Houston-born Gabriella with The Muse Babe excels at digital creation, influencing, inventiveness and in 2021 is expected to launch products into the commercial beauty industry with a focus on hair extensions and accessories. As an inspiration to all with her many digital brands, the Black businesswoman of Denver is pursuant on broadening Black centered hair products to ensure all diversifying needs are met — even across nations as she has high hopes of eventual expansion in additional countries.
“Most of the Black hair care products on the market are not Black-owned. That’s why I feel like it’s so important for Black women to start and launch their own brand,” she told 303 Magazine. With Black beauty products constituting a trillion-dollar enterprise, The Muse Babe will represent a new way of doing business. “I will strive to differ from these other brands because my mission is to celebrate and empower Black culture through my products. I want to show the world what it’s like to be an unapologetic Black girl.”
READ: 303 Style Profile – How Young Entrepreneur Gabriella Wesley Found Her Home and Style in Denver
This eclectic, confident and bilingual boss babe destined for success is a glorified representation of a successful and thriving powerhouse Black woman living her best and truest self. Here, The Muse Babe talks us through her new endeavor, what haircare means to Black women and how the fashion and beauty industries can be improved upon.
303 Magazine: Tell us about your creative journey of forming The Muse Babe.
The Muse Babe: It all started in my dorm room where I began selling hair products. I used a receipt book from Walmart and girls would give me $300-$400 in cash. I was making so much I knew I had to start a legitimate business so I brainstormed a couple of brand names. At the time phrases like “Glam doll,” “diamond,” “princess” and “icandy” were trendy but I wanted something different. The word “art” kept coming to my mind, so I googled literally “words related to art” and the word MUSE came up. When I saw the definition of it I was like omg that’s me. Actually, that’s the true definition of a Black girl — we are muses. So I named my company The Muse Universe and I decided to give myself The Muse Babe as a stage name.
303: How would you describe The Muse Babe as a brand?
TMB: It’s a Culture lifestyle brand, that is specifically focused on Beauty Culture. The Muse Babe is a space where I can not only be transparent in sharing my raw beauty, fashion and lifestyle experiences with the world but it is also a space where I can make women (especially those that look like me) feel empowered to do and be whatever it is you wanna be. If you’re a hot girl be that if you’re a city girl be that too!
303: In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement and the unequivocal need for equality, how are you using your platform and brand to elicit support and momentum for the Black community?
TMB: I am so glad you asked this because supporting the Black community has always been a mission that has always been near and dear to my heart. I’m originally from Houston, Texas and my father owned one of the first Black corner stores in the historical Third Ward Area. The reason he started his business was because he was a grocery store manager at another establishment and he went into work with a pair of special boots and his boss called him the N-word and told him to take off the boots and give it to his son or he wouldn’t have a job. He quit and started his own business and was highly active in building his community. I’ve always been extremely pro-Black, people always laugh at me when I say “I’m a REAL Black girl” my friends are always like “I’m Black too” in the back of my head I’m like no, “I’m BLACK BLACK” and I say that because I’ve always been raw and unapologetic in my approach to serving as a vessel in my community. I am using my platform to not only raise awareness but also bring change but most of all justice to Black people who have been affected by 400+ years of oppression. We are more than just a hashtag and a black square and as a real Black girl, it’s my job to ensure that we are treated equally.
303: In addition to being a Black style influencer, you have a new beauty project in the works that focuses on hair extensions and accessories. Describe the process of how you began to concentrate on those specific products in the beauty industry.
TMB: The hair industry has always been a positive force in my life. Especially as a young Black girl you see everyone around you with different styles, colors, lengths and textures. I’ve always felt passionate about the hair industry because I feel like it gives women the ability to be whoever they want to be. I literally have a wig for every occasion. Every time you see me I look like a different person and it’s because my hair has changed drastically. I wanted to give other women the same experience as well. I wanted to give them the experience of BEING THEIR OWN MUSE. As far as the accessories, well it’s my way of expanding my brand (wink, wink).
303: What motivated and inspired your venture into the hair market?
TMB: I was inspired by my community, and I also saw a need to create products that were high quality and ethically sourced for women that looked like me. Most Black beauty supplies are Asian-owned and if we are being honest their customer service is below average, it sucks. But the gag is — they know that no matter how they act, Black women will spend lots of money on their hair, I’m talking $300+ a month. I wanted to create a space where Black women feel celebrated and empowered to do whatever they want with their hair.
303: Please describe the importance of hair within the Black community and what it means to you.
TMB: Hair means everything to the Black community! Hair in the Black community represents freedom and value. The expression of your beauty through your hair has always been a signature of Black culture. Back in the day, it was hard for Black people to come by grooming products and other basic essentials, so when slavery was over Black people were able to present themselves in a way that made them feel valued. There is rich culture and history behind every Black hairstyle, a lot of people don’t know that cornrows were used as an escape map from slavery so when it comes to hair in the Black community it’s art for us.
303: How large of a responsibility do you feel to ensure your products are ethically sourced, made of high-quality material and supportive of nondiscrimination?
TMB: It’s a big big big responsibility of mine because a lot of the huge Black haircare brands use ingredients that are extremely dangerous. Not only that but those brands don’t care about the quality of the materials because they know the power of the Black dollar when it comes to beauty products so they throw anything together, package it nicely and put it on the market.
303: Many current conversations are focusing on diversity within the fashion and beauty industries. How can these industries ensure BIPOC are accommodated and served appropriately?
TMB: They need to start by paying Black people exactly what they deserve for their creative ideas. A lot of the indie brands have emerged because there wasn’t a seat for us at the table, so we created our own. Also, I think the industry needs to make a conscious effort to be inclusive and diverse. Pay Black people, hire Black people, celebrate diversity.
303: Where can customers find your hair extensions and accessories, and what types of styles and trends can consumers expect to find?
TMB: For now they can find my products at The Muse Babe. I am doing a very soft launch on my blog. The Muse Universe will fully launch in 2021 so stay tuned because it will be amazing. As far as the products you can expect to see a variety of colorful wigs, unique trendy hair accessories, hair tools, protective hair products and maybe even luxurious fluffy long lashes!
Find The Muse Babe products here.
Photography by Jenna Sparks Photography.