:: 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!…

AND

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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