We started from the bottom, now we’re here.
Serial entrepreneur, boss mom and former celebrity hairdresser Daniella Emilien works with black business owners providing financial education to help them make their businesses work for them.
The 27-year-old learned from an early age what independence meant. Born and raised in Little Haiti, a small town in Miami, she drew strength from watching her mother work hard.
“It was very difficult growing up in my city. Watching my mother struggle, watching [the] the lights go out [the] the water comes out [to being] behind on the rent, and having to wear the same two pairs of shoes was difficult, but I could see a single working mother doing her best to support her children,” Emilien said.
Coming into adulthood came with its own set of unexpected challenges. After finishing her associate’s degree, Emilien found out she was pregnant and was kicked out of the house. Homeless and pregnant at 21, Emilien had to support her son. So she decided to comb her hair.
“When I had my son, I didn’t want my son to experience the adversities that I went through growing up, you know, seeing my mother working two jobs day and night, not being able to spend time with us because her main priority it was to provide for us financially rather than to create memories with us [was hard]. So, I said [to myself] I have to start a business. If I have a skill set or if I can perfect that technique, then [I can potentially], earn income only for me and my son. So when I started doing hair, I started doing it because [of] palette; it wasn’t [because] this [had] it’s always been my dream. I want to be a hairdresser. I started doing hair because I was just trying to support my son and mine,” Emilien said.
Daniella styled some of the biggest names in hip-hop and reality TV like city girls, Nina Kash, Nicki Minaj, Queen Carteri Marlo Hampton — and Hair By Ivy was born.
Despite his success, Emilien realized he couldn’t use his newfound wealth to buy a house or a car.
“One time, I got booked to do Nicki Minaj’s [hair] in miami She had about four cars, like luxury cars, it was like a lifestyle, and I was like, hey, if I’m here doing my hair, and she’s living like that, I can do it too… I’m a celebrity. now a hairdresser and I don’t have a car. Why do I rent cars back to back? So I tried to go buy a car. [I] I didn’t know anything about credit,” said Emilien.
After mastering the system, Daniella was inspired to guide others through the process.
“I want to show people that if I can do it, so can you. And one of my obstacles in my career was that I didn’t have a mentor or a coach. If I did, I [would have] I took advantage of this and turned my career around. A lot of money was spent [and] time I spent, that I couldn’t get back… I had no one to teach me about the business, [how to] create an LLC, [how to] pay your taxes, you know, buy hair extensions, use your business line of credit… And I spent a lot of money, I [made] a lot of error, trial and error,” he stated.
From hairdresser to business coach, Emilien is challenging the way black entrepreneurs think about achieving generational wealth. After six months, he has helped hundreds of black-owned businesses acquire more than $1 million in business financing with his newly founded company, The “Ivy League Academy”. Emilien recently debuted her first Black Wealth Exchange Summit Rasheeda, Jessie Wooand more
The Black Wealth Exchange Summit was a one-day event curated to allow current or aspiring professionals hear established business owners discuss their personal paths to financial freedom.
Emilien prepares to open two new restaurants with his girlfriend, Chef Bryant “Baul” Williams, this fall is being called “Betty Sue’s” and “Binky’s Eatery.” He also plans to return the summit next year.