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:: SPOTLIGHT :: Bon Bon Vie” founder, Shari Neal (GIVEAWAY!)

1. How did you get started in the world of design?

I was never formally trained in design, but I always liked to draw and stuck with it throughout middle school and high school. In college even though I was a Journalism major, I learned how to use Photoshop and Illustrator and got a campus job doing graphic design. I had a few advertising art direction internships after graduation and even though I eventually became employed as a web developer, I continued to do freelance design outside of work.

2. What was the inspiration for “Bon Bon Vie”?

Bon Bon Vie was inspired by a lot of things. Entrepreneurship was something that was always in the back of my mind. While working at my job as a web developer, I felt like I was lacking a creative outlet. I wanted to go beyond my freelance work and create something that was completely my vision.

The name also kind of fell into my lap. A friend of mine introduced me to the song “Bon Bon Vie (Gimme The Good Life)” by T.S. Monk. The song was released in 1980 and I wasn’t really familiar with it, but I really loved the song and the lyrics. When I started my business a few years later, that name was in the back of my mind. The overall theme of my brand is the “Good Life” so I thought it fit perfectly.

3. What’s your natural hair story?

I went natural about 3-4 years ago. At the time I knew little about going natural and I didn’t have a plan. All I knew was, I was tired of getting relaxers. I never had bad hair breakage, but I always got terrible scalp burns from them and I was kind of fed up with the process and the pain that came along with it. So before I knew it, quite a few months had passed and I was dealing with 2 hair textures. Only then did I begin going online and searching hair blogs for inspiration.

I transitioned the entire time by cutting off a few inches of relaxed hair every 4-6 weeks. I was afraid to do a big chop at first and whenever I got the nerve and went to a salon to get it cut, the stylists would always talk me out of it because my hair was long. So, I just took that as a sign that transitioning was my best bet.

My current regimen is very simple. I wash and condition once a week. I mostly do twists, twist outs and buns so I’m not constantly manipulating my hair. For me, less is more.

4. Any advice for those thinking about going natural?

I would tell them to take time to learn about their hair. I spent a lot of time and money on products when I was transitioning because they worked for other people. Just because something works for everyone else does not mean it will work for you. I’ve also learned that expensive products are not always better, for me the ingredients are what matter. My current favorite products are by Shea Moisture, they have wonderful ingredients and won’t break the bank.

Going natural is definitely a game of trial and error if you are unfamiliar with your hair texture without a relaxer or constant straightening. There were many days I was frustrated and completely at a loss about what to do with my hair, but I am so happy I stuck with it. You may also get frustrated, but don’t quit! It gets much easier with time.

5. Any advice for those looking to branch out in the world of graphic/web design as a profession?

Since I am mostly self-taught, I don’t think school is necessary to be successful at design, however it is something I wish I had done. If you want to be a designer, it’s extemely important that you understand the rules and fundamentals. So if going back to school is not an option, take advantage of internet resources and books and fond a mentor if you can. Most importantly, practice and practice some more! Find friends or family you can design for or make up your own projects to build up your portfolio.

6. Anything else you would like to share with our Natural Chica readers?

You’re all beautiful :) Thanks for reading my story and good luck to everyone who enters the tee giveaway!

Website: http://www.wearbonbonvie.com

Twitter: @sharibonbonvie

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/bonbonvie

Tumblr: http://sharibonbonvie.tumblr.com

Instagram: sharibonbonvie

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sharibonbonvie

So Shari was kind enough to send me one of her classic “Bon Bon Vie” tees, which I love!…


Shari is also giving the opportunity for one lucky Natural Chica reader to win a Vintage Natural Tee & Retro Chic Tote from her line!

(Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below to enter)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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{ 33 comments… add one }

  • Shatrina wolf April 5, 2012, 3:14 am

    I am living the good life when i have a balance of work play and time with the family.

  • Bailey April 5, 2012, 9:10 am

    Living the good life means living true to you. Fully enjoying & appreciating who you are, who you are not, what you do, who you love, those who love you & how you look & feel.

  • Tiffani K April 5, 2012, 9:14 am

    Living the good life is experiencing joy, abundance & prosperity in every aspect of my life. No area is lacking or at diminished capacity…

  • Ernestine Jennings April 5, 2012, 9:15 am

    much love for all the T shirts… look great ladies !!!

  • Sharde April 5, 2012, 9:26 am

    The good life just means everything is going well!!!

