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