By Casey Turton
Pitt County Women’s Journal
Ronita “RaDiva” Stanford path to success is an inspirational story of perserverance, faith and a love of what she does at her TruImage Natural Hair and Beauty Salon in Winterville.
Her path includes overcoming physical problems caused by an accident while working at a restaurant that left her disabled and walking with a cane for nearly 6 years. As if that wasn’t enough, a car accident when she was 23 derailed her studies and pushed her away from a cosmetology career. Unable to stand for long periods doing hair, she says, she instead worked as a certified pharmacy technician to get her life back on track.
“God opened the door to hair again. That’s when I got strong and that’s when I got rehabilitated,” she says. Undaunted, she completed her training and made the bold move to start a business. She eventually became a Licensed Natural Hair Care Specialist, Cosmetologist and Licensed Natural Hair Teacher.
“I always dreamed of having my own business. I started doing hair as a youth and enjoyed it. My aunt taught me a lot, so that’s what I did, I grew up doing hair,” she recalls. “I’ve been faith driven the whole time,” she adds.
The business, celebrating its third year, originally opened on Charles Boulevard in Greenville, then moved and opened at 4814 Old Tar Road in Winterville this May.
“You know how it is when all you have is two dollars in your pocket? That’s how I was. I thought what am I doing, opening a business? It was a very humble beginning.” Her mother reminded her is not the size of the building that matters, but the person inside. She adds, “it worked and God is awesome!”
She describes TruImage this way: “The primary focus is natural hair care because I am the first, and pretty much only, natural hair care salon in Greenville and this area.” TruImage also offers related hair care products and services including two strand twists, braids, blow outs, colors and cuts.
“People want to become more health conscious now. Eating more healthy and organic foods, people are looking at a healthier way, even to express themselves without any chemicals,” Ronita notes. “A lot of chemicals and additives they put in hair products cause issues.”
To further promote natural, healthy hair, Ronita hold the annual “This Is Me” Natural Hair & Health Workshop at the Greenville Convention Center. The event started in 2001 and gives attendees an opportunity to meet hair care experts both local and out-of-state.
She can be seen on Greenville’s cable channel 23 on Thursdays when her “This Is Me” Natural Hair & Health show is televised. The show is often repeated on Fridays and Saturdays, she says.
Sensitive to her own good fortune, Ronita works to help the community by donating Christmas gifts to nursing homes, and providing free shoes and haircuts to less-fortunate students going back to school.
“I’ve always been a community giver to give back because I know where my blessings came from,” Ronita says.
Ronita also is parent to two daughters, Ramaya, 10 and Maleah, 9.
TruImage is located at 4814 Old Tar Road in Winterville. Appointments can be made by calling 252-364-2904.