Name and where you’re from
Lenise Robinson. I’m originally from Trenton, NJ but was raised here in RVA.
My natural hair journey started by accident 10 years ago. I had always wanted to shave my head and after serving in Baghdad with the Army, I decided to do everything on my bucket list. My hair was the 1st thing to go! Since I loved it so much, I just didn’t go back. I actually did relax my hair once, but it only lasted for 3 weeks before I shaved it back off. So, this became my routine; grow it long, shave it off, repeat. I’m now in a grow it long phase.
What are your favorite hair care products
That’s tough because I’m constantly changing my regimen so I can give good recommendations to my guests. Right now, I love the Squeaky (deep cleansing shampoo), Rich & Funky (moisturizing shampoo), and Supercurl (moisture creme) by Uncle Funky’s Daughter, the Detangling Leave-In and Deluxe Pomade by Naokeidoe Creations, and the EcoStyler Gel with Argan Oil. My favorite oils are coconut oil, which I use too deep condition, and avocado oil to seal.
What is your go-to hairstyle
It really depends on what length my hair is at the moment. Right now, I like the individual twists b/c I get better definition on my short hair. When my hair is longer, I love flat twist outs.
What advice would you give to a woman that has a hard time embracing her natural hair
1st, don’t compare your hair to others’. We ALL have something unique about our hair. Figure out what that is and how to nurture it.
2nd, figuring out what works for you can take LOTS of trial and error. Don’t get discouraged. It’ll be well worth the work once you’ve figured it out.
3rd, and most important, transitioning starts on the inside. The above means nothing if you haven’t 1st committed to the commitment. You have to be willing to accept that you may not have slick-me-down, J-Lo edges, or that in planning your week, heck your life, you have to consider your regimen. It’s work and the sooner you wrap your mind around that, the better off you’ll be.
I co-own Canvas the Salon along with Jevata Herman, my long-term mentor & friend. We pride ourselves on having a salon that caters to every facet of hair care except braiding (for now) and nail care. So, we cover the gamete from cuts & color, relaxers, extensions, and natural hair services to manicures, pedicures, and make-up services too. We offer retail products that support our guests in their home hair care, between services. We’re also a training salon so we offer apprenticeships, mentoring, and training for our support staff.
What advice would you give to new entrepreneurs
Define your brand early on in your planning process and be intentional about it. Your brand will drive every decision you make around your business from staff choices to the events you plan or associate your business with.
Ask for help. Sure there will be unchartered water, but a mentor can help you steer clear of mistakes they made on their journey.
As women we wear many hats, how do you maintain a healthy work/life balance
First, lots of prayer! I was actually getting this all wrong. I worked whenever and wherever I could get something done, but it just left me scatterbrained all the time. Recently, I made the decision to stop working on Mondays and dedicate that time to personal development. I have a standing personal bible study session, I cook and clean, I exercise, and I take time to rest my mind. For me, the mental exhaustion is worse than the physical so this has truly been a blessing to me. With bible study, I’m learning that we women don’t have control over as much as we’d like to think, and God is somewhere just laughing at us for thinking we do. lol
Second, I say NO. I use my brand as a guide for work-related decisions, and I use my sanity for non work-related. What I’ve learned is that people understand that you can’t be everywhere all the time.
Lastly, my son always reminds me to slow down! So, when I’m with him, I do my best to be as present mentally as I am physically and he calls me on it if I’m not. lol
What were some of the obstacles you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome them
Becoming a full-time entrepreneur was a career change for me. So, I’ve had to work through managing my time better. When there’s no one setting your hours for you, you have to be very disciplined about how you spend your time. Most of my days are planned out in advance so I know when I have gaps of time to get administrative work done.
Tuning out negativity is something I’m still dealing with. There are people who won’t see your vision (which is why you can’t share it with everyone) but what I’m actually referring to is your internal negativity. Sometimes, we can talk ourselves out of something before we even consider it. Jevata taught me this lesson a while back and it still lives with me…don’t think of 10 reason why you can’t do something, think of 10 ways you can make it happen. It’s really all about perspective.
What does ‘Natural Power of HER’ mean to you
NPH embodies the very reason I sought a career in the beauty industry. Watching women go from being afraid to even touch their hair to seeing them grow to a place where they are at home trying different products and techniques, and giving me feedback means I have done my job. Having a movement like NPH in place empowers women with the encouragement and the tools to not only begin but to sustain that internal transformation that happens when you embrace your true self.
It has been an honor to work with the ladies of NPH on Naturals Got Soul and to now have them on-board for my upcoming hands-on twist class, Twist & Talk.
How can we contact you
You can find me here…
For more info on my twist class, visit:
…and Canvas the Salon here…
FB: Canvas the Salon
*Lenise Robinson of Canvas the Salon is responsible for all of the styles seen pictured in this post. To book an appointment with Lenise Click here