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Meet Tanya Illery

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tanya Illery.

Hi Tanya, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I began my business in 2014 as a hobby for my daughters and myself. I brought my ingredients with food stamps and made my first batch of Shea butter for my daughter’s skin condition and used the product for our hair. In 2015, my checks was being garnished. So, not only taxes pre and post was coming out of my check so was an extra 25%. That’s when I decided to try to sell my products at the time just body & hair butter and sugar scrub to my Facebook audience and co-workers. Word began to spread quickly and soon, I began sold out of my products. In 2008, I tried to go to cosmetology school but being a single mother of two at the time while working 12hr shifts it was hard, I dropped out and went on to community college and took online classes it was easier to maintain.

In 2016 my mother had knee surgery and she needed me home to care for her. I went to my boss and asked for the time off. My boss was against it and told me if she approved my FMLA, I wouldn’t get paid for two months. I was saddened but it was my mother so I agreed. I eventually made my income from selling my products and doing natural hair on the side. Time I went back to work, I decided to leave my job of 12 years to return to cosmetology school and complete my license. While completing my license, I work under other stylists to gain more training. I worked at salons, ulta, etc.

In 2019, my life changed forever. My dad died in the winter, soon after I opened my own salon suite in the spring, broken my finger in the summer, found out I had two bone tumors, had surgery in the fall. Worked for Instacart with a cast on to continue to pay for my salon suite and other bills while healing. In January 2020, my pain from healing was under control and was cleared to work again. March of 2020 the shutdown happened and I had to shut down my salon suite for two months after I returned from surgery. No income for 90 days. When Maryland allowed us to open again my lease was up, I had no money and had to move out. 

I worked inside a traditional salon to rebuild for three short months and was let go due to client retention. I barely had three clients a week. We were living in a world of uncertainty and my clients wasn’t comfortable being around other people in the middle of a pandemic. After I was asked to leave, I almost went back to Work for Johns Hopkins. Then my best friend and mother told me to try one more time opening a salon suite. So, I did and boy my life did a 360. I became booked out a month in advance and products it was hard keeping products in stock.

Today, I renewed my lease planning to move into a bigger salon suite and working on putting my products in stores like Target, and Moms Market and Trader Joe’s.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
No, my struggles were not believing in myself as much as I believe in other people’s journey. I had my checks garnished, Lien on my account, fighting with bone tumors, literally going broke, starting over more than a few times and had long nights.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a licensed Cosmetologist and owner of Taylorsugabutters Natural Hair Salon. I specialize in Hair Color, Natural Hair Care, Two strand twists, etc., and Loc’d Haircare. I make and sell my own hair and skincare products. I’m known for my professionalism, Haircare, color service, loc service and educating my clients on the importance of natural hair care. I am most proud of the impact I’ve had and still have on people throughout the natural hair care industry. Meaning my clients love how clients focus I am. And if I can add value to other upcoming stylists, I would help in any way I can.

What sets me apart from other professionals is my upbeat personality, my professionalism, and I love educating my clients on products and hair care. Plus, I like to give my clients a good shampoo, lol.

Do you have any memories from childhood that you can share with us?
My favorite childhood memories is not paying bills lol 😆 and hanging at my grandma’s house during the summers.

Contact Info:

  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Instagram: Taylorsugabutters
  • Facebook: Taylorsugabutters

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