Blog - Candice Motley |
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For the last week of 2019, I took an actual break. Shocking, I know, but I chose to take a week off to really not do much of anything so I could just decompress from the whole whirlwind of a year I just had.

Everything from transitioning the studio to be extension-exclusive to having a first time Kindergartener and everything in between. I just did so much this past year and wanted to do something completely different for New Years—I wanted a different temperature, a different country—so I chose Jamaica. I was in complete relaxation mode the entire time.

I took this trip with my friend Nicole, who also owns her own business, and being there with her forced me to have a mindset that I usually do not have. We made a pledge to each other that if we made this space in our calendars, we would have the time of our lives and not let work/life demands take away from the experience. And that’s exactly what we did.

I was a little concerned because we talk about all the things you can and cannot do with hair extensions, particularly when it comes to vacation, but for the first time I threw caution to the wind and just went for it. I went whitewater rafting, I climbed up a waterfall… everything got drenched. I did bring my dyson blow dryer with me, but for the most part I kept my hair in two braids the whole time to prevent tangling.

Since it was super humid, my hair curled up to its natural texture, and I was reminded of why I’m so dedicated to texture matching with hair extensions. Even though I was relaxed and not wearing any makeup, I still wouldn’t want my extensions looking crazy. Having my hair extensions in the same curl pattern as my natural hair meant that no matter what, my hair still looked great.

The entire trip I felt really confident. And that’s something I want all of our guests to feel. I loved being able to look in the mirror and still feel amazing and still feel like this is exactly what I needed and exactly what I wanted the pictures to look like.

Even though I’ve had long hair for a couple of years now it still feels like a dream sometimes, having had a pixie cut for 10 years. I had much shorter hair for a much longer time in my life so it’s kind of crazy to look at photos of myself with hair down to my waist and feel more like myself than ever before. Having hair exetnsions really just puts a completely different spin on your day to day life, vacation, etc. when you just feel amazing the entire time.

And at the end of the day, I had a super incredible New Years trip and came back with no tangles, no dreadlocks, and no hair loss—just a bunch of great memories… and in need of a really good blowout.

This Christmas for me was all about the gratitude feels. I found myself looking back on where I was at this time last year and just feeling so blessed for how much has changed and settled in the last year. This time last year my current house was in boxes and I was in the process of closing on the home I live in now—my dream home. So while Christmas last year was great and there was lots of love, it was also very much a transitional sort of chaos as everything in our home was packed up, there was no Christmas tree, no décor, etc.

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

Having that experience last year led me to be so grateful for every little part of the holiday this year. Christmas felt amazing because I had the opportunity to host it in my brand new house, with everything set up, and see just how far I’ve come in the last year. Every time I walk in the door to my home I feel so grateful.

My kids are going to grow up in this home, their schools are right around the corner, and I’ve really just put a lot of energy into making it go from a house to a home over the last 12 months. It’s such a different feeling from where I was at last year and it has amplified how fortunate I feel to have such a home.

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

Being able to see my kids run down the steps Christmas morning and light up when they see all their presents, and see them experience that in a home I purchased on my own truly made me want to pause to thank the universe for giving me the opportunity to make that happen.

The gratitude also showed up in how blessed I am to have been able to spend time with my family this holiday season. It’s so fulfilling to have your family around and feel that connection with them. Being able to share this holiday with my family in my home is such a huge blessing, and I am so thankful for every moment.

Candice Motley NBR Hair Extensions Images by Amber

I hope you and your families had an amazing holiday season and look forward to sharing more with you in the New Year!

As we move closer and closer to the New Year we are also moving closer to something I have been working towards for most of 2019. My salon, Garnish Extension Studio, is becoming THE East Coast training hub for Natural Beaded Rows Extensions. I am so excited that I can hardly stand it.

I don’t think that I have ever planned for something so long and so hard and so tediously and with as much detail as I have in making sure that my team, myself, my clients, and pretty much everything is ready for 2020. This past year has been full of building, growth, and transition for my studio—all for the greater good of becoming an extension powerhouse.

