, trying to figure out what to do. Three nights later, I had a dream. In that dream, the name of my business and my business statement came to me. After that, it was like everything just took off."

Indeed, it did. In 2011, Stormi realized that becoming a hairstylist is what she needed to do, so she enrolled in hair school. "I wasn't really the happiest with my hair when I was in high school," explained Stormi. "Then, while I was in the military, my hair broke off. While I was in hair school, I tried making a product so that my hair would grow." I could hear the smile in Stormi's voice when she said, "I still have the original bottle that product was in to this day."

Stormi remembers that in 2012, she had $800 to her name but after graduating from hair school and opening up her own salon, she started making six figures.

However, it wasn't until 2014 that she came up with something that would not only change her life, but the lives of thousands of others—a hair serum. One that not only helps hair to grow longer but triggers dormant hair follicles, heals scalp ailments and even treats alopecia (thousands of customers say so). And just how did Stormi get the idea to make the serum? Again, it came to her in a dream. Not the serum specifically, but one ingredient at a time, beginning with cayenne pepper. "When cayenne came to me, at first I thought it was weird," admits Stormi. "Then I looked up all that it could do and I was amazed."

From Dreams to Reality

Photo by Trenton Steele

After taking note of all of the ingredients that she dreamed about, researching how each of them would prove to be beneficial and then playing the process of elimination based on which items blended the best, Stormi began using her 100 percent organic homemade serum on her own hair. Within a year, the quality (and length) of her tresses had drastically improved. By 2015, she started sharing her masterpiece on her social media pages. The serum sold. Her customers remained consistent and loyal. Yet still, something was missing. By 2018—yes, just last year—even though things were going well, Stormi was wearing herself out, putting in 18+ hours at her hair salon.

"I was making good money at my salon, but something was still pulling at me," says Stormi. "People were still asking me for the serum, but because I was making it myself, I honestly didn't have the time to do it. Then, last year, for my birthday, my husband and I went to NY. I went out onto the balcony of our hotel room and stared at the skyline. In my mind, I thought, 'Somebody created all of this.' That was on August 11 or 12. When I came back home on August 16, I decided that I should give the serum my full attention. I created a website, posted a sale for the serum and, within that first month, I made $46,000."

Yes y'all, you read that right. Stormi's hair serum made almost $50,000 in just thirty days. Understandably, she took that as a sign that she should take the dive and go all in with her haircare products. So, she quit styling and, each month, she rolled out something new—the serum, the shampoo and conditioner and so on. At one point, she received so many orders that she made six figures in five days. Now, in 2019, Canvas Beauty—a haircare, lash and brow, and extensions line that she runs with her husband Courtney Beasley—has netted a whopping one million dollars in a year's time. Yep, you read that right as well. A big part of that is by word of mouth from her customers; many claim to see hair growth results in two weeks (some in as little as seven days).

"I've always had a big imagination," says Stormi. "And, after you come back from feeling like you want to die, you don't really have much left to fear. Besides, I tend not to listen to what others say and I definitely don't listen to their fears."

Even though Stormi admits that getting Canvas Beauty to soar has required a lot of sleepless nights, trial and error and still having to hear her mom say, "Don't give up what you know for what you don't know" as she encouraged her to return to school, she has no regrets and is enjoying the journey. "Learning about infusing the oil, mass producing product, meeting the supply and demand of what my company offers, marketing—sometimes it's overwhelming, but I know this is where I'm supposed to be."

How to Make Your Own Dreams Real

Photo by Mauria Moore & Curtis Carrington (Curt Scene It)

And what advice does Stormi have for other women who want to step out on their own dreams?

  • Don't be afraid. "If you've got a vision, you need to go for it. It wouldn't be in you if God couldn't trust you with it."
  • Establish your why. "On the hardest days, it's been remembering why I'm running my company that has kept me going."
  • Learn your business inside and out. "No matter who comes along to help your company to grow, you are the one who needs to be the heartbeat of it. No matter what."
  • Don't be afraid to outsource. "I can't do it all, no one can. I focus on my strengths and have absolutely no problem finding people to help me in other areas. It saves a lot of time in the long run."
  • Support your tribe. "Don't be the person who always needs to be pedestaled. Money and fame are great, but the main reason why you should be doing what you do is so that you can be a part of helping others become who they want to be." (Stormi definitely walks the talk when it comes to this particular point. She hosts what is known as The Dream Girl Society Brunch every August and February. It's a networking brunch for entrepreneurial women.)
  • Stay in the moment. "It's easy to get discouraged if you look too far ahead. Work with what you have right now. If God thought you needed more, He'd give it to you."

I started this with a cliché, so it's poetic that I end with one. Dreams do come true, y'all. Stormi Steele is living proof.

Check out Stormi's products at CanvasBeautyBrand.com. Follow her on Instagram @canvasgirlbeauty and read more about The Dream Girl Society Brunch here.

Feature image by Mauria Moore & Curtis Carrington (Curt Scene It)

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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