Towson University junior uses her personal struggles to build a thriving business.
As a teenager, Ta’ler Robinson built a thriving business around a subject people prefer not to talk about: hair loss.
At 14, she began noticing her hair was thinning and falling out. Robinson discovered she suffered from traction alopecia, which is caused by hair being pulled tightly for long periods of time. A natural-born problem-solver, she took it upon herself to regrow her hair.
When she reversed her alopecia in two years, Robinson began doing other people’s hair, and in addition to styling, she encouraged open dialog about the condition.
“Traction alopecia is something a lot of people don’t talk about,” she said. “I want to use my voice as an advocate and build trust within the community.”
Robinson took her problem-solving business a step forward by creating an Infrared Beauty Bar LLC and connecting with a Baltimore-based vendor to create herbal hair care products.
Her business expanded to serve customers with specific hair- and skin-related issues as well as those who generally want to protect their hair. Beyond providing styling services and selling her products—weaves, hair scarves, renewer drops for natural hair, weave protection, and beard care—she teaches proper hair care.
“I choose to educate my clients because knowledge is power, and, as one person, I cannot service every single client. Sometimes my schedule is full, so instead of turning them away, I refer them to my methods,” Robinson says. “If I can teach someone to help themselves, I am still serving my purpose. For many men and women, their hair is their crown! I want to be the reason they don’t give up their hair care journey.”
Robinson's mission is proving successful. The purchase of a commercial suite for her hair care services is a point of pride and acted as a vital learning experience for her. It taught her to persevere through fear.
That perseverance has served her in more ways than one.
“Towson is my dream school,” she said. “I visited four times before I submitted my application.”
However, her dream was put on hold for a few years before she was accepted to TU.
Robinson said she worked harder and prayed every day. A few years later, when she got in, she, “literally got up, ran, and busted out crying.”
At the College of Business & Economics (CBE), she now aligns her skills and ambitions to her business administration major with a concentration in project management. Already, she has found many parallels between her CBE courses and her real-world business experiences. Robinson feels her academic program's universality will better prepare her for a broad range of jobs.
Which is good because she is not letting a full courseload and her commitments to Infrared Beauty Bar stop her from other goals.
Robinson plans not only to rebrand Infrared Beauty Bar but also to start two new businesses: a residential and commercial cleaning business and a CPR training and certification business. She is excited to be able to hire employees part-time and create needed jobs for the local community.
“I know that it can only go up from here,” she said. “It is just the matter of getting an opportunity.”
She knows opportunities abound in the CBE community to connect with peers and network with professionals. She credits her TU professors for always being responsive to emails, meeting with her during office hours and suggesting insightful reading materials. Professor Christina Packard inspires Robinson the most with her outgoing personality and resourcefulness in calculus.
Ta'ler Robinson will talk about starting a business, provide free access to resources and share copies of her ebook at Entrepreneurship Unplugged on March 13 from 5:30–7 p.m. in PAWS.
This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TIGER Way.