This is a reinvention on the rise. And even if Catina R. Fletcher has a lot of room to grow, she’s also come a long way.
Her company, Diamonds Haircare, is her life. She produces her oils, creams, and shampoos in her dining room. Her living room is her warehouse. And she likes to call her car, “the marketing department.”
“I do sales pitches at the red light,” Fletcher says. “I travel with my business cards, my fliers. I have to hand them out real quick.”
The last decade of her life is an inspirational story of a woman taking control of her future.
Her story is part of a special series, called 'SWFL Reinvented’ on Fox 4 Morning News. We started telling these stories because viewers told us the pain of the recession still haunts them. They wanted to hear stories about people who went through what they went through; stories about people who lost their jobs or businesses and found a new way to succeed. These are also stories about people who started with nothing and created a business that’s thriving.
Fletcher has reinvented herself three different times, the last 12 years. And it hasn’t been easy.
“Wake up every morning to a new day,” is the advice she gives. "Just keep going.”
Catina’s story starts in 2007. She got a job with a Fort Myers non-profit as a truck driver. But she wanted more.
“I went back to school, received my degree in business management,” she says.
And from there, she moved up into the office and got a job as the company’s accountant.
That alone would be a success story. But she had to reinvent herself again. Several years later, she began losing her hair. Her doctor said it was alopecia.
“It was hard, I lost confidence,” Fletcher says. "I mean, I had patches in my head. What woman would want to walk around with patches?”
She says her doctor prescribed medication. But Fletcher believes medication led to the alopecia, and she didn’t want to take more.
“So I decided no. I’m going to do my homework on this. How does the hair grow? How does the hair follicle grow?”
With her business degree in hand, she started studying science. She started reading books and taking chemistry classes online. For a year she tinkered around with oils and finally found something she says started growing her hair back. It was a remarkable achievement. She says it was a hobby, and she gave it out to people she knew.
“It was just something I was doing for friends and family,” Fletcher says.
But it would become much more. Because in 2017 something happened that destroyed her sense of stability.
“So, I went to work one day and the word was, ‘Catina, we no longer need you,’” she says. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was lost.”
She says new management cleared out some of the office staff. And while most people would probably have started looking for a new job with a new company, Fletcher decided to put her faith somewhere else.
“I did not want that to happen to me again,” she says. "I gave that non-profit organization my all. I went back to school to get my degree to grow with this company. I was building a platform with this company. That’s all I knew. So when that happened I decided I was not going to let no one else do me like that.”
That was the moment Diamonds Haircare was born. Fletcher decided from that point on, she would only count on herself. She took what she learned from her hobby, and created more products. It hasn’t been easy, but slowly, Fletcher has developed a following, selling her products online and in person at stores in the Midwest and Georgia.
This year she was named a finalist for the Small Business Development Center’s ‘Distinguished Entrepreneur Award of Southwest Florida.'
“That tells me I’m doing something right. I’m doing something right with my business,” she says.
And she likes to think, it's only the beginning.
"Yes, this company going to grow.”