After being in the Hair and Beauty Industry for over 20 years, Nicole had observed the lack of respect and professionalism in the hair and beauty industry. Because of this, she felt compelled to create an organization called BBIN (Beauty, Barber Industry Network.) At first, the lack of support and commitment seemed to get the best of her, but through it all, she remained faithful, focused and diligent.
Her drive and determination paid off. While attending a hair replacement seminar, in Las Vegas in January 2007, she was introduced to BOBSA (the Black-Owned Beauty Supply Association) thru a DVD called “The Korean Takeover” headquartered in Oakland, California, founded by Sam Ennon. Mr. Ennon created BOBSA to empower Black beauty suppliers to compete with other groups in the black hair care industry. It was then that Nicole discovered that there was already a national movement taking place, connecting Black salons to Black distributors and manufacturers across the country. After connecting, Mr. Ennon was so impressed with Nicole’s passion, research and organizational skills that in February 2007, he appointed Nicole as President of BOBSA Ohio Regional Chapter, the first national Chapter. Cincinnati is the headquarters for this newly formed chapter: “This opportunity has given me a purpose in life, it has been the driving force to my success in the Salon business. Cincinnati is the headquarters for this newly formed chapter. It was to become a prototype for future BOBSA chapters nationwide. When I took position as an executive director, this position taught me how to develop an exciting and competent Board of Directors, book fundraiser event, create membership drives, and spearheading educational seminars on “Connecting the Dots” within the Black hair care industry. BOBSA’s Ohio Chapter was leading the change and making no apologies in its efforts to bring about change in the African American community through the Black beauty industry. With Sam appointing as President of the Ohio Chapter, the mission of BOBSA ignited me to be on a mission to make history in Cincinnati by developing more entrepreneurial African Americans. This experience gave me the knowledge of how to move with purpose, how important it is to be passionate, driven and how one must truly believe in the mission of an organization you represent. Also, being President of BOBSA Ohio Chapter created opportunities for me to dwell in spaces that I wouldn’t have been in if it wasn’t for BOBSA’s mission. I also received the necessary support as a business owner, attracted key stake holders and built valuable business relationships that has lasted over a lifetime within the Cincinnati and Ohio region. Although, BOBSA Ohio has taken a pause because of my new career path, Sam and I continue to stay in touch to encourage one another, share updates of the industry and seek ways to continue the support for one another in any endeavors that we may encounter. Sam Ennon, thank you for trusting me with your “baby’, trusting that I would nurturer and respect the brand that was gifted to you! This business relationship has created a model of how awesome, beautiful, valuable and necessary it is for black people to support one another, genuinely!” Nicole Lee