You know the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, that phrase describes Raechelle Bright. Despite enduring some hardships that would cause one to quit or want to give up, Raechelle kept persevering. Raechelle is a Philadelphia based hair stylist and certified lash technician, as well as CEO of Chelle Slays It, and R.Marie Collection natural product line. Keep reading to hear her amazing story!
1. What led you on the path to becoming a hair stylist?
My path to becoming interested in hair began at age 8. I will be very honest, my mother was heavy handed, my hair was thin, I was tender headed, and she was hurting me! She was a licensed cosmetologist so i would watch her with her clients and then go try it on my dolls. Eventually I would practice on myself. I was braiding my own hair by age 10 and curling my hair at 11. In high school my passion for hair grew and I was now doing classmates and friends. I knew I was supposed to be a stylist.
2. What were some trials you experienced while building your brand?
While building my brand I experienced a few trials. one being me getting discouraged after having to start over. I decided to stop doing hair after getting sick, so it was a struggle getting back into the swing of things. I sat down for years because my body could not handle anything, I was physically weak. and mentally drained. I had no plans of doing hair again. mainly because I felt like everytime I would feel ok something would happen to put me right back down. kida like the road blocks were always there. prayer really helped me during this time, it got me through what I thought would kill me.
3. You have shared that you have Crohn’s disease. For those who may not be familiar, what are some symptoms of Crohn’s and how does it affect you specifically?
Crohns Disease is an inflammation of the small intestine. It affects everyone differently. Some common symptoms are stomach pain, rectal bleeding, weight loss, loss of appetite. I personally experienced everything and more. My stomach pain would honestly feel like someone was inside my stomach twisting my organs. it was the worst pain ever to go through at any age.
4. What made you want to share your journey with Crohn’s?
My main reason for wanting to share my journey is simple……….. I had no one to look at when I was first diagnosed. There was no Instagram or people I could follow to help me learn my way around this disease. I was 16 when I was diagnosed and let me be honest I was extremely scared. I was going into my senior year of high school and to hear that I had a disease was not an easy pill to swallow. I had no one to talk to , yes I had my family but I also felt like no one knew how I felt. sharing my story was to help me deal with it and to also help people who are dealing with Crohn’s Disease silently. I also wanted to educate people who knew nothing about the disease.
5. Why was it important for you to start offering classes on styling?
I started my classes because I saw a need for our youth to learn. a lot of my clients had children that were eager to learn. I wanted to give these kids something they could use, something that they were happy to learn. So many young girls always ask why I like doing hair, or how I started. Everyone is always so shocked to hear that I started at such a young age. I wanted to give these girls a class where they can come learn the basics and also get some of my tricks, and have an open conversation about life in general.
6. Tell us about your product line, the “R. Marie” collection.
R. Marie was introduced in august of 2020. I had the idea of starting a product line for years and kept putting it off due to personal reasons. R .Marie was brought about with my clients in mind. I wanted to give everyone that VIP salon treatment at home. I created an easy to use system that anyone can use. The collection is perfect for all hair types. Each product has its own special qualities which will leave your hair feeling amazing.
7. What are two lessons you learned while expanding your brand beyond styling hair?
The two biggest lessons I learned were “do it scared” and “don’t rely on support from the ones closest to you”.
8. What advice do you have for upcoming hair stylists who are discouraged by not maintaining consistent clientele?
Some advice I could offer would be to not get discouraged when your clientele is not where you would like it to be. it takes time! You will not wake up with a book full of clients, but understand they will come. I had to start over more than once and trust me there were days where I wanted to quit but I knew that this was my passion so I had to be patient. The clients you have now work on keeping them, make sure you are offering a quality service. Customer service is so important and a lot of times a determining factor in whether a client will return.
9. As an entrepreneur, how do make sure you incorporate self-care into your schedule? What do you like to do when you have free time?
Self care is extremely important. I have learned to incorporate it weekly, whether it be a coloring book (don’t judge it is so soothing!), a hot cup of tea and my notebook, my bed and a good series, or shopping lol. I appreciate my self care and understand why it’s needed so much more now. you need to relax and realign yourself! you can’t be any good to anyone if you can’t be any good to yourself.
10. What do you think your clients appreciate about you the most?
My personality. I absolutely love doing hair, it’s my passion so I want my clients to feel that when in my chair. It’s an experience to come sit in my chair and my clients will tell you that. We are gonna laugh, cry, tell stories, get advice, dance, tell jokes, and dance some more! you are going to get Chelle in the best way possible.
11. What part of your journey has been the most rewarding?
The most rewarding part of my journey has been seeing me smile. Now that may sound selfish but lets really think about what I said. My most rewarding part has been seeing me smile. I haven’t smiled like this in years. My smile represents growth, releasing negativity, overcoming depression and anxiety and learning to deal with it, leaving unhealthy situations, finally doing what is best for me and that’s turning my dreams into reality. I tell people the secret to my journey and getting through it is praying to Jehovah everyday. Plain and simple. Another one of the most rewarding parts is realizing that Jehovah has kept me and continues to keep me, he has never once left me alone and made sure that I was safe. Prayer.
12. You have persevered and not allowed Crohn’s disease to stop you from building and expanding your brand. What has motivated you to keep going and what advice can you give others who are impacted by a chronic illness?
My motivation has come from my journey. When I was sick and had to leave my job I was forced to take a step back from everything that I wanted to do. No hair, no product line, no dance classes……. nothing. I told myself when I was to ever get better that I would do everything I set my eyes on and wanted to accomplish. And I meant it. I wanted to keep that promise to myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could crush these goals that I had written down since grade school. My advice to anyone battling a chronic illness is to not let it stop you. You are allotted bad days and days where you don’t want to talk about it and that’s ok. Take the time you need to get yourself together. Pray, meditate, practice self care, but never get so down that your illness takes over. Take control of your emotions and watch how your mind and body work together and make things so much easier. life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. grab life by the horns and ride it out!
Raechelle has taken her brand to new heights, one slay at a time. Her story is nothing short of inspiring and a reminder to trust the journey. Raechelle has not let her battle with Crohn’s Disease deter her from crushing her goals. From wanting to do hair at 8 to starting her own hair care line, Raechelle has demonstrated that determination will take you far. You can follow her on IG @chelle_slaysit!
Photography: Creative Minds Productions