NBR Hair Extensions

NBR Hair Extensions

I wanted every person on my team to feel completely ready for what we’re bringing to the table in 2020. The education we will be offering inside of hair extensions is not just for my team or even for the area, but will be for stylists all over the country. In order to make sure that we could say that yes we are trained for this and are ready for this, we have dedicated most of the last year to upleveling our training.

We’ve conducted several sessions a week to ensure that everyone felt comfortable with every last aspect of the NBR brand to be able to facilitate our upcoming trainings. You have to be able to live it before you can lead it and we have been embodying that this year.

NBR Hair Extensions

That’s one of the things that 2019 really offered me is to not just have myself show up, but to have my team show up in a way where we are truly specialists. No matter who you see when you come into the studio, you do not have anything to worry about. It’s such a huge accomplishment to have a high-end, amazing, life-changing service that every single person who works with me has been able to pour themselves into. And now when we have people join our team in the future, we already have a standard or benchmark for where we want people to be.

Garnish’s first class will be on the 13th and 14th of January.

NBR Hair Extensions

It will be an intensive for men and women across the nation who want to come and learn the art of NBR. The class will be held at Garnish and I will be the trainer for this event. Because it’s the first event I will be leading, I will be guided by the national head trainer, Anniane. She will be flying into my studio for the very first time. I’ve known Anniane for the past three years so it’s kind of cool to have her in my space to see how we do things.

I can’t wait to have all those men and women pour into themselves for those two days, and to have my staff here helping and answering questions and going around to make sure every person is taken care of. I have such a high level of respect for NBR and what they have provided for me in terms of growth so I just want to be able to help them uphold that and teach that to people on the east coast and beyond. Overall I’m just so excited.

NBR Hair Extensions

We’ve been working our asses off to make sure this goes off without a hitch! If you’re reading this, and are interested in learning hair extensions, I invite you to visit bigmoneystylist.com and check out the education schedule. If you’re interested in coming in to a class I would love to have you here in our space. We will roll out the red carpet for you and make sure that we pour into you!

Stay tuned for early 2020 and my blog post on how the training all went down.

NBR Hair Extensions

In the meantime… Happy Holidays!

It’s inevitable—every year the holiday season brings out every possible emotion. It’s everything from super enthralled and grateful and the spirit of giving and all the warm fuzzies… alongside overwhelm and frustration and feeling like there’s never enough time.

Candice Motley Hair Extensions

This constant up and down is one of the reasons the holidays can be so exhausting and why we find them so stressful. In addition to all of that it’s also the time to close out the current year and make sure everything you have coming up in the next year is in alignment. The pressure of January honestly starts in December.

If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking it’s a brand new year and you want to start it off right. You’re probably obsessing about all the things you’re trying to accomplish when the reality is that it’s just the next month. But something about the transition from December 31st to January 1st hits me super hard every year.

Candice Motley Hair Extensions

I always want to make sure that every goal has been checked off, every I has been dotted, and every t has been crossed. Of course it hasn’t… because human, and I just have to remind myself to accept that. Am I the only one who feels the immense pressure of closing out the year and starting a new one?

This whole season is such a hodge podge of emotions, but it’s been happening long enough now that I’m used to it. It all starts creeping in around Thanksgiving. My studio usually has 5 days off for Thanksgiving because work/life balance is so important to me, but I typically spend most of that time planning out December.

December is typically the salon’s busiest month and we’re always kicking off and launching things in January. A lot of what I’ve learned as a business owner is that your prep game has to be so strong. The videos that I want to release in January I’m having to find time to record in December. The campaign I want to launch in January has to be put together in December. The gift card promotion we launched for December had to be decided in October. It’s all about being prepared!

Candice Motley Hair Extensions

On the flip side of all of the stress and prepping there’s a whole dose of excitement as well. 2020 is going to be such a big year for my studio. Our national education launches in January—more about that in next week’s blog post—and we are ecstatic for what’s to come.

It’s such a mix of emotions, but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Do the holidays bring you stress or excitement or a good mix of both?

