We’re back again to continue the second season of Behind the Magic series. The goal is to go behind the scenes of amazing brands, minds and movements to get a glimpse of the work they do, the value they provide and get more insight into their journey, while highlighting the people who make the magic all possible. Today our spotlight is on Nneka Otim. Not only is she my sister in law, but she’s also a cosmetologist, natural hair guru, the proud owner of a successful natural hair and skin line Green Gold Hair & Body and has done such a great job maintaining such a healthy lifestyle while balancing business and family.
I hope you enjoy the interview and get inspired to not only walk in your purpose, but to do so with grace, style and lots of self love.
1. Can you introduce yourself, what’s your background in and what do you do?
I’m Nneka Otim, founder and CEO of Green Gold Hair and Body. I attended school for dance. When I moved from Baltimore, MD to Los Angeles to continue school, my career as a hairstylist took off and I decided to get my cosmetology license, the rest is history.
I’m also a certified yoga teacher and aroma therapist. Green Gold Hair and Body is an early-stage start up focused on creating quality products for the hair and skin. We aim to address the pain points of hair and skin problems that leave women frustrated and disappointed when using products that don’t do what they promise to do.
Green Gold seeks to change the hair and skin care industry by offering high-quality products for an affordable price by innovatively creating products that are pure, simple and do exactly what they promise to do.
2. What are you passionate about and how did you get into your career?
I’m passionate about healthy hair and skin and creating a space for women to experience authentic self- love and self-care. My career came from doing what I love, taking care of my clients with the best products I could find. When that became a challenge, I started making my own blends to solve their hair and skin problems.
3. How did you know what to do with your life and who’s the one person you’d love to work with?
I have always been an individual who follows her passions. I believe when you follow your passions, everything happens organically. By doing what I love I find myself on new and exciting journeys. I would love to work with Lori Greiner from QVC.
4. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you handle it?
Honestly the biggest challenge was starting my business again. I started it years ago and stopped because I was discouraged after I found out a huge company had bought my name and I could no longer use it. I had to come up with a new name and that was not easy. I handled it by listening to my heart and pushing past my fears. I knew and felt deep inside, I had to finish what I started.
5. The one piece of advice every woman needs to hear, about family and finance?
The advice every women needs to hear about family and finance is trust the process and it’s ok to operate from the heart.
6. Who are your mentors and real-life heroes?
7. Do you believe women can have it all? How do you maintain a good work life balance?
Yes I do, but I believe the individual defines “all”. Trying to maintain a work life balance isn’t easy. Every day I just try my best to be present for all the things that are important to me. Some days are great and other days are chaotic but all in all it’s a very full life.
8. What’s the best gift you’ve received?
The best gift I ever received was a vintage jewelry box from the family I stayed with when I was an exchange student in Germany.
9. If you had 2 super powers, what will they be?
Time traveling and being able to be at thirty different places at one time.
10. Favorite book, movie and TV show? Or Favorite author, director and producer? Why?
Daughters of the Dusk, Cruel Intentions and A Different World. Daughters of the Dusk introduced me to the history of the Gullah people set on the South Carolina Sea Islands at the turn of the century. The story was told so well at times I felt like I was there. My favorite books are books that completely shift my perspective and daughters of the dusk did just that. Cruel Intentions is my favorite movie because of the complexity of each character and the unexpected ending. A Different World was my favorite show as a teenager and it’s been great to watch it again as an adult …very nostalgic.
11. What recently moved you and why?
The Happy Documentary on Netflix. It was a great reminder of where true and authentic happiness comes from.
12. Do you have a bucket list and what’s on it?
No, but I started a list of forty things to do before forty with a friend of mine and visiting a yoga retreat in India is at the top of my list.
13. What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
I traveled to Honduras and stayed at a yoga retreat in the mountains with no Internet and we could only eat off the land, hike and do yoga. We hitch hiked on the back of pick up trucks to get up and down the mountains and used a not so sturdy looking basket on a rope to get from one side of the mountain to another…it was amazing!
14. Last place and best place you visited?
New Orleans and Dominican Republic, for work and vacation.
15. What’s your favorite food and drink?
Honey Wine and I’m a foodie… food is my favorite food lol.
16. What 3 words to describe your style?
Edgy, Modern, Chic
17. If you could raid someone’s closet or go shopping with someone, who would it be?
18. What’s your favorite fall fashion trend?
Over the Knee Boots
19. What’s your favorite fashion icon or designer?
20. What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned in life?
It takes a village. Not just to raise a child but for everything else as well.
21. What did you love most about your childhood?
Having a lot of sisters.
22. One beauty secret every woman should know?
Drinking lots of water is a must for glowing skin and healthy hair.
23. Share 5 tips to healthy skin and hair?
a. I add oil to my facial cleanser; it feels amazing and adds an extra boost of nourishment and moisture.
b. I use Satin or Silk pillow cases. Cotton can dry out my skin and hair at night.
c. Water, avocado and green vegetables are my go to for natural radiant skin. I also use avocado to make a raw facemask.
d. I steam treat and deep condition my hair once a month. I also use a light spray leave-in daily and lock in the moisture with light- weight oil.
e. Of course I add oils to everything! I also add it to my conditioner when doing a deep condition or steam treatment. It gives my hair extra shine and luminosity.
24. If you could switch lives with anyone for 24hrs who would it be?
Oprah…and I would take notes! lol
25. What don’t people know about you? What are you currently obsessed with?
I’m a big kid, I can be really silly and I have a dry sense of humor. I’m currently obsessed with Pinterest; it’s my go to for inspiration whether it’s business, fashion or food.
26. Share what a typical day looks like and what’s the best part of your day?
My typical day starts with getting my daughter to school and through out the day I wear so many different hats. I’m in constant communication with current and potential retailers, manufactures and customers. Other days I’m working on the creative aspects of the business, marketing ideas, social media management and product development. Mostly I’m just making sure every aspect of the business is effective and running smoothly. My favorite part is ending a productive day with my family.
27. What song best describes your personality? What song is a great sound track of your life?
The soundtrack for my life is “I Keep” by Jill Scott
28. What does success in life mean to you? What does it look like?
Success for me is doing what I love, helping others achieve success and giving back to my community along the way.
29. Who or what makes you laugh?
My husband and daughter, both of them are characters.
30. How do you give back in your community and how do you want to be remembered?
I give back in as many ways as I can. Whether it’s mentoring young female entrepreneurs and/or individuals in the beauty industry to only using argan oil made organically in Morocco by a self-sustaining women’s cooperative. To me, giving back can be things we do but also who we are. I try my best to be an advocate and example of self-care and self –love. Regardless of who you are, your background, the way you look or the texture of your hair, each individual deserves and is worthy of a certain level of quality, love and care.
31. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In ten years I would love to still be on my journey, taking Green Gold and the hair and skin care industry to higher heights.
32. Share something new you’re working on? Are there any upcoming events? Future goals?
I’m really excited about the things we have in store for 2018. Our goal is to add more products to the line, body soaps and moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners. We recently secured a beautiful yoga studio as a retailer and want to continue to expand in that area as well as spas.
33. How can people find you and contact you?
You can find Green Gold Hair and Body at shopgreengold.com