Diann Valentine’s diverse resume is an inspiration to all entrepreneurs. The businesswoman, television personality, event designer, and Glow + Flow Beauty Supply and Salon owner has been building her brand since she was a teenager. Although Diann has prospered in just about every industry she’s touched, her most recent project Glow + Flow Beauty Supply and Salon helps her pour back into the Black community.
The Glow + Flow franchise is a series of beauty supply stores in the California area owned by Diann and her husband. They have two brick and mortars and an additional retail store that is currently in escrow. The first location is a hair extension studio with a beauty supply store. The second location is an enormous beauty supply store in the heart of Inglewood, CA. The third store will also be a retail location. All 3 stores make it their mission to market Black-owned haircare and beauty products. “As an owner of a black beauty supply store, it is important to me that we are able to have direct connections and access to other black-owned beauty brands directly. There is no need for our reliance on other ethnicities to carry these products to continue. If it’s for us and by us then there needs to be a pipeline of reciprocity amongst black-owned brands and the growing number of black-owned beauty supply stores,” Diann said in an exclusive interview with HelloBeautiful.
Black female entrepreneurship has steadily been on the rise over the last couple of years. More and more women are trading in their positions as directors and managers for the CEO title. For Diann, working for someone else was never an option. “[Entrepreneurship is] the definition of me walking in my purpose. I am a serial entrepreneur. I started my first company when I was a senior in high school and I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life so the thought of working for someone else really never ever crossed my psyche. I’ve never wanted a job, I’ve never wanted to work for someone. I just wanted to figure it out on my own so that I could have the opportunity to make sure my children had jobs and hopefully leave behind a legacy and create some generational wealth in the process.”
“I believe that the huge influx of black women entrepreneurs is really out of necessity. Because we are locked out of opportunities in corporate America, we are constantly struggling to find our place. We are over educated – we’re the most educated women on the planet – and yet we still can’t get past those glass ceilings,” Diann continued. “I’m seeing more and more women becoming entrepreneurs because they can’t seem to get past this director position or the VP position. There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. So if I’m going to be working 70-80 hours a week, I might as well do it myself. We do it because our lives depend on it. Our children’s lives depend on it and our communities lives depend on it.”
Owning a business, or in Diann’s case owning several businesses, is no joke. Still, she manages to make it look easy. The truth is, ownership has always been in Diann’s blueprint. With consistency, dedication, time, and perseverance she’s developed successful, long-lasting businesses that inspire young entrepreneurs. “Nothing is going to happen over night. I get a lot of young people who say, ‘Wow, Diann, how did you do it? You were so big in events and it happened so fast,’ and I remind them that it didn’t happen fast. I’ve been an entrepreneur for a really really long time and nothing happens over night,” she said. “The bad times prepare us for the mountain top moments where we can enjoy the fruits of our labor and the good times prepare us for the next valley because as long as you keep living, it’s coming. It’s just around the corner,” Diann continued.
The amount of Black businesses on the rise is inspiring. With the push to support Black-owned businesses, we can continue to keep money circulating within our community. Everyone may not be built for ownership, but Diann feels this is the key to strengthening and uniting the Black community. “Ownership is the only thing that can save Black people. It’s not ending racism, it’s not a fair opportunity, its not reparations. None of that is going to save us. No politicians are going to save us, no Black leaders are going to save us,” Diann exclaimed. “Ownership is going to save us because people respect people with money. People respect people with resources. I’ve had many conversations with my white and my Jewish colleagues [about the riots and civil unrest] and they’ve said ‘Diann we want to help, but we don’t understand why do you guys tear up your own neighborhood?’ and I tell them people tear it up because we don’t own anything. When you don’t own anything, you have no connection to it. You don’t care about the house you’re renting because it’s not yours. You don’t care about the local Walmart or Target because you don’t own it and you’re not ever treated like a valued consumer.”
Diann is doing her part in building up the community and creating a space for Black business owners. Her personal mission of highlighting and promoting Black-owned products in her stores speaks to her business model of empowering young entrepreneurs.