Meet Marquetta Breslin
I’m often asked how I got into this business, so I’ve decided to write the highlights of my life to give you a glimpse into who I am and how I got where I am today…
A “Girly Girl” From Day One
I grew up in a tiny town called Bunn, just north of Raleigh in North Carolina. It was so small, in fact, that Bunn didn’t even have a traffic light until a few years ago!
My passion for hair began as a child when my mom or my Aunt Ella would straighten and curl my hair. After my hair was done, I would sit in front of the mirror for hours admiring their work. I loved my hair so much, in fact, that I got in trouble in kindergarten for using my mirror and comb in class! Ultimately, my teacher had a conference with my mother to talk about my “behavior” regarding my hair. Even at a young age, as you can see, I loved a great hairstyle.
Growing Up Is Hard To Do
Let’s fast-forward to my fifth grade year of school. My mom, my brothers, and I moved to Raleigh, and I became the new kid in school. From fifth grade through seventh grade, kids picked on me for my big eyes and my big teeth, and they made fun of me because I didn’t wear the name-brand clothes that some of my friends did. Needless to say, it was a tough time in my life.
The teasing hurt at the time, but looking back I can see that my determination to rise above that experience helped make me a stronger person and the business woman I am today.
We moved back to Bunn for my last year of middle school and four years of high school, and I played basketball in middle school. Although I definitely wasn’t the best player, I enjoyed the experience. Still, I tried my best.
In high school I tried out for basketball again, and I was so excited when I made it; after the first season, though, I lost interest in basketball and decided to try out for cheerleading. To my surprise I made it and was the only freshman who made the varsity squad. I loved cheering.
Cheerleading became a passion of mine because it was so much fun! In fact, I ended up cheering and running track until I graduated from high school. However, despite my enjoyment for extracurricular activities, my high school years were bittersweet. My freshman year was a lot of fun, but my parents separated during my sophomore year and my grades declined. Then I lost my enthusiasm for school altogether. I still managed to pass my classes, despite the sadness I was feeling at the time.
Now What? Life After High School
After graduation my mom insisted that I get out of the house and go back to school, so I enrolled at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina. I only attended two or three semesters before I dropped out due to transportation issues and lack of motivation. However, before I dropped out, one of my fondest memories is of my Grandpa contributing gas money so I could drive to school each day. He always told me that there was no excuse for me not to make it. At that time gas was cheap, so $3.00 would get me to school and back for a few days. Unfortunately, my luck changed, I lost my transportation, and I quit school.
After I dropped out of college and sat around the house for a few months, it was time for the family reunion in Myrtle Beach, SC, which was held during Black Bike Week – the country’s largest African-American motorcycle rally. I was 18 and had been attending the reunion since I was about 14 or 15, so I knew what to expect, and I was ready for some fun!
Finding My Path To The Future
Just before I left for Myrtle Beach, however, I was feeling low. I didn’t have a job, my car had been repossessed, and I was no longer a college student. Then I had an idea. I called my cousin in New Jersey and told her that I wanted to visit her after the reunion. I would leave Myrtle Beach with my aunt and go to New Jersey for two weeks before I returned home.
When I got to Jersey, however, I had a strong feeling that I was supposed to be there but I didn’t understand why. A couple days after I arrived, my cousin and her boyfriend told me about a temporary employment agency that was hiring for a position at a pharmaceutical company. I’ve always been spontaneous, so I decided to check it out. I interviewed for the position, and I was hired for the job.
Afterward, I called my mom to let her know I wouldn’t be coming home for a while, and I worked for the pharmaceutical company for nearly a year. A short time after the contract ended, I enrolled in Union County College in Union, New Jersey. Then I landed a job at Circuit City working with my cousin, and I remained there until I enlisted in the Air Force.
How I Joined The Air Force – And Changed My Life Forever
Deciding to join the Air Force was one of the best moves I’ve ever made. It started one Sunday while I was working at Circuit City when a gentleman came in dressed in an Army uniform.
He shared with me some of his military experiences, and I knew almost immediately that I wanted to join the Army. Within a day or two, I called an Army recruiter and was on my way to sign the paperwork to enlist.
Then my cousin’s boyfriend came home from school and told me about an Air Force recruiter he had talked to. He gave me a ton of information about the Air Force and convinced me that I should change my plans and contact the Air Force recruiter ASAP – and I did.
The Air Force recruiter used my ASVAB scores from the Army test to complete my enlistment, and on June 11, 2000 I left from Long Island to join the United States Air Force. That day was a major turning point in my life because had I decided not to join the Air Force, I can’t imagine where I’d be today.
