Meet Alex Harrell, better known as Mama Shye. Harrell curated the brand of ‘Mama Shye’ in 2017 when she was 38 weeks pregnant with her first-born daughter, Zara. She was mixing clay wash, a shampoo product she used regularly and decided this needed to be shared with the world, and that was the beginning of her journey. Mama Shye is a one stop shop hair care brand, “created to inspire, motivate, and bless our community with experiences they just won’t get anywhere else. We supply your beauty needs, all natural hair care products, and community events to bring family together,” Harrell states.
Mama Shye, who has always had a deep love for hair, shares, “Something about hair brings a calm to my spirit, and this has always been the case since I was a little girl. I always dreamed of owning a hair salon or beauty supply store, and being a part of hair shows. Once I stepped into adulthood and carried my first child, I knew it was time for me to bring this childhood dream of mine to life and bless the world with amazing products and events that are created from love and intention of inspiring others.”
Harrell has lived in South Central for the last 14 years and giving back to the community has always been very important to her and the brand. Recently, she was dealing with a medical expense for the well being of her daughter and she knew her family needed some extra cash. Instead of looking at the financial aspect of the matter and asking where the family needs to cut back, she altered her thoughts to “how we can create financial abundance.”
The idea of hosting a yard sale came to mind, recalls Harrell. “I recognized how blessed we are to have a yard, and how many other parents and people in our community face these same issues of needing some extra cash, but do not have the luxury of hosting a yard sale. I instantly knew that I wanted this to be for the community.”
Mama Shye spun your average yard sale and hosted a ‘Black Girl Closet Yard Sale’ implementing music, art, complimentary wine and allowed Black girls to be vendors on her own front yard.
As Harrell frankly states, “Let’s be real, who doesn’t want to shop for items from a Black girl’s closet?!” Black Girl Yard Sale has a deeper meaning than your average yard sale. The purpose is to bring awareness to the lack of privilege that the Black community has and to hightlight her capability of sharing her space and allowing likeminded people to have the chance to make extra money.
After coming up with the idea, executing was the next step. By collaborating with the Mama Shye team – Nicole Kurtz, Jhalia Smith, Caelyn and Cailyn Abbot, Miles Kurtz, and Jasmine Thompson. Everyone pitched in to bring this idea to life by creating designs, donating clothes, creating flyers, and helping with the setup and break down.
Each team member reached out to friends, family, and co-workers to bring awareness to what they were doing and asked if they would be interested in being a vendor or donate items to sell. Harrell states, “New relationships were established that day that will continue to grow, and that really just made this experience full.”
Mama Shye will be hosting another BGYS later in June, the date to be determined. “Unfortunately, zoning laws only permit two yard sales per year, per address. We are currently looking to expand Mama Shye’s Hair Care and get into a building within the next year. At that point, we will have the space to make BGYS a monthly ordeal,” says Harrell.
Being an entrepreneur has taught Harrell to trust herself. Many decisions made with starting her own business have been trial and error, but it has all been a lesson to help her move forward. “Being an entrepreneur is no easy task, but is so rewarding,” insists Harrell.
She has also learned that running and growing a business is not something you can do alone. You must have a solid group of individuals in your corner whom you trust with your vision and are ready to build.
Mama Shye says, “My team is incredible, and I know that we would not be where we are without their continuous support and work put in.”
To shop Mama Shye, please visit www.mamashye.com.