We had the good fortune of connecting with Shondrika Cook and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shondrika, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was solely thinking in faith. I found myself out of a job after my mom had a stroke and was in the hospital, so I asked God if I should just branch out and get my own space. He said yes, and I had to have faith that I would be fine, especially starting with no clients.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art comes in the form of a service I call the Black Unicorn Experience. It’s a service where you can get a set of vividly colored braids or twists, going beyond natural hair color. Unlike most braiders, I offer this service specifically for those wanting a totally different color on their head. Whether it’s some warm oranges or some cool teals, I’m dedicated to bringing that hair vision to life.

Building awareness of my specialty service is still a work in progress. I’ve made a name for myself among my peers and some of my clients, but it’s not quite widespread yet. Some people like colorful braids only in the summertime, but my goal is to have my audience thinking about vivid colors year-round, for every mood, season, and holiday!

My biggest lesson I’ve learned is the power of good old consistency. Constantly showing up as a brand on social media is so crucial to my business. It literally makes or breaks who can find me and how I can best serve them.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I tend to be a low key lady, so some of my favorite spaces have such a chill vibe. First off is Brass Tacks for coffee and a little bit of breakfast. Next is Sawyer Yards, where my salon is actually located! Nearly 400 artists have their studios in this area, so checking them out (especially on Second Saturday) would bring some good art into life.

If the weather is nice. Axelrad is great for drinks and just to enjoy the sunshine on a hammock. But if we want to wine down, Pur Noire Winery is the place to go. Aside from their great wine tasting, they have events throughout the week, like Game Night!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My friend, Brittany, and my old co-workers, Jocelyn and Hectaryna! My co-workers first encouraged me to start doing hair, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to eventually have a career in my degreed field. But then Brittany encouraged me some time later, and I listened. I gave it some thought, did some research, and decided to enter the hair industry.

Website: the-natural-shoppe.com

Instagram: naturalshoppehtx

Facebook: The Natural Shoppe

Yelp: The Natural Shoppe

Other: Tiktok—@thenaturalshoppe

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.