( ENSPIRE Interviews ) Cindy Tawiah Launches the First Ever Black Hair Care Vending Machine Featuring Products from Diva by Cindy Hair Care Line in the BWI airport and Arundel Mills Mall
ENSPIRE Contributor: Michelle Bolden
Cindy Tawiah launches the first automated hair care vending machine in Baltimore/Washington International Airport and Arundel Mills Mall with her line Diva by Cindy. Launched in 2007, Diva by Cindy is a black-owned natural hair care line based in Baltimore, Md. Tawaih’s vending machines feature products from her line, including the body lotion, stimulating shampoo, stimulating conditioner, leave-in detangling conditioner, and super gro hairdress. In this exclusive interview with ENSPIRE Magazine, Tawiah shares her story of adversity, inspiration, and ultimate success in her mission to nurture and uplift women.
It appears her line Diva by Cindy, standing for Divine, Inspired, Virtuous, and Anointed, popped up and started garnering immediate attention. However, Tawiah shares her journey began years ago when she was just 16 years old, taking a chemistry course in Ghana, West Africa.
CT: I was failing my classes and one day my chemistry teacher, Mr. Titi Offei, pulled me aside and he taught me how to make nail polish and lipstick. He inspired me and poured into me. At that moment when I stood at the science fair and was asked, “what is this?,” I knew what I wanted to be and do. My chemistry teacher walked over and said, “This is Cindy, she’s a cosmetologist and a chemist.” My dream was born in me. Mr. Titi Offei made an impact in my life, filled the void, he inspired and motivated me. He believed in me when no one else did and that made an indelible mark on my soul and made a huge impact on the lives of other women for whom I pay it forward.
Although she found her passion with the help of her chemistry teacher, her parents did not approve of her desired career path, urging her instead to pursue a career in the medical field. Tawiah spent 13 years as a registered nurse, but frustration led her to return to her passion and purpose. Though she eventually committed to pursuing her dream, the path came with many challenges.
CT: The difficulties in the challenges I faced creating my product were primarily lack of unlimited capital. I overcame this by creating a grassroots movement and selling to customers in my salon and offering distribution opportunities to some of my customers who would then purchase wholesale and sell retail similar to the Mary Kay or Avon concept and their door-to-door efforts also helped to grow the brand.
Tawiah had been running a successful store in the BWI airport from 2017 to 2018. Devastated when she found out that her location was being reclaimed by MAC Cosmetics, she immediately prayed. She was compelled to surrender, and so she gave up her store. Months later while reflecting on everything that had transpired, Tawiah asked God for clarity about her situation.
CT: I prayed about it and I heard to surrender, so I did. A few months later in a moment of introspection and reflection, I questioned God and asked why I was put in the airport. The message I received was about automation and one thing led to the next, I contacted a company and we began to engineer Heaven 1, my first automated vending machine, and we placed her in BWI airport and also franchised a location for Heaven 2 in Arundel Mills Mall.
Since launching, her vending machines have gathered much attention to her business, bringing in a variety of new customers. Tawiah plans to expand on this venture in the new future, stating that she is looking for different locations for her heaven series and also looking into expanding her franchise concept. Throughout her experience, there were many moments of uncertainty. Tawiah explains that her guiding pillars were prayer, passion, perseverance, persistence, and positivity being guiding pillars.
CT: I prayed about my dream and asked God for divine guidance. I was passionate about what I wanted to do with regard to being in the beauty business and impacting lives using beauty as my conduit and vehicle. I was persistent and persevered for what I wanted even when I was told no I continue to persist because that is one of the keys to success. And I remain positive and uplifted knowing that it was my divine destiny.
Tawiah commits to forwarding a portion of proceeds made from sales to victims of domestic violence. As a survivor of domestic violence herself, she finds it imperative to help others who are in the position that she was. She explains that victims of domestic violence often have low self-esteem and her mission is to help women overcome negative beliefs about themselves and see their true inner beauty.
CT: I believe that you have to pour back into others who are struggling with trauma and pain women need to be able to offer other women a hand up and pour into them emotionally and spiritually if they can. If you can beautify them and pour into them and show them that their beauty truly comes from within and they possess beauty and strength, then you’ll be able to overcome their issues of low self-esteem.
In addition to her hair care line and hair care vending machines, Tawiah also runs a successful salon, Diva Day Spa Healing and Retreat Centre, in Upperco, Md. The healing center is a safe haven for women to practice and receive care in a nurturing community. She speaks about the significance of her healing center for the women she provides services to.
CT: The Diva Day Spa Healing and Retreat is a combination of everything that I am and have wanted to do and I am finally operating fully in my calling. My products are a vehicle in a conduit to Healing but I now have a location where women can come to experience true healing change and transformation on all levels. This is everything for me and then again I always know that God is getting ready to stretch me and my vision again.
It’s very important to pour into women and uplift women. We go through so many difficulties and receive so little in return. A day spa provides “sheshe frou frou” surface services. Healing centers offer mind, body, and soul services. At the Diva Day Spa, we don’t just offer your facial, massage, body services we also have healing and counseling sessions, relationship coaching, business coaching, music therapy, Wees steam, foot detox, and much more. As an RN, I couldn’t make the impact that I desired but in this capacity, I can touch more lives. Women’s lives are changed and transformed here.
Tawiah is optimistic about her ventures and looks forward to what’s to come in 2021 for her and her business.
CT: They always say the best is yet to come it’s been a long journey, and it’s far from over. It’s just beginning in 2021. Our goal is to touch as many lives as possible and focus on impact because we have to make a difference in the lives of others and leave this life knowing that our assignment was fully executed.