Trying To Be Cute In Basic Training
I had no idea what to look forward to, but once I arrived at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, I quickly learned what was expected of me. Recruits – including myself – were bused to the base from the airport and when the bus stopped, the “fun” began! “GET OFF MY BUS!!!” were the first words I heard in basic training, which was intimidating, to say the least. However, looking back, I remember having a lot of fun during basic training.
My family loves to hear the story of my arrival at basic training, so I’ll share it with you too. You know that I have always been a girly girl, and I was such a girly girl then that I didn’t even own a pair of sneakers. In fact, when we were told to wear our civilian clothes to basic, I naturally showed up in some high-heeled boots and a cute shirt! Today I wonder, “What in the world was I thinking?”
After exiting the bus, we had to form up and march to a building that seemed like five miles away – and I marched in my high-heeled boots! My boots made so much noise that our Military Training Instructor yelled, “WHO THE H*LL SHOWED UP FOR BASIC IN HIGH-HEELED SHOES?!” I was so scared he’d come back there and torture me that I marched on my tippy toes the rest of the way. The upside is that it was the ULTIMATE calf workout!
Braiding Hair In The Dorm
I soon became friends with a few of the recruits, and I started braiding hair for a couple of friends in our dorm. Before long, girls were asking me to cornrow their hair every night. The other girls in other dorms were wondering how we all looked fly and how we managed to have our hair meticulously done. It was fun. That experience taught me that braiding hair for others was definitely something I would want to continue doing.
After graduating from basic training we went to tech school. The girls that came with me continued to ask me to do their hair, and I acquired quite a few clients from basic to tech school. Some of my clients ended up stationed with me at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, where I continued to do hair until I met my husband Ricky.
Who Says Love And Business Don’t Mix?
Ricky and I met in the dorms at Langley. We dated for eight months, and then we got married. Ricky saw that I was always doing somebody’s hair in our tiny 600-square-foot apartment, and he decided to start up a website to promote my hair styling services. I was reluctant; I didn’t want to jump into the business right then. However, ultimately I told myself, “Why wait? Let’s just do it and see what happens.” I’ve never once looked back.
In March of 2003 we started Braids By Breslin and put an advertisement on our car, and I started getting new customers right away. People loved my work, and I was really busy. Then, when Ricky came to me with the idea of teaching other people to braid hair just like I do, I was enthusiastic. Much to my surprise, Ricky had already done the research, and he was in contact with a film producer within hours.
Within three weeks our first DVDs were filmed. To be honest, they were horrible. We filmed them several more than times, just trying to get them right. At that time we couldn’t afford to get the DVDs mass produced, so we had the covers copied at Staples and burned the DVDs in our apartment.
Building Our Business And Our Family
As you can see, Braids By Breslin had humble beginnings. That little 600-square-foot apartment is where it all began – the place where my dreams started to come true. Ricky worked day and night while I did hair, and we did it all after working a full day in the Air Force. About 10 months after we got married, our daughter Nya was born; when Nya was four months old, I became pregnant with our son Cale.
A little more than a year after getting married and having our first baby, we learned we were going to be stationed at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. We were so excited! I was six months pregnant with Cale when we packed and moved to the Low Country.
Ricky’s Air Force job at Charleston required a lot of his time and energy, but he still managed to work on the business while I was pregnant and taking care of Nya. Once Cale was born, we quickly discovered what it was like to have two kids, a business, and a full time job – not fun but definitely busy!
After The Air Force: Freedom
When Cale was just four months old, Ricky was sent to Germany for four months. I was left home alone with a one-year-old and a four-month-old. Talk about busy! Upon his return, Ricky learned he would have to leave again to go to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar for five months, so he missed almost the entire first year of Cale’s life. Ricky was fortunate to get out of the Air Force in Aug 2007.
In October of 2007 I was awarded a Special Duty position as a dorm manager at Charleston Air Force Base. It was a good job. I loved being able to chat with the Airmen, and it was a lot of fun!
Finally, in mid-July 2009, when I learned that I was being reassigned to my former job in the Air Force, I requested to get out early. Much to everyone’s surprise, including mine, my date was approved! On Aug 15, 2009, I separated from the Air Force after serving for nine years.
Today I’m happier than ever, mainly because I have the freedom to do what I love…style hair, create new products, write, and bring you a ton of information to enrich your life!
I hope you have enjoyed my story! If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact me any time.
CEO & Founder