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Community Highlights: Meet Denise Raiford of Glo Butt’r

Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Raiford.

Hi Denise, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My journey started many years ago in Vallejo, in Northern California. I’ve been a cosmetologist for more than 20 years and throughout those years, I’ve owned two beauty salons and two barbershops. In 2008-2009 my latest shops that I owned had to be closed due to me caring for my ailing mother as I was not able to upkeep because mom needed me most of the time (I’d do it all again). Unfortunately in 2011, she lost her fight with cancer. After closing my shops, to get back on my feet, I was able to work in a commission-based salon and barbershop, I did that for about a year and a half then transitioned over to a full barbershop. Still trying to find my way and place, I went through 2-3 beauty and barbershops looking for solace knowing that I wanted more and to make a move to get out of the small town I was in. Fast forward just a bit, my beautiful daughter has always wanted to be a model since she was very young at about six years old. I always encouraged her but told her that I wanted her to wait until she was older because I knew the industry personally (I was a model when I was younger as well) and wanted her to grow up around family, stay grounded, have high morals and I knew there could be times where I wouldn’t be there to protect her, I’m that overprotective mom. FFWD: When she got in high school and had a few dead end agencies, she wanted to move to Los Angeles to begin her modeling career and knowing I wasn’t financially stable enough to move anywhere I kept putting it off saying ok we will, we will one day. I was drowning in debt not earning enough money to make ends meet, always paying late on rent or any other bill I had, etc and didn’t see a way out.

Then in early 2018, my lease was due to either renew or end and I had to make a decision. I, along with my daughter and youngest son had a discussion about it and decided to take a leap of faith, go for it and move to Los Angeles. Not having a plan b, no one to rely on or much money in our pockets, two months later we sold mostly everything we had, put some things in storage, packed up two cars with clothes and shoes only, about $800 in my pocket and we had each other and did it. We moved to L.A. We made it out to L.A. on a Friday evening and Saturday morning, I went looking for a barbershop to work in because I actually had a spot to work in prior to making it out here and a week before when I called to confirm my seat there, he told me that he gave the seat to someone else, so I had to hit the pavement, neither one of us had any income coming in, all we had were dreams. We started out living in a hotel in Calabasas for about 1-1/2 months before moving over to a motel closer to West Hollywood (because I found a barbershop to work in out that way) which was a bad decision, not a good area. We were there for two weeks before I said enough is enough and moved to an airbnb around the corner from the barbershop I found to work in and was there for weeks before we found our home to live in.

This was a true blessing because we were able to get a great place to live in a high-rise building in Los Angeles which I would have never been able to afford back in our city. L.A. rent is very high more than twice as much as where we were paying in Northern California, I worked extremely hard on my feet 10-12 sometimes 14 hour days, seven days a week so we could make it and be ok. We did awesome, better than I even expected. A lot of bumps in the road along the way but we were ahead until 2020 when Covid hit, I was out of work because all businesses were shut down and no money coming in. So then I decided to start back up an online business that I previously had back in 2015 which was a body butter skin and hair business. That was difficult to get back up and running because I had no money coming and we were living off of the savings I had and I knew that wouldn’t last forever but I made it work. So now here we are in 2021 and I am the owner of a few different online businesses and when we fully are back up and running at the barbershop, I will be back there as well. God has truly blessed us on this journey. It’s remembering our past that propels us to continue moving forward. My daughter is a successful entrepreneur and model, My sons are successful entrepreneurs and have successful careers and I have always been an entrepreneur, now a successful one and I am truly thankful and grateful for the many blessings that God has given me and will continue to give.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road to success is never smooth. It’s not always easy but it is rewarding. There are always challenges and obstacles along the way. It’s how you navigate through them and come out on the other side to become a winner. If you never give up you always win.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Glo Butt’r?
For my barbering business, I work at a shop on Melrose, I go by Graced by D. As I said before, I now own a few different online stores. My 1st baby is Glo Butt’r at globuttr.com which is a body butter business. I sell scented whipped body butters, hair growth oil and a few other items. From that business, I created a bulk butter business called Butters N Bunches at buttersnbunches.com in which I sell mango butter, shea butter, cocoa butter, soap base and pure oils in bulk from Ghana. I will be starting up another business for skincare to be opening in May called Silk Visage at silkvisage.com. I have an all-natural cbd business the products are amazing; we sell for pets as well under yourfitnessorganic.com and I have a consulting firm coming soon. So I really stay busy.

Do you any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
I have a big family and my favorite childhood memory was always seeing family at the family picnics, parties, bar-b-ques and weddings.

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