Helena Koudou is a 23-year-old Ivorian-American model, actress and hair braider based in New York City. Aside being a creative, she is also an undergraduate student studying Business marketing. “Slayed in Braids” is a braiding service and business that she started in 2018. In that same year, she collaborated with other creatives to create meaningful projects like ”Hair Appointment” which caught the attention of Essence, ID, CNN Africa, Vogue magazine and other publications. With any projects that Helena Koudou is working on, her goal is to celebrate the beauty of her culture and inspire other creatives as well. Read her thoughts on entrepreneurship below.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
When I think of the word “entrepreneurship”, I think of being a boss working for yourself and owning your own business. I also think of a hardworking individual making sacrifices to make their dreams come true. Those sacrifices can be losing sleep or working two other jobs to fund your business. Almost all of my friends are entrepreneurs, so I get to see the blood sweat and tears that they put into their businesses.
If you weren’t an entrepreneur, you would be?
I would be an actor. Acting is my first love but living in an African home, I wasn’t getting the support and encouragement that I wanted. So, I was really discouraged and decided to try other things. Thankfully, I discovered other talents like hair braiding which is a great side hustle and a beautiful art form. However, sometimes I think about going back into acting. So, we’ll see what I get into next.
If you could have a lunch date with one lady boss, you admire- who would that be and what would you ask her?
There are several women I would love to have a lunch date with but one of them would have to be Rihanna. Only because she is killing the game right now and it’s not even with music. She now has a billion-dollar makeup company which I mainly use on my skin, a lingerie brand and now a clothing brand in collaboration with LVMH. She is the definition of a boss! I would ask her “What advice would she give her younger self.” I think that question is a good question to ask anyone because most of the time, that answer would be a very important lesson that they learned and would probably pass it on to others.
3 book recommendations for entrepreneurs?
I am not exactly inclined to entrepreneurial books. I literally learn from everyone around me. I am however open to book recommendations!
The social media platform that has helped your business the most is?
Instagram! That is where I get most of my clients, post all of my work, and network with people in the same industry. I’ve made some great relationships with some people through Instagram and also collaborated with amazing creatives on that social media platform.