Aminah Green, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, always knew she wanted to be a hairstylist. For years, she would practice braiding on her dolls and was working at a local hair salon by the time she was a teen. Fast forward to the summer before the pandemic, and Aminah—now an expert in Locs, Locs maintenance, and natural hair care—went out on her own and launched I am Aminah Green, a Loc specialty salon in Union. But while the pandemic could have squandered the growth of her business, Aminah took it as an opportunity by offering online tutorials and webinars for Locs and maintenance, as well as Scalp Love, a product line for Locs and natural hair. We caught up with this very busy Avenel mom of four to find out the inspiring mantras she learned as a child, the best advice she has for starting a business, and the Montclair ice cream shop that’s worth the 40-minute drive.
Aminah, the owner of I am Aminah Green and our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, was a vendor at the NJ Natural Hair & Beauty Expo.
Tell us a little bit about your family background. My husband, Craig Green, and I have been married for 11 years. Our blended family includes Yanaisha, 24; Kiara, 16; Craig Jr., 12; and Mark, 9. Growing up, I lived in East Orange and Irvington, and I’ve always gone to school and lived and worked in the same community. Still, in the middle of quarantine, we decided to move to make a move to Avenel–I love that it’s a place I’ve never been, which means new people, new experiences, and a new pace of life.
Was owning your own business always the plan? Hair has always been my passion, and owning a salon has always been my goal. I started braiding at five years old. Watching my mom braid all three of her daughters’ hair every other week, I started picking up my dolls and practicing on them. My sister had a friend who owned a local salon, and I was hired as their shampoo girl when I was only 12 years old. I got my license at 19 and worked for someone for almost a decade until I had Craig Jr. when I started working from home for a few years. Then, one of my clients invested in me as a business partner for a natural hair salon, which I did for a while. I always knew I wanted to be a hairstylist, but I became a master loctician and launched my own business in 2019. I haven’t looked back.
You launched your business shortly before the pandemic. How did such a new business survive, and how has it changed since you first launched? I found I am Aminah Green in August of 2019, so when the pandemic happened, I knew I needed to add to it to help me get through the hard times. I’m a good saver, so I started by using my savings, and I also did a fundraiser with my clients to help me stay on top of my bills until we were allowed back into the salon. To help with growth, I added a product line, Scalp Love, and online tutorials, consultations, e-books, webinars, and more.
Our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, Aminah Green, with her very supportive family (left to right) Yanaisha, 24, Mark, 9, Craig Sr., Aminah, Kiara, 16, Craig Jr., 12, who have been known to come together to help her get everything done, including lifting heavy items that need to be moved, painting and passing out flyers.
How do you balance your entrepreneurship with raising a family? My business is much more popular than I expected, and though I don’t believe that a perfect work and life balance exists, I think that you can get closer to that by setting boundaries. I don’t work Mondays and Sundays, and I have an assistant that helps me with scheduling and organization. And I’m so busy that I’m looking to expand, so I’m in search of an apprentice right now.
Was there anyone in your life that served as an inspiration? When I was in 8th grade, my math teacher would always say nothing beats a failure but a try which has stuck with me to this day. With everything, how will you know if you don’t put in the hard work and try your best? I also often say little by little becomes a lot. I didn’t take clients with me when I left the salon I was working at to start my own business. That saying served as my motto, and I built my clientele up from one person at a time.
What are the best and most challenging things about being an entrepreneur? The best thing about having a business is that I can live on my own terms. That doesn’t mean I don’t work hard—I work harder for myself than I have for anyone else, but I never have to ask for anyone’s permission regarding time off or making a business decision. That freedom is priceless. Also, this business is so much more than just doing people’s hair and making them feel good about themselves. People open up and share their lives with me, including their best and worst moments, and I cherish those relationships we build together. The most challenging thing is to have continued faith in yourself to make it as an entrepreneur. If you don’t believe you can do it, every molehill will feel like a mountain, and you won’t make it past the rough times.
Aminah with her complete line of Scalp Love products, Scalp Love Hydration Mist, Scalp Love Soothing Oil, and Scalp Love Stimulating Oil.
What do you hope your children learn from seeing you have your own business? My kids have seen my business grow from mustard seed, and I know they’ve learned that it’s possible to have an idea, put it out into the world, work hard, and see it grow and flourish.
What are some of your favorite NJ businesses? My family and I will travel about 40 minutes to get ice cream from Kreme & Krumbs in Montclair—it’s that good! I always get the big fresh-rolled waffle cone and experiment with flavors because they switch them up all the time, and they’re all delicious. Another favorite place is Blended Flavors, a Caribbean Soul Food-infused restaurant in Linden. Being a blended family, we want to spend time with everybody, and it’s pretty inside, so it’s great to eat there. One of my favorite dishes is the rasta pasta with teriyaki jerk salmon. Another great place for the entire family is Sweet T’s in Montclair. We especially love to go for Sunday brunch when they have live music—it’s nice for the kids to enjoy a different family restaurant experience like that.
Please share some places in NJ that you and your family enjoy. We are big on going to the movies and are big fans of the AMC in Linden because it’s super convenient location-wise. And for a family event celebration at the movies, we’ll do them at Cityplex 12 in Newark because it’s easier for the family to come together. We also love Dave & Buster’s because it’s a no-pressure place where the kids can relax and run free. Sharing meals as a family is one of my favorite things to do because everyone is relaxed at the dinner table and we can catch up on what’s going on in their lives.
What’s your best piece of advice for a mompreneur just starting? Just persevere and keep going. You’ll get there.