A conversation with Nikisha Brunson on creative entrepreneurship
July 22, 2016 at 2:00 am
Nikisha Brunson is the cofounder of Urban Bush Babes and Pineapple Life. She is also the owner of Folie Apothecary, a 100 percent natural hair and skincare line. She was made in Toronto, Canada, raised in Brooklyn, and moved to Austin, Texas at the age of 30. She is a Christ follower who has been diagnosed with ADHD and General Anxiety Disorder, and spends her days as a wife raising a teenager with ADHD, renovating their first house, cooking, doing DIY, sifting through antique goods, looking up the latest in homeopathic health info, listening to a ton of music at ignorant levels, collaborating creatively with her husband and pretending to be a comedian.
Living a healthy life on a holistic level has been a priority for her ever since the diagnosis of her son’s ADHD. It just so happens she was diagnosed later on, so she was already on the right path to living her best life. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in childhood education, and loves to teach what she learns along the way.
Blavity’s Creative Society sat down with Nikisha for a conversation about her passions and creative entrepreneurship, read what she had to say below.
Blavity: Tell us about the early stages of Urban Bush Babes, how did the blog catapult you in a new career direction?
Nikisha Brunson: “Cipriana and I started the blog in 2011 because we got into a conversation about our natural hair, and I asked her if she’d be willing to do a blog with me where we can share our passion of taking care of our hair. It turned into giving women of color a platform to share who they really were through the arts to help break the stereotypes that are made through entertainment and media. Then the blog evolved into lifestyle content. We became popular very quickly because we were doing something very different, we also added the vintage aspect of fashion, which no black hair bloggers were doing at the time, and the blog became very popular very quickly.”
B: So many of your followers love your blogs on Pineapple Life and love following you on Instagram because of how informative and health conscious you are, tell us more about how and why you developed a passion for healthy living?
NB: “When I was in undergrad, I was naturally interested in psychology, I loved the mind and how it works and I’m obsessed with people’s personalities and why they are the way they are. I found out my son had ADHD and how important diet was to his ADHD. I also realized I had a really weak immune system growing up and I wanted to strengthen that, and I wanted my son to have a healthier life style. So when I found out I had ADHD (I also struggle with anxiety and depression) it just made me go really hard on the healthy living aspect, because it affects our minds and bodies so much.”
B: Something I also appreciate about your content is that there are many women of color, black women in particular, who wouldn’t have access to this type of information if it weren’t for blogs like yours. How does it feel to know you’re doing something you love and also empowering your readers?
NB: “It’s part of the reason why I’m so passionate about doing it. Growing up in Brooklyn, I went to school right across the street from the projects, and I learned a lot about how our communities lack access to information. That’s [why] I’m so passionate about sharing what I know. I feel very blessed to be able to influence lives. Although I’m working more than I ever have, it doesn’t feel like work because I’m doing something I love.”
Sometimes you can have an “ahha!” moment after talking with your friends or witnessing an ongoing harmful trend. And after that moment you realize you were getting sucked in too or even became apart of the harmful trend. As a social media influencer I believe it’s our job not to perpetuate the bs. Like perfection, and the illusion of the lavish life. We shouldn’t have to use ring lights for selfies, or apps that make our skin look smoothed over like a cartoon, or taking pics and videos in a house that’s not ours to make it look like we are living it up. This is so harmful, it’s not honest, and creates an illusion for the people who follow us. Be real with where you’re at, your process is what is most important. If you start creating an illusion it only perpetuates this idea of perfection which does not exist. It’s not reality. which in turn has other people comparing their lives to yours and makes them try to achieve something unrealistic. So I’m starting with me and my influence over others. I hope you start with you too. It’s the only place to start. #keepitrealkish #imgettingBrooklynOnYall #letsbehuman #keepit100 #athomewithnikisha
B: Tell us more about why you started Folie. What makes you passionate about natural skin and hair care?
NB: “Part of having ADHD is that we’re all over the place and we get bored easily. And I recently learned that I’m a very hands-on tactile person, and I also realized I’m very creative. I realized that I love cooking, I love ceramics and pottery, I love any DIY project, I love interior design. Anything where I get to use my dual spacial intelligence I can do for hours. With my Apothecary line, I started worrying about my health, I want to be healthy and fly and I want to teach other women of color how to be healthy and fly too. My skincare line grew out of my love for DIY and I wanted to create a line for women like me who care about what we put on our bodies. I love making things and there’s something magical about making things for other people. It’s my way of giving back to people.”
B: What advice do you have for young creatives and entrepreneurs?
NB: “Its always harder than what you think. Most of us tend to romanticize things and we aren’t really sure about the ground work that needs to happen on the day-to-day, we just see the end results. Especially when looking at other people doing the things we want to do. We don’t see the frustration. Know that it’s going to be harder than what you think. You have to be able to be honest with yourself and ask yourself what your limitations are, and if you’re going to able to handle the aspects of what entrepreneurship brings. You have to be decisive, develop thick skin. Try to do something different that comes from a really passionate place, do something because you think its your purpose. It takes discipline to make money off of your creativity.”