This year for Thanksgiving my family and I decided to do something a little different. This is the second year that my family is in a co-parenting space. Last year was the first holiday season since my kids’ dad and I split and it wasn’t the easiest. This year we have a little bit of footing and know where we’re going. I really wanted to do something that was inclusive of everyone—my whole family AND his whole family. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for his family to join us, but it still felt amazing to be able to bring my immediate family (my mom, sister, and my two littles) out of town with me.

We decided to go to Massanutten Resort in the mountains of Virginia almost 5 hours away. I wanted us to go out of town so that no one had to cook and everyone could just relax. My mom has always been the one to spend the entire day before and the whole day of Thanksgiving cooking so that she barely gets to enjoy the meal herself. It was so cool to be able to treat her and allow her to actually enjoy the holiday.

We drove up the morning of Thanksgiving and got there just in time for their amazing Thanksgiving feast. The resort was beautiful and everything for the Thanksgiving meal was already set up when we got there. The food was delicious… my favorites were the cranberry encrusted salmon and the marshmallow sweet potatoes.

The best part about being in the mountains with crappy WiFi is that it forces you to connect with those around you. I got to spend time with my kids doing all kinds of fun things from ice skating to pony rides to karaoke to board games. I also got to talk to my mom for more than just 20 minutes. Typically when I see her it’s because she’s coming over to watch my kids so I’m rushing out the door. It’s rare that we are all purposely and intentionally sitting down together. I also got to connect with my sister and find out what she has going on. It was so nice to be able to spend real, quality time with each of them.

My biggest takeaway from the entire experience is that I want to spend more time just like that. I’m already planning to incorporate it into my 2020. I want to spend more time with my family and my kids actually going somewhere, doing something, connecting, and being intentional. Truly experiencing things together as a family.

I’m a big advocate of work/life balance and try to maintain that as much as possible for a business owner. I have always been a proponent of having holiday time spent with family where you do not have to worry about work. For the last 4 years my studio has had a 5 day spread where my employees had time off. We come in and work the Monday before Thanksgiving so we can have that full time to connect with family and friends. This has become a tradition that my whole team really looks forward to.

I am so thankful to have had such a wonderful holiday and am looking forward to how I can incorporate more intentional quality time with my family and kids in the new year.

About two months ago, on a random afternoon in the salon, I had a wild hair and decided to do something pretty drastic. I finished up a little early that afternoon and was about to head out to a photoshoot when I found myself looking in the mirror feeling like I just really wanted to do something different with my hair. In that instant I grabbed my shears and started chopping. My team looked at me like I was crazy.

Months earlier I had seen a photo of a really beautiful shag (check out the photo below) and I just kept looking at it, but I just didn’t want to cut my hair. For whatever reason on this afternoon I decided to just go for it. I knew if I cut it and decided I wanted my length back I could just get new extensions.

Modern Shag

In case you’re not familiar—a modern shag is super short in the front and super long in the back. One could say it looks like a mullet, but it’s more like a shag from the 70s. There’s lots of shorter layers, pieceyness, and fringeyness around the face. I’m pretty much obsessed and I haven’t looked back. When I like something, I tend to like it a lot. For example, I’ve had the same hair color for almost a decade and I can’t think of any other color I would like for my hair to be. I feel the same way about my modern shag haircut and plan to keep it for a very long time.

There is a bit of a stigma about long hair having to look a certain way, particularly with hair extensions, but it’s certainly not the case! Changing up your style is always possible, and can sometimes even make the extensions work even better for your natural hair type.

My hair is definitely not typical when it comes to texture. It’s curly and puffy and I was told for so long that I could never have extensions that would blend. This cut helps my curly extensions blend perfectly with my natural hair.

To anyone getting bored with your hair, whether you wear extensions or not, the modern shag is a perfect way to change up your look. I’ll let you know how it continues to grow out, and I’ve included some photos below from the very beginning when I first cut it to now about 2 months later so you can see the difference.

If you have any questions or if you feel inspired to make a big chop yourself with your hair extensions in please let this be the fuel you need to do something a little different. I’m here to tell you that it feels amazing!

A couple of months ago, I launched a YouTube channel called Garnish Your Growth. I’ve shared this with you before, but today I wanted to share something I’ve learned since starting the channel, and how I’m revamping it to be even more authentic.

