#WaveCrushWednesday: Lexi Frame

This week’s #WaveCrushWednesday is Tulane student Lexi Frame. Lexi is a freshman currently majoring in performing arts and psychology major. In her spare time, Lexi runs her own small hairstyling business while also making lip scrubs, selling her visual art and selling soaps with her mother online. She uses her business-oriented mindset paired with a creative energy in order to successfully market her skills and engage in the Tulane community. Lexi was chosen as this week’s #WaveCrush because of her positivity, originality and persistence.

What kinds of hairstyles do you do?

Pretty much anything. I started transitioning into natural hair when I was a sophomore [in high school]. Then I started going on YouTube and figuring out what type of natural hairstyles I could experiment with on myself, so bantu knots, bantu knot outs, twist outs, braid outs. I’m currently doing box braids on myself, so that’s a pain in the butt. Then cornrows … Senegalese twists, Havana twists, Marley hair. I like doing crochet braids because I find that it gives you a lot of flexibility with whatever you can do. I can do weaves if someone wants me to, but I don’t do them on myself, but that’s because I don’t want to buy the hair.

How was the process learning how to do different kinds of hairstyles?

Trial and error. I don’t have any qualms about figuring it out on my own … But honestly, a lot of it was finding a natural hair community online. There’s different websites that are there where there’s just a lot of people empowering others and encouraging them, figuring out what products we need to use, what different hair you can buy and everything.

Are you interested in running a business in the future?

I would be pretty comfortable running a business myself … My mom makes soaps, and we’ve started an Etsy online shop … In my room, I started making lip scrubs that I’m thinking about selling and marketing here. I’ve been pretty comfortable branching out and selling things that I can do. I found that it’s a really convenient way to make a profit when it’s something that I can do, and not a lot of people can do. I know back home … there are people around where it’s like “oh well, I heard from this person that she does hair.” Then you go to her house and she’ll do your hair and you’ll pay her and everything. But down here, I found that it’s more of like “Oh well, your cousin can do your hair.” …This is an interesting place to start because not everyone knows how to do their hair. It’s like as far as a business point of view, this is a good market because there’s a lot of African Americans here and there’s a lot of people with natural hair, and then if you don’t have cousins who can do your hair, who’s going to do it for you? I feel like I could go into business … while I’m here which is nice because it’s something that I actually really enjoy doing.

Could you go more into depth on how your background shapes where you are now, your success thus far with braiding hair and your interest in it?

Back at home, there weren’t a lot of other black people for me to talk to other than my family … I realized there’s a lot of cool styles out there for me, but there weren’t a lot of people around me who I could either experiment on or ask questions to or about or anything. So really a lot of it was, as I said, YouTube and then doing it on myself and figuring out how that would translate to my own head of hair. Then being in a whole new place has been really cool … I can market here because there’s a community of black people here that I can branch out to and make friends with. I feel like braiding hair is actually a really social thing that people don’t really think about. There are people who I’ve only talked to like twice around campus, but then you’re braiding their hair, so you’rw by default forced to spend five hours with them. It’s actually really effective in building communities, which I wasn’t aware of and I wouldn’t have been aware of if I didn’t come down here, because in Connecticut, it was just me doing my hair, my sister’s hair, my mom’s hair, and then showing it off to my hairdresser because I was proud of myself.

Apart from hair, what else are you interested in?

I love to act. I love to sing and dance … I found out that I like dancing here at Tulane because I was never in dance before. But I also like to read and write. I do visual art, but I’m not planning on majoring in it because I don’t think I can get those credits in. I love to paint … I could go into business with pretty much anything, but I don’t want to join the B-school. When I first got here, I started selling some of my artwork online … I would rather make money off of my hobbies than have to do actual jobs.

Have you learned anything from doing other people’s hair that’s not necessarily related to hair?

I grew up in a small town that was predominantly white. But that small town and my high school, they brought in students from the city and they were black, so there was kind of a distance between myself and them … I distinctly remember … In one of my French classes one of them was like, “I’m the only black person in this room,” and I was like, “Um … hello?” and she was like, “Well you don’t count.” I guess she was going off of the idea that I didn’t grow up with the same experiences as her, but there’s a lot more to being black … It distances people and it divides people up and it plays into stereotypes when you’re thinking, “Oh, well black equals ghetto or black equals city life.” But then when I came down here and I started doing other people’s hair, I met people and I found out we connect on so many levels. But it gives me an opportunity to reach out and talk to people. And also learning marketing skills and like using your connections, like how can I talk to all these people and figure out what type of hairstyles they want and if they want to actually get it from me or from someone in Baton Rouge — that type of thing. So then you have to set up competitive prices, and I’ve realized that it’s definitely a niche market that I can play into because as I’ve mentioned there’s not natural hair salons down here. I never thought about for myself as a particularly business-minded individual, but it was a cool opportunity to see where I could go with that.