  • Anne Hill April 5, 2012, 9:31 am

    Livibg the good life to me means not trying to live my life for or to please everyone else. Being who God created me to be is the best life I could ever live

  • Sharonda S. April 5, 2012, 9:34 am

    Living the good life means you are free to be you! You take the ups with the downs and experience all of the joys that simply being alive has to offer.

  • Kaniece Summers April 5, 2012, 9:38 am

    I am living the good life when my daughter tells me I Love You mama out of nowhere. She makes my day!

  • Tracy P April 5, 2012, 10:22 am

    Living the good life should come naturally I live the good life daily :-)

  • Evelyn April 5, 2012, 10:36 am

    Living the good life is when the everyone at home is healthy and happy.

  • JacquelineM April 5, 2012, 11:00 am

    Living the Good Life means living life to the fullest and being the best person you can be (even when no one else is looking). Love Life!

  • Joie H April 5, 2012, 11:03 am

    With a first name like “Joie” I should be living the good life! To me it’s being able to express myself with my words, hair and clothes. It’s being surrounded by love everyday and interacting with people who see the good in things

  • BrookErin April 5, 2012, 11:19 am

    Living the Good Life means being truly happy with who you are having no regrets but learning from all mistakes. Waking up each morning thankful for a new opportunity to make steps forward and better yourself.

  • Jessica N April 5, 2012, 11:57 am

    Living the good life means existing as if today is your last day!

  • Tala April 5, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Living the good life means living your life to the fullist. Putting God first.Loving yourself and knowing who you are and everything else that is purposeful in life will follow.

  • Chishinga April 5, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I’m living the good life when I wake up to see a new and brighter day, walking purposefully and joyfully in the plans God has for me. : )

  • Songine' April 5, 2012, 1:38 pm

    Living the good life to me means living life to the fullest and not regretting anything.

  • Vashti P April 5, 2012, 1:46 pm

    Living the good life to me means living with passion while fulfilling God’s purpose for your life :)

  • Chelsea April 5, 2012, 1:56 pm

    Living the good life mean you are happy and fulfilled in every area of your life. You’re not stressed, you’re eating good, no money or honey worries. LIFE is BLISSFULLY AMAZING.

  • Jenny M April 5, 2012, 2:48 pm

    For me living a good life is enjoying every moment you share with your family and friends, find the balance you need in the work and home, improving a good health knowing what’s good for your body, and loving yourseft! <3

  • Denita H April 5, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I am living the good life when myself and those around me are healthy, happy and prayerful.

  • Keshia M. April 5, 2012, 8:45 pm

    Living the good life to me means that I can have a career that pays me well, but is something that I enjoy doing. Having the freedom to hang out with friends without having to worry about the money I spend in doing so. Enjoying time with my family, and having the love of a man that loves me even more on my worst day.

  • Kanzas G April 5, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Living the good life is when you don’t let the little things stress you.

  • DLee April 5, 2012, 9:43 pm

    Living the good life is utilizing your talents, pursuing your dreams and embodying your purpose everyday.

  • Autumn h. April 6, 2012, 11:07 am

    Living the good life means to me that i am happy and doing what I love each day

  • Lillian Vernell April 6, 2012, 3:56 pm

    Living the good life is all about family and yourself. Doing what you love, whatever it maybe, and enjoying time with your most loved ones.

  • Kimberlaya April 6, 2012, 10:08 pm

    Every morning I can take a breath, I’m living that good life!

  • DreamchaZer1920 April 8, 2012, 3:37 pm

    Living the good life means, chasing your dreams!!

  • Krystel W April 8, 2012, 10:00 pm

    Living the good life just means being happy and being surrounded by the people you love

  • Angela April 9, 2012, 9:01 pm

    The good life to me is God, Faith, Family and Love!

  • Tiffany April 10, 2012, 9:31 am

    I think living the good life is taking time out to appreciate the small things and making lasting memories.

  • Erin Brown April 10, 2012, 10:57 am

    I need that tank in my life! I was recently introduced to T.S. Monk’s Bon Bon Vie (thanks, satellite radio) and it is definitely become a staple in my iTune playlists! I like what this sister has going on. Going to site to order now!

  • Tomeshia McKenzie April 10, 2012, 8:05 pm

    Living the good life for me is when you’re satisfied with what you have and being content without any major things to worry about.

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