When I decided to start a YouTube, I knew I wanted to make a channel that spoke to creatives of any kind. Creatives in general have a different mind and different struggles. I wanted to shed some light on things from my perspective, through both my own experiences and those of my lead stylist, Niko.

I’ve experienced an immense amount of growth in the last 5 years since launching my own business and becoming an entrepreneur of a brick and mortar space. I’ve learned so much and wanted to have a channel that was both devoted to growth and helps stimulate thoughts about growth. Growth is great, but sometimes it really sucks; sometimes it will bring you to tears; and sometimes it makes you feel like you’re completely failing.

I really liked the content we were giving, but I noticed when the episodes were put out that while they were very open, honest, and transparent, they were also very curated. I looked at my own content and realized I had left a big chunk of a story out because I knew it would bring me to tears or I didn’t go into something because it would open up a portal to something else that wouldn’t fit in the set timeframe. It didn’t sit well with me that I told a story, but kept some of the information to myself.

I wanted to be more real, open, honest, and vulnerable. We learn and grow from other people telling their truth. And believe me, it’s hard to tell the unadulterated truth of something you’ve failed at. But I knew if I was going to put out the content of my growth, I wanted to give you real life scenarios and ultimately do a better job in telling my story.

This means starting from the beginning. If you’re just finding the channel, you don’t know who I am or what my story looks like or why this is so important or how it saved my life. So I decided to switched up the style of the video and amount of content I have. It’s less about specific topics and more about real, honest conversations.

So we are unofficially relaunching Garnish Your Growth with this week’s episode. You can expect it to be more real, raw, and less edited. We’ll be sharing more of who we each are and why we wanted to pour ourselves into this to begin with.

Below I’ve included a preview video for what you can come to expect from this channel in the future. I hope you’ll join me in this important conversation as we normalize the challenges of growth and share the relatable ups and downs of our journeys.

This blog post is more of a message of gratitude.

I wanted to share with you all exactly why I feel like I truly have the best job in the world. When I first joined the hair industry at 18 I chose it because I’m very creative, love the beauty industry, and love being around people. That was all I really knew about the career I was choosing. Now that I’m 36 and have been in this career for nearly 20 years, I feel so much stronger about what I do passionwise than ever before.

Garnish Hair Extensions

Being inside this industry for so long I have watched it grow so much and my career has evolved rigth alongside it. On a daily basis I get to talk to such dope ass women. A lot of women that come in to my studio are part of our tribe because we connect on more things than just their hair.

Because I specialize in extensions, the guests I see are in the studio longer than they would be for just a cut and color, which allows us to connect on a deeper level. Every single day I come home having had the best conversations, and having met the most interesting people. Not only do I have amazing clients whom I love, I also work with a bomb team that I pretty much handpicked that choose every day to be there.

Garnish Hair Extensions

I have been doing the same thing for nearly 20 years, but I have not had the same feeling about it the entire time. I believe you can fall in and out of love with a career just like anything else in life. Around the 8-10 year mark I felt stale and stagnant—stuck in my current salon space feeling complacent and scared to leave.

The clients coming in were not my people, and the services I was doing were not what I was most passionate about. Almost 10 years later, every single person who walks into my studio has chosen me to connect with and to invest into themselves with. I have worked my ass off to offer something in a niche specialty that boost womens’ confidence and helps them feel better. I am the person that gets to give women that mindblowing-holy shit-never felt better transformation that they are craving.

Garnish Hair Extensions

Overall I just feel so fulfilled and in alignment with what I’m supposed to be doing. I didn’t know this was my path starting out, but once I saw it years ago, I’ve been working my ass off to get to this place. I feel really grateful and really fortunate to have found it at a young age and have been able to make it come into fruition. And to find like minded people to work inside my studio and help me bring this vision home and keep it growing is just an added bonus.

To anyone who has ever offered encouragement, given blessings, or offered support–thank you. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to have this as my career path. I’ve truly never been happier inside of my career than I am now.

It’s official—I have a kindergartner.

