Yolanda Brown is an Army veteran who is selling hair care products in a specialized vending machine at Fort Belvoir as a franchisee of the Black-owned Diva By Cindy brand.
Cindy Tawiah is the CEO and founder of Diva By Cindy, which is a healthy hair care enterprise. She created hair vending machines that permit customers to independently purchase her company’s signature products. In an exclusive interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, the Maryland resident shared how she successfully restructured a portion of her business, despite pandemic challenges.
Before the pandemic, Tawiah had been selling a total of approximately 13 hair products at a kiosk in BWI, (Baltimore-Washington International Airport) in Arundel Mills Mall, online via Sally Beauty Supply, and via Diva By Cindy’s website. The former registered nurse discovered that entrepreneurship and empowering women is her true passion, per The Baltimore Times article. Additionally, “a percentage of the proceeds from items sold allows her to offer beauty days for domestic violence survivors through the 501(c)(3) nonprofit the Diva Project,” according to the article.
Tawiah explained to BLACK ENTERPRISE that she shifted her business model to focus more on online sales, due to pandemic-related closures and foot traffic interruptions. She also decided to inquire about launching a Diva By Cindy vending machine at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.
“They were very responsive, and were even more welcoming when they discovered a veteran (Yolanda Brown) would be the owner-operator of the machine,” Tawiah said. “Ms. Yolanda Brown is a veteran who joined me two years ago as a franchise owner/operator of a Diva By Cindy automated vending machine. During COVID, her first machine at Arundel Mills Mall was inaccessible because of malls being closed. Upon reaching out to Fort Belvoir, they agreed to bring her machine on base to provide the Diva By Cindy natural alcohol-free hair care products… The goal is to offer this franchise opportunity to servicemen and women, so they can not only earn residual income but have a business that is automated and scalable.”
During the BLACK ENTERPRISE interview, Brown shared that she is an Army veteran and small business owner who specializes in acquisition support services. Brown came aboard as a Diva By Cindy franchisee because she liked the products.
“They work for me, and I used them on my daughter’s hair and fell in love with them,” Brown said. “When the opportunity to go to Fort Belvoir came about, I was thrilled because I had served there as a soldier, and now will have the opportunity to serve the soldiers and the community in a different way.”
Brown knows the benefit of soldiers having access to products like what she offers, “because it is hard getting good products for our hair when overseas.”
The veteran told BLACK ENTERPRISE that she will host events and demonstrations when pandemic restrictions lift. See the machine and product demos by clicking here. Learn more about Diva By Cindy products or franchise opportunities by clicking this link.