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Local Entrepreneur Makes Hair Care History In Airport, Creates Franchise Opportunities

Andrea Blackstone | 2/8/2019, 6 a.m.
After working as a registered nurse for 13 years but feeling unfulfilled, the domestic violence survivor left the nursing profession ...
In 2017, Owings Mills, Maryland resident Cindy Tawiah opened and operated a successful kiosk at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) selling her Diva By Cindy hair care products. In October 2018, she launched the first natural hair care vending machine at a major airport, “Heaven 1,” which is located in Concourse D at BWI. Tawiah is now offering franchise opportunities for Diva By Cindy hair care products through vending machine locations. (Above) Prince George’s County resident and first Diva By Cindy franchisee Yolanda Brown (left) with Cindy Tawaih (right) founder of Diva By Cindy hair care products standing in front of the “Heaven 1” vending machine. Courtesy Photo/Cindy Tawiah

When government workers were recently furloughed, interest in uncovering small business ideas seemed to soar.

Individuals who had never considered entrepreneurship began thinking creatively to alleviate financial uncertainty. Trailblazing women like Cindy Tawiah are an example of what is possible when vision, taking action, remaining persistent and having faith combine over time.

After working as a registered nurse for 13 years but feeling unfulfilled, the domestic violence survivor left the nursing profession to pursue her dream of opening a hair salon and developing hair care products. Back in 2003, even though Tawiah was denied many bank loans and locations to lease, the determined Owings Mills, Maryland, resident kept pressing forward until doors opened for her business venture, “Diva By Cindy.”

“Overcoming obstacles and persevering is key for those who want to be a successful business owner,” Tawiah said while noting how she recently made history in an airport.

Since the strict TSA (Transportation Security Administration) guidelines for carrying liquids, gels and aerosols in carry-on luggage became effective in 2006, many passengers have had their beauty products confiscated going through the security line. Tawiah to the rescue! She identified a need and came up with a solution.

In 2017, Tawiah opened and operated a successful kiosk at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). By October of 2018, Tawiah launched the first natural hair care vending machine in a major airport.

Diva By Cindy hair care products may be used on all hair types, including both natural and chemically processed hair. The product line consists of 13 different formulations, which include a moisture system and a growth stimulating system. The products may even be used to address hair loss resulting from chemo- therapy, thyroid medication and high blood pressure medication.

“The vending machine is located inside the terminal on Concourse D, and has our two ounce styling products, as well as full size products,” Tawiah said. “When we first launched in October, we spent a few hours a week showing passengers how to use the machine. Now they are actively approaching it, and taking pictures, and sharing their finds with us. Our machine is called ‘Heaven 1,’ and she is shared on Instagram and Twitter by Divas who meet her. We have women and men buying our (Diva By Cindy) products.”

Ten percent of proceeds from Diva By Cindy products are used to help homeless women as a result of domestic violence. A day of beauty, which is held twice a year allows the women to receive pampering services, including: facials, massages and hairstyling.

The growth of Tawiah’s brand is on the horizon. Recently, Diva By Cindy hair care products were launched in select T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores plus a new moisturizing product for curly hair called “Kurl Pop” will be launched very soon.

Additionally, Tawiah is branching out to help others seeking opportunities to enter the beauty business with a few independent, sales representatives who purchase her products wholesale and sell them to generate revenue for themselves. She is also offering franchise opportunities through Diva By Cindy’s automated concept. A new vending machine location is already in the works.

Tawiah says she has reached another milestone with her first franchisee, Yolanda Brown who will be located at Arundel Mills.

After using Diva By Cindy products and loving them, Brown wanted to be a part of Tawiah’s entrepreneurial venture. Now, the Prince George’s County resident and first franchisee has the chance to be mentored by Tawiah and an opportunity with great potential.

“We have recently joined forces to franchise Diva By Cindy Hair Care Products in a non-traditional way. Mrs. Cindy has revolutionized providing hair care products [and by] mid to late March 2019, we will launch the second vending machine that provides quality hair care products with ease of use,” Brown said. “This is the way of the future for beauty products, and I am excited that Mrs. Cindy chose me to be a partner of a groundbreaking opportunity. We are excited about inspiring and encouraging women to be bold and confident, and that starts with how they feel. Diva by Cindy hair care products are great and your scalp and hair will tell it all.”

For more information about Diva By Cindy’s products or to explore business opportunities, visit: www.divabycindy.com.