This story was originally published on iewbc.org.
Mariatu “Tu” Browne discovered her passion for hair at the early age of 9. She used to braid hair in her home country of Sierra Leone. Fast forward to California in 2006, where a generous investment from a friend helped her open her first salon, Tu’s Studio Hair Design. A series of personal hardships, coupled with the onset of an economic downturn, forced her to close her doors.
Honing her skills
Tu did not give up; she had bigger plans. She continued to improve her cosmetology skills by working at other salons, and went back to school. Tu obtained an AS in business management from Chaffey College. Later, she earned two bachelor’s degrees with concentrations in Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing from California State University San Bernardino.
In the fall of 2015, Tu enrolled in the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center‘s “It’s Your Time: Entrepreneurial Training Program for Women” (IYT). Tu was always positive, generous with support to other participants, and keenly focused on achieving her goals. She completed the program in December 2015 placing second place in the business plan competition.
Hard work pays off
In pursuit of her goal, Tu began searching for a space in Rancho Cucamonga where she could open an organic hair salon. With a small start-up loan, she persuaded a salon owner who wanted to close to sell her a shop. Tu Organics Salon and Spa opened in October of 2016.
Tu Organics prides itself in offering a non-toxic salon experience. They work with the world’s first professional hair color, care and styling line with biodynamic, organic and fair-trade ingredients.
The single mom worked to overcome significant handicaps in her effort to develop a business plan, organize the funds, and implement the plan to have her own salon. She struggled through all the difficulties that a new business owner must overcome to reach success while balancing work, family, and school.