What inspired our first video interview with Miss Niya of Cleanlocs?
When I started this blog I was at a cross-roads and was simply trying to find the things that inspire me. Today I know what inspires me is meeting people and discovering who they are and what motivates and challenges them. I knew I wanted to sit down with Miss Niya in person and record her interview because her personality would truly be lost with words alone. It is always terrifying to challenge yourself and try something new. I’m not going to lie, my butt was scared. I’ve always loved hiding behind the camera or the words on this blog. However, the world is changing and video tells much more compelling stories than I ever could. So please take a look at our first video installment of Inspired By, featuring Miss Niya of Cleanlocs.
Where does the Cleanlocs story begin?
Miss Niya: It begins where I started washing friend’s hair before I even had locks, Then I unfortunately found myself in a crappy situation that I needed to get out of and I didn’t have any money, so I needed to find a way to make money on my own so I decided to start washing hair in my bathtub.
In terms of washing hair in your bathtub, was it everybody’s hair or was it always locs?
Miss Niya: Always just locks, yeah I realized from washing a couple of friends hair that there was like this unknown epidemic of gunk and build up in people’s locs and the first time I did it I thought it was just that guy. Then I did another head and I was like whoa he has it too, and then I did another one and I was like oh my gosh, its everywhere!
What inspires you?
Miss Niya: People, just people in general. Everyone has a story, everyone is different, everyone has their own kind of unique ingredient that they add to this pie we call life. Just from learning from other people’s hardships I guess I’ve always been able to kind of take the experiences of others and try to apply them to my life without me having to go through the same things and I like badass women like Eartha Kitt, even Oprah…Who else’s do I find inspirational…I like women who fight back and just don’t take it, you know what I mean? I guess maybe that speaks to me because that’s exactly what I had to do in order to get where I am right now.
What are you most proud of?
Miss Niya: I’m proud that I broke the stereotype of the system because I also came up with the notion that to take assistance from the government etc, makes you less than, you know. Sorry grandma I have to shout you out too but like I would grow up and my grandma’s like only welfare recipients sleep past noon. But everybody needs help at some point in time and I think that society as well as the government does such a tremendous job of making people feel guilty for accepting a handout if they need it that they discourage people from ever really moving forward in the ways that they need to. I’m most proud that I had to humble myself and take the assistance; I had to humble myself because I found myself in a situation I never thought I would have found myself in. I was in like an unfortunately abusive relationship and I’m always preaching you know women’s strength etc. So it was kind of embarrassing for me to even have to admit that. So I humbled myself there and then I had to humble myself again when I accepted taking government assistance. I realized that you know, shout out to big black Lincoln; you have to pimp life you know, those are things that you’ll never get back from the government unless you ask for it. You know, when you retire they’re not going to be, Oh Gina, you actually never took EI (Employment Insurance) in your life, let’s just give you all this money back, that’s never going to happen! So, I had to bring myself out of my own comfort zone and make the best of everything that I had. And I saw the ways that I could use the tools that were given to me to push forward; with my end result being that I’m pretty sure my ex-boyfriend still has boss and I don’t!
What keeps you going on do you want to quit?
Miss Niya: Probably my OCD, I can’t help it and to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever had a day since I started that actually did feel like I wanted to quit. Which is an awesome thing to say seven years later.
What’s been your most important lessons in business or life?
Miss Niya: Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it applies to both areas. In business, I guess the clearest thing for me was knowing that shit was going to happen. I just didn’t know what the shit was going to be, but being mentally prepared for whatever said shit would be was enough to keep me going. Because you’ll come across times when you’re like why is this just not working out? This regulation thing isn’t working, that person said they’re going to send me an email, and it can become very overwhelming, but just knowing that stuff’s going to happen and you’re going to get through it on the business side and I guess yeah the same thing would also apply to life you know, shit’s going to happen it’s just about a matter of how you manoeuvre your way around it.
What advice do you have for someone out there who may be in a similar situation and trying to figure it out?
Miss Niya: Do something, it doesn’t matter what it is, just do something. It doesn’t matter how small it is just do something. If you want to be a chef, cook a meal. You don’t even have to give it to anybody, just
do something, and as you start doing things, you’ll bump into the other hardships and you’ll bump into the
things that don’t make it work, but all that does is force your brain to do a little bit more work, and get you
thinking and it forces you to be creative. What’s that guy with the movie he took the pill and he can think his way out of anything that’s what you’ve got to do, you know just know that you can think your way out whatever said problem is and have faith. Blind faith, like really blind, like you have no idea how it’s going to happen but you know that it’s going to happen. That will carry you really, really, far.
How do you balance it all? (life/work)
Miss Niya: I think that when you finally land on work that you like it doesn’t feel like work, so there is less of a need for you to actually balance anything because it just balances itself out you know I have the benefit that if I have a bad day I can take a day off however I also know that if I take a day off I don’t get paid you know so I think that’s all I have to say about that.
Is there a book that changed your life?
Miss Niya: My life in general or business life?
Miss Niya: My business life would be the E-myth because that forced me to kind of check myself in a couple of ways. It basically just talks about the fact that most people think that because they have an idea they can be all the components of a business. When in reality you’re probably just excelling in one, and it shows you the ways that you can look outside of yourself to get the things that you need, and just letting go of the fact that you can’t do all of it on your own, well. In terms of just life in general 1984 by George Orwell, that shit just opened my eyes up, we were supposed to read it in high school and I totally didn’t read it. Then I ran into a high school friend of mine, who I secretly fell in love with like after we were in high school because he’s just so fucking smart, shout out to Nolan even though you never big me up, and he gave me that book and he was like you know, I won’t tell you anything about it, but once you read the book you’ll never look at life the same. At the time we were going through an election so it just was kind of like parallel to each other, and it’s true I never looked at life ever the same again. So I can’t tell you exactly what it’s about either, but you should read it!
Thanks again to Niya of Cleanlocs for taking the time to sit down and chat with us. You can follow her Instagram page here.