Joi Zakiyyiah Taylor, 19, has been through a lot of pain in her young life. Since she was 12, she’s suffered from several chronic pain conditions that require hospitalization for weeks at a time and two years ago, she lost her best friend and brother when he suffered a fatal aneurysm. But Joi, who says she “loves God and she loves God’s people,” didn’t let that pain stop her; instead, she used it to fuel her dreams. Inspired by the desire to help Chemo patients regro their hair, and wanting to see more all natural products available, Joi started her first business, Natural Goddess, a unisex natural hair care line for men and women, or as she says, “the first of many.” While this Richmond homegirl doesn’t really care for her city because she doesn’t feel supported (what’s up with that Richmond?!), she’s determined not to let any obstacle – including personal tragedy or her own health struggles- stand in her way. Get to know Joi Zakiyyiah, which means “beautiful & intelligent.”
Has your hair been natural all your life?
No I Haven’t. I Went Back 3yrs Ago. I Was Feeling A Little Better With My Health. I Said To My Self “It Looks Like A Challenge, I Like Challenges” So I Went. Little Did I Know There Was A Product Line On The Other Side Called Natural Goddess.
What do you love most about your hair?
Well Tbh I Just LOVE Hair. Hair & I Have Been Friends Since I Was 2yrs Old. I Do Love My Curls Though, Esp The Styles You Can Create With Your Natural. I Mean, Straight Is Ok But It’s So MUCH More You Can Do With Natural Hair.
What was the inspiration for Natural Goddess?
My Inspiration Was Mainly Helping Chemo Patients Regrow Their Hair. Another Part Was Just Getting A Real All Natural Product Out To The World.
Why did you decide to go into business for yourself ?
My Mom Always Instilled Having Your Own Business & Working For God And Yourself. I Tried Buying Other Products But My Hair Said NOOO, So I Asked God To Help Me Create My Own Natural Products.
Do you create your own products yourself?
Yes I Do. With This Came Constant Research, I Am Always Searching Because I Must Stay Abreast Of What’s Current.
How did you come up with the name Natural Goddess and what does it mean to you?
It Was Actually My Mother Who Came Up With It. She Says It Just Came Out Of Her Heart. What Natural Goddess Means To Me Is ALL Women Are Goddesses. I Look At Women As Amazing, Beautiful, Strong, And Able To Leap Tall Buildings In A Sigle Bound. Especially My Race Of Women, All We Have Overcame To The Fact Where I Can Even Own My Own Business.
What sets your business apart from other natural hair care products/lines?
What Is Different Is: I Didn’t Create This For Money, I’m In It For The Well Being Of Your Hair And Scalp. It’s My Ministry For Chemo Survivors And Other Damaged Hair Conditions. Lastly, I Feel Like Our Hair Is Not Just Our Story But Also Our Glory.
In your bio, you mention having some health issues. What conditions are you dealing with?
The Conditions Are Called Interstitial Cystitis, Firbromyalgia, And Pelvic Floor Dysfuction. It’s Been 7yrs Since Ive Been Battling These Conditions.
How have they affected your life?
I Have To Obtain My GED Now Because I Missed A LOT Of Time Out Sick On Bed Rest
You were also inspired to do something to help others with the same condition right?
I Would Love To Start A Foundation For Interstitial Cystitis In Young Adults. It A Very Painful Misunderstood Condition.
In your bio, you mention your love for God and receiving the “call to minister.” What does that mean?
I Realized I Had Been Called In 2008. That’s When My Test Began. It Means I’ve Been Called In The Ministry Of Help. To Me I Feel So Honored Because Out Of All The People In The World He Chose Me. I’m Going To Do What God Calls Me To.
What is the most difficult part of being an entrepreneur?
The Most Difficult Part Is The Fact That I’m Battling These Conditions. Also I’m In Richmond(No Support).
What is the best/most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
The Best Part Is Helping And Meeting People, And Building My Queendom & Seeing How Far I Go. It Gives Me Great Joy When I See The Results Of Natural Goddess Helping People.
What’s next for you?
What’s Next Is My Men’s Hair Care Line And My Skin Care Line.
Any advice for teens hoping to start their own business?
My Advice Is: Don’t Be Scared -You CAN Do It. One Of My Motto’s Is: Life Is Too Short Not To Live Your Dream And Be Happy.