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Meet Gabrielle Barlatier of The Blk Hairstory in Fort Lauderdale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabrielle Barlatier.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
It started with my own friends. Many of them began going natural and I had an idea to celebrate them with a photoshoot for black history month in 2018. My friend and photographer Guethshina, Gval Photos saw the vision and we made the magic happen. They all shared the photos on social media which led me to create my own Instagram page so others can get the concept behind the photos.

Eventually, I realized I wanted to see more of what we created on not only my friend’s pages but everyone I followed. It seems like being natural has become such a trend that we only think influencers can pull it off, but I want all women to feel comfortable enough to embrace their natural beauty. So, for this past black history month 2019, we hosted four free photo shoots for natural haired women and men.

To commemorate the month, I planned to host a brunch and hair paint party. Eventually, I decided it was more practical to extend the projects year-round. Then came the “The Blk n Bubbly Brunch”, a monthly meetup for black millennials. The last Sunday of each month, we meet up at a local restaurant in different respective cities and engage over topics from adulting to natural hair care and share our professional/creative niches. This mixed with our favorite brunch antics makes for a pure, enjoyable vibe where attendees leave feeling welcomed, celebrated and empowered to step into their next month. I also believe in networking across, rather than just upward. This month we’re brunching, but next year we could be business partners. Therefore, the brunch is intended to spark connections and promote collaboration among current and future black leaders, brands, entrepreneurs and influencers.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest challenge is dealing with my own self-doubt. From an early age and now 21 years old, sometimes I question my audacity to dream so big, to expect so much of myself. However, there’s always been this nudge in me that urges me to go within, dig deeper, and accomplish more. Though I’ve dealt with anxiety and feeling insecure on several occasions, I found that tricking myself usually will alter my mindset. Since I am a reflection of those I surround myself with, I counter this by being around others who motivate me or inspire me. I’ve found the more I step toward my passion, the louder that self-doubt may get; but, the more I ignore it, the bolder I become in the face of it.

So, breaking out of my comfort zone has been my way of proving to myself I can do whatever I commit to. I never made a flyer, I learned how to use Canva and Adobe. I never ran an ad, I YouTube’d it. I could not afford a photographer or videographer, I invested in a camera or networked for services. Diving into this creative space has brought more out of me than I expected of myself. I had to tap into my creative side for solutions. I let go of my ego by releasing the idea that I have to have it all together to present to my audience. I now know I don’t. I just have to have care enough to put in the work.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Blk Hairstory story. Tell us more about the business.
I was a preschool substitute teacher for the school year, but currently I am in between side hussles: Uber, Tutoring, doing hair, and Amazon FBA to name a few. Come July, I will graduate with my bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education and minor in Business Administration from Florida International University.

During my collegiate years, I was known for my active presence in the Haitian community during my tenure as the president of the Haitian Student Organization. My joy is in supporting and adding value to my community. I find myself often volunteering, organizing events, or networking in the community because I am so inspired by the collaborative work that is being done and even more motivated for all that is left to be done.

Do you feel like there are certain traits that increase the likelihood of success?
I do my best to extend grace to myself often. It takes practice. Whether writing my affirmations or taking a moment to just adjust healthy vs harmful thought patterns, I remind myself that I am human and always doing the best I can at the time being. Ultimately, this grounds me. I understand there is always someone who has gone through worse, yet still handled it with grace; so I can too.

I also believe gratitude is this electromagnetic superpower that precedes success. It helps me think of my circumstances simply, yet abundantly. When I remember the simple things, my mom, family, health that I have to be grateful for, I end up facing my fears and saying “yes” a lot more often, leading to more opportunities and abundance.

These values continue to shape me. It is the inner work that precedes what some would call “success”. For me, it’s my foundation and I am excited to continue building.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Gabrielle Barlatier, founder @gabisoux_, Guethshina Altena, GVal Photos, @gval_photos, Yaniz Ubillus- Gonsahn @yappinyan, Ashley Derinor, @by.bnwa – (me in pink top)

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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