Quantcast

CURLS Founder Mahisha Dellinger Went From Poverty To Penthouse

BOSS UP

If you are a big fan of the OWN network, you might have seen Mahisha Dellinger's face around recently as the new host of the television show Minding Your Business with Mahisha.


Or, if you are a product junkie that indulges in the best of the best for your natural, you might be an unknowing supporter of her hair care empire, CURLS.

In fact, Mahisha built an astounding $15 million brand and owes it all to her risk-taking ambition and disadvantaged upbringing. Mahisha was willing to take chances where others saw risk and with knowledge obtained through her 9 to 5, she single-handedly paved the way for natural hair care.

The 45-year-old womanpreneur recently spoke with xoNecole about her career journey and shared the secret of how she went from poverty to penthouse.

Born in South Sacramento in an area dubbed "Danger Island" to a young single mother, it's safe to say that the cards were never dealt in Mahisha's favor. "I was my mother's second child by her second boyfriend. The first was a pimp. The second was a college educated Tuskegee University graduate who deemed her unworthy to marry," she told xoNecole.

Mahisha learned self-dependency at an early age. With her mother often working or away from home, the CURLS founder was tasked with taking full responsibility for herself at only 7 years old. "I witnessed everything from drive-bys (my home being a target on multiple occasions due to my brother's gang activity), home invasions, and murders, pimps and prostitutes… Friends pregnant by 15, while some of their brothers didn't make it to see 18. My first sexual experience wasn't by choice, [it] was by gunpoint at the age of 14. I was a young single mother destined to be another statistic."

It was then she had to make the decision to be a leader, or to be inevitably led into poverty, and the young entrepreneur refused to fall victim to the latter.

Mahisha learned that growing up on the rougher side of the tracks was as much a gift as it could have been considered a curse. In her position, she saw personally how generational cycles of poverty plagued the community, neighborhood, and even her own family. From that point, she was determined to take control of her life and break free from the cycles that surrounded her, and she knew that there was only one way to make this happen.

To her, an education was the key to unlocking that freedom. "I took control of my destiny, my legacy, [and] my kid's legacy by finishing my education," she explained.

After finishing school, Mahisha had an idea that would fill a void for curly haired naturals, women of color in particular, and would change the natural hair game forever. In 2002, CURLS was born. It was a risky move, as this was the cusp of the naturalista wave and black women embracing their natural curls hadn't yet been widely accepted as it is today. Mahisha did her due diligence, researched her market and put her extensive chemistry background to good use. As a result, she was able to benefit from launching early, long before the wave hit.

www.hypehair.com

As a seasoned vet, it is common knowledge that entrepreneurship isn't all it's made to seem on social media. After almost two decades in the game, Mahisha shared a few lessons with us that she feels every entrepreneur should know before jumping into the arena. "Your chances of failure are FAR greater than succeeding [because] 80% of businesses fail by year five. Don't let Instagram fool you into thinking the grass is greener on the other side, they just used a filter," she continued. "Entrepreneurship can be extremely lonely. You will have to sacrifice fun for funds if you want to grow your business."

Although African American female-based businesses are on the rise (up 300%), only 4% make it to the million-dollar mark, which is where Mahisha's new series Mind Your Business with Mahisha comes in to lend a hand to aspiring entrepreneurs.

She is proof that where you come from doesn't determine where you're going and is committed to taking up the torch and lighting the way to bridge the gap. Mahisha might have come from poverty, but thanks to her relentless faith and determination, she and her whole family are living it up in the Penthouse.

And she's still good on any MLK Boulevard.

For more of Mahisha, follow her on Instagram.

Originally published on September 10, 2018

Kissing is such a fascinating thing — to me. The reason why I say that is because, if the person you are exchanging a kiss with is someone who is good at it, it can be the sexiest, most special and most exhilarating thing ever. On the other hand, if they aren't so good — it's just gross. I don't know about y'all, but kissing is such a big deal in my world that I once broke up with someone, in part, because they totally sucked at doing it. It was like, no matter how hard I tried to explain to them what I needed in order to feel like we were in "kissing sync", they would continue to go off and do their own thing. All over my face (yuck).

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

We have witnessed Halle Berry go through many ups and downs in love, but it seems like she may have finally found the one. The Bruised star is dating R&B singer Van Hunt and she spoke with ET about the love in her life during ELLE Women in Hollywood Celebration at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which took place on Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they spend it.

Samari Ijezie is the creator of The Female Economist, a platform created to challenge and disrupt the stereotypical gender norms within the financial industry while educating millennials of financial literacy. However, before founding this financial literacy company for women and marginalized millennials, she had a career in fashion and style as a model that started in her preteen years. Though she briefly kicked off her modeling career at the age of fourteen, it was short-lived because soon after high school, Ijezie decided to go off to college but later had to drop out during her freshman year due to not receiving financial assistance in the next term.

Keep reading... Show less

Many people love October for the new fall fashion fits, changing weather, and never-ending horror movies. And while all of those are valid reasons, there's another one that should be added to the mix, the fact that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Like many, cancer has impacted my family personally, and I'm well aware of the forever effect it can have on individuals, loved ones, and survivors. That's why I appreciate that this month serves as a personal reminder to donate, foster community, and volunteer toward a fight that affects so many of us.

Keep reading... Show less

There's that old wives' tale that sex before a sports match is a major no-no for athletes, but when it comes to us everyday folk, consistent lovemaking does the mind and body good. In fact, sex and productivity can actually go hand in hand. A recent multiple-university study found that professionals who had sex the night before going into work had "more positive moods" that increased work engagement and job satisfaction.

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Adrienne Bailon Wants Women Of Color To Take Self-Inventory In Order To Redefine Success

"You can't expect anyone else to care about yourself like you do."

Latest Posts