The beauty industry has quickly become a billion dollar industry. From hair care products, extensions, makeup and more; sales have soared over the past few years so much so that the industry has opened doors for an array of age groups and various races. With a projected sales of $100 billion for 2024 just in the US alone; it makes sense for aspiring entrepreneurs to tap into the beauty market. Entrepreneurs like Tenish Fordham are ahead of the game and are already expanding their growth. Recently Tenish sat down with Sheen Magazine and gave us a glimpse on just what her journey in the beauty and healthcare industry has been like for her.

SHEEN: Let’s talk about the woman behind the brand. With several others venturing off into the world of hair care, what was it that made you decide you wanted to go into this field? 

TENISH: In 2016-2017 I had an outbreak of tumors on my skin and went through 6 months of chemotherapy. The doctors had no idea what caused it, but it has only been seen in African American women and people who work with diesel. Being in the hair care field, I came to realize that we use a lot of products without the knowledge of knowing what these products can be doing to us, internally as well as externally. After some time, God gave me ideas on how to start my own hair care line. This is something I had long before thought about but never was sure how to do it. Once God gave me the confirmation and showed me what to do, I went from there.

SHEEN: Branding is everything and it has the potential to make all the difference. When it came to branding your products, what was the most important piece that you wanted to stand out? 

TENISH: When it came to branding, for me, the name was the most important. Family is important to me, and I wanted to create something that would carry on my parents’ legacy, hence the name Fordham. This is my way of not only honoring my mother and father but making sure the Fordham name carries on.

SHEEN: Your mission statement indicates that your brand prides itself on reliable customer service. We love that. What do you feel is your definition of reliable customer service? 

TENISH: The key word in that question is reliable. Making sure I’m available for my clients and customers, whether it’s for products or services is something I pride myself on. Being hands on is very important to me.

SHEEN: When you made a decision to relocate to Atlanta, GA, what do you feel were some of your deciding factors?

TENISH: I’m from a small town in Leland, MS. As much as I love home, I knew that I could only go so far with what I set out to do. Before I moved to Atlanta I drove down and met with a publicist named Bentley. It was initially for my kids because they were singing at the time, but he knew I was a hairstylist. One day he just randomly called me and asked me if I could do LaToya London from American idol hair for her wedding, which was his client. I took the job and that’s how this whole adventure began.

SHEEN: Your clientele list is quite impressive. Your portfolio includes the lovely Latavia Roberson, Gocha Hawkins, and many more. Was there ever a time you felt nervous when it came to working with certain clients? How did you navigate through that?

 TENISH: I think the only time I have ever been nervous was when I had to do Latavia. I wasn’t nervous about working with her, it was that I hadn’t done hair in months, and she was the first client since I had gone through chemotherapy. I remember after my last treatment; my doctor told me that she wanted me to get back into the routine of things. I waited about a month and I thought I was ready. When I started doing her hair I almost fainted and she never knew it. I was sweating so bad. That was the only experience I had far was me being nervous.

SHEEN: Running a business and building a brand takes a lot of moving parts. For your brand, which do you feel is the most important part that requires a lot of attention?

TENISH: For me working with celebrities has never been a huge deal because my parents were promoters growing up, so I was familiar with it. The difference was it was on the gospel side booking people like Shirley Ceasar, K-C and JoJo (The Hailey Singers), who also sang gospel at the time, and many others.

SHEEN: The constant evolution of hair care products is always trending. How do you make sure that you’re staying up to speed on the latest trends?

TENISH: I stay on top of things first and far most by acknowledging God for all the moves I make. Then Istudy other products on the market. Seeing what’s new and hot on the market. I stroll through IG, FB, TikTok, and YouTube looking for inspirational hair tips and ideas. I put a lot of time into making my product look better on shelves because I want to make sure I stand out beside bigger brands. In doing so I am sure the customers will notice mine and make them curious about our products.

SHEEN: During Covid we saw a lot of new businesses popping up. Haircare, wigs, makeup, and other beauty products. How much research did you delve into when it came to forming your brand? 

TENISH: I can remember before I got started God had me in a place of studying for months. I was like a butterfly in a cocoon. I stayed closed in the room and my mother and my aunt would talk about me on the phone not knowing I would hear them saying, “All she does is stay in that room.”, not knowing God was creating something new in me. After my time of studying was up my parents started seeing boxes come to their house and they never asked what I was doing or why they just let me do it. Before they knew anything I had started a hair care line.

SHEEN: What are your hopes for your brand Fordham haircare?

TENISH: My plan for Fordham Hair Care is to become a global brand by bringing healthy hair habits into every home. I have been working hard by getting my products in more stores. Our products can now be purchased on as well as select hair stores.

SHEEN: What can we expect next from Fordham Hair Care products? 

TENISH: The world will be seeing me more this year. We have been expanding out into the LA area etc. All I can say is the best is yet to come so stay tuned.

The key to becoming an entrepreneur is to first have a vision and then begin your execution of that vision to bring it to reality. Tenish has unlocked that vision for herself and is motivating others along the way. Although building a brand comes with its ups and downs, staying the course and continuing to educate yourself in your field or market is a must if you want to see your vision exceed even your own expectations. Tenish’s confidence and dedication is the true model of success.




Photo Credits: Courtesy of Tenish Fordham