Onetime Stay-At-Home Moms Seek Work-Life Balance In The Hair Extension Business

September 4, 2013 ‐ By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond

glam extensions


Everybody (and their mother) has an opinion about how best to juggle the demands of motherhood and career. Over the last two years in particular, public debate has intensified specifically around how motherhood can affect a woman’s professional trajectory, not to mention her earning potential. A recent New York Times article,  “Progress At Work, But Mothers Still Pay a Price, specifically points to research that shows “mothers earn 5 percent less per hour, per child, than comparable workers who are childless women.”

Former stay-at-home moms and mother-daughter duo Dana Winsley, 43, and Myra Boulware, 25, saw an opportunity to create the optimal work-life balance to suit their individual situations by starting an online business.

“Once I became a stay at home mom I didn’t want to leave my son,” Boulware explains. She spent two years at home with her firstborn. She adds, “Around the same time we decided to develop Glam Extensions online. Within the year, we opened our retail store.” located on 641 South Street in Philadelphia.”

Winsley fills in the blanks, noting that her daughter (one of her four children — three grown, one teenager) proposed several business ideas to her prior to them agreeing to seek their piece of the global multi-million dollar hair extension market. “One day, we were having a conversation where we were joking about wigs, and that’s when the idea popped into our heads. It’s like a light bulb went off.”

It wasn’t all laughs though. Winsley continues, “I won’t pretend that the transition [from stay-at-home mom to founder of Glam Extensions] was easy. I was laid off from my job and [Myra] was helping her fiancé with his business while she was in nursing school.” In the end, they both decided the business would help them achieve their respective goals of a work situation that meshed with their schedules as mothers and also satisfied their professional goals.

“Owning our own luxury hair care brand became what we both were seeking,” Winsley clarifies, “a professional office setting as well as a flexible work-from-home position.”

The company also has a standalone shop on South Street in Philadelphia. We talked with the Glam Extensions ladies about striking the work-life balance they craved.

MadameNoire: What circumstances surrounded your decision to become a stay-at-home mom?

Myra Boulware: I worked with my fiancé as his office assistant after I took a break from nursing school. I thought that after I had my son, I would go back to school to continue my nursing degree in no time, but it didn’t work out like that. I was a stay-at-home mom for two years.

Dana Winsley: I worked in a corporate position as a documentation coordinator. It definitely wasn’t planned. However, my husband and I looked at it as more time together, whereas my teenage daughter wasn’t as thrilled. I was a stay-at-home mom for four years.

MN: How did the idea for Glam Extensions come about?

DW: Glam Extensions started when Myra decided she didn’t want to work for anyone. She brought several ideas to me prior, but I thought that they wouldn’t be up our alley. Then one day, we were having a conversation where we were joking about wigs, and that’s when the idea popped into our heads. It’s like a light bulb went off.

MN: Do you go into an office to run Glam, or do you work from home?

DW: We work from both at our retail store and at home. Owning our own luxury hair care brand became what we both were seeking—a professional office setting as well as a flexible work-from-home position.

MN: How do you juggle responsibilities now that you’re calling the shots at work and at home as mom?

MB: My mother and I both have different responsibilities. We have to set a schedule and try to stay consistent. At Glam Extensions, we remind each other it’s business. As mother and daughter we both agree not to mention Glam Extensions at home. We prefer to “just be family,” however, sometimes that doesn’t always work.

MN: What’s your advice to stay-at-home moms looking to get back to work?

DW: No matter how thrilled you are to be home with your children, it’s rewarding and empowering to making a career of your own.

MB: Find a happy medium. If you enjoy being at home and raising your family, and also enjoy working and making money, it’s imperative to find a way to appeal to both dynamics.

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the novel Powder Necklace and founder of the blog People Who Write. Follow her on Twitter @nanaekua

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