This is my first year with a child in the Wake County school system. For the last 4 and a half years I’ve been inside daycare, live-in nannies, childcare, grandmas, etc. The first year sending your child to school is very different. But I can honestly say, from 2 months ago to now as I’m writing this, I’m so proud of Kingston. There have been some things that caught me off guard about kindergarten and I wanted to share them with you.

First of all, Kingston is going to school downtown at a charter school that is very different from your typical school. They focus a lot on interpersonal skills, leadership,  and on not just being aware of what’s going on in their own neighborhood, but also world issues. I’m used to A, B, Cs and learning to read, not putting together campaigns for water consumption and looking at global warming. Not only does Kingston work on his reading and writing, but he comes home talking about things that really matter. It’s really amazing to hear.

They also do a lot of affirmations and talk about goal setting and being a good human being. All things that you know I love. To hear these things coming out of my 5 year olds mouth kind of blew my mind. I didn’t expect that kindergarten would be like this at all. I’m really shocked and amazed to have him in a school that has such a different philosophy. I’m also super thankful and really excited that he was able to get in. I had no idea that Charter schools are set up on a lottery system. You have to apply, and are selected solely based on the lottery. Kingston originally didn’t get in, but a month and a half later we got the call that he had been accepted! It’s been really special to see him thriving and coming home with stories and meeting friends.

A perfect example of this is a conversation we shared recently. He said, “Mom I’m a big boy, I’m going to fill up Houston’s bucket.” And I asked him, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, I want to fill her up with good things and love so that she can give that to the next person that she talks to.” Talk about an amazing thing to hear from your 5 year old!

With all of that goodness, there had to be at least one hiccup. For us, that’s the morning routine. So far it’s been a little bumpy—trying to get him downtown—there’s no transportation and no lunch so we’re having to pack everything and drop him off. The biggest battle is having Kingston going to one school and Houston going to another school.

Thankfully, my friend Amber just moved into my neighborhood. Since then she has been taking Kingston to school with her daughter because she goes to the same school. It’s been a huge blessing and I’m so grateful.

Kindergarten has certainly been a new experience, but a very rewarding one so far. If you have any specific questions about the school, feel free to reach out and I’ll give you the information.

I want to share some exciting news with you all! I am pumped to have been nominated as a member of the KNOW Tribe. I had heard about and seen this particular book floating around Raleigh for years. I would always pick it up and thumb through it thinking that it’s such a cool concept and collaboration.

The KNOW Tribe

These are the women you need to know—all leaders in their industry. I’ve always loved the idea of networking and connecting with a tribe like this, but between owning my business, having kids, traveling, and teaching, I haven’t had a ton of available time or space.

The KNOW Tribe

You’re only able to join the KNOW Tribe through being nominated by a current member, and I’m honored to have been nominated by my good friend and photographer, Amber, of Images by Amber Robinson. The criteria that they look for is someone paving the way and acting as a trendsetter in their particular industry.

Once you’ve been nominated and you decide that you want to move forward, they invite you into their Tribe. I’ve been to two functions so far and have met a lot of different women at the top of their game inside of their industry. The network spans pretty much every field you can think of from realtors to photographers to chefs to estheticians. I feel really overwhelmed with gratitude for Amber for having connected me to this group.

The KNOW Tribe

Being a new member myself also provided me the ability to nominate my good friend who has worked in my business for so long—my Business Girl Friday, Sahar. KNOW spans nationwide and is all about collaboration over competition. I love that there are so many KNOW tribes throughout the country and we are all connected. They seek out new businesses every year that are branching out and making waves.

The KNOW Tribe

You have to stay competitive, productive, trending, and a leader in your industry to stay a part of the tribe. I have always had the best intentions to network, but it’s always so hard to find time. I also want to make sure that the people I’m around and network with are like-minded. KNOW is such a cool organization to be a part of and provides exactly that.

The KNOW Tribe

The book will be launching this week. I will have some copies in the studio at Garnish where you’ll be able to view our 2 page spread. I’m super stoked about being a part of the book and can’t wait to continue growing my network through the KNOW Tribe.

C A N D I C E G R A M

Owner of @GarnishExtensionStudio | Transformations are my Specialty | Fashion is a hobby | Fun is a Necessity
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