Hartford entrepreneur Tahara Chapman is using her array of credentials as a business owner and a realtor with an Associate and Bachelor’s in Business Management and a Master’s in Organizational Leadership and Management to help people feel confident about themselves. As a boutique owner, she’s providing unique hair and fashion options. She’s helping people repair their personal and business credit and talking to them about real estate investment. She’s also teaching others how to become successful business owners and entrepreneurs.
MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Tahara about her entrepreneurial journey and her commitment to being part of the business community in Hartford.
NAN PRICE: Have you always been entrepreneurial?
TAHARA CHAPMAN: Yes. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been into fashion and hair and I’ve always been interested in business.
In 2012, I started High Maintenance Hair Co. as a way of generating additional income by selling virgin hair extensions. After several years of working from home, I had developed clientele—and they kept telling me they wanted more. I opened the doors to High Maintenance Boutique in August 2017.
NAN: Why locate your business in Hartford?
TAHARA: I wanted to be in Hartford to be centralized, because most of the people who support me locally are in the Hartford area. I wanted to be in a part of the city that’s getting a lot of attention and where the demographics and the geographical location would enhance my ability to attract more clientele.
Through the Commercial Facade Improvement Program, Upper Albany Main Street, Inc., with support from the City of Hartford, completed the first wave of the Albany Avenue redesign last year. The goal is to restore the beauty of Hartford’s Albany Avenue historic district.
NAN: You found a great business location. How has the business evolved since you moved in?
TAHARA: It’s created a centralized hub for people to access me. I’ve always been known as a local influencer. I knew once I had a location, I would be able to start engaging in everything else. I use the space to host workshops and have one-on-one consultations to discuss home ownership and credit repair and help encourage others to become business owners and entrepreneurs.
NAN: Who is your audience?
TAHARA: It’s mostly women, when it comes to the business end of it. But I also work with men who reach out to me to learn more about real estate investment. More men want the one-on-one consultation, whereas more women want the workshops and group seminars.
NAN: Tell me more about how you’re helping others become business owners and entrepreneurs.
TAHARA: I help by breaking things down and making them easier to understand. I want to explain business ownership and provide resources to help people get started using relatable language. If I can communicate and help people through the process from point A to B, we’ll be able to start branching out and having more business owners and entrepreneurs who can understand the possibilities and the tools they need to be successful.
NAN: What advice do you have for others?
TAHARA: I think it’s imperative for people to understand they don’t need to spend their savings to accomplish certain things. There are resources that can get you capital to help you stay in business.
I share my story about how I fixed my credit, opened up an LLC, got a tax ID number, and started applying for small business loans. A lot of people don’t know the Small Business Administration helps with small business loans. They don’t know there are specific resources for women- or minority-owned businesses. They don’t know because they’re not taking the time to get educated. My goal is to help by putting together a workshop or providing one-on-one information to provide that education and help someone take off and start evolving.
NAN: What’s next?
TAHARA: I hope to expand. The space I have is just big enough for what I’m trying to do now. Ultimately, I want to do more than just renting this space. I want to own the entire building and then I want to rent space out to other people who are starting off. Hopefully, they can then start acquiring business credit and using that money to buy their own real estate.
I’ve been getting accredited for business and learning how to repair personal and business credit and how to teach about it. If I’m able to teach other people, I can create more entrepreneurs and more business owners, which creates a domino effect. That’s my ultimate goal.