; She Rocks! Althea Chase - From Social Outcast to Successful Entrepreneur - Guyanese Girls Rock!
New York, New York, USA

She Rocks! Althea Chase – From Social Outcast to Successful Entrepreneur

In August 2013, Althea Chase with the help of her sister Crystal, hosted a sleep over for her daughter and 6 of her friends. They did manicures, pedicures and chocolate facials which they all loved.  They ate pizza, drank apple cider in champagne glasses, and had girl talk. The girls talked about their future plans and how they were going to make the world a better place. It was a life changing, fun experience and everyone had a wonderful time. After the sleepover Althea would constantly get calls from the other moms asking when the next sleepover was going to be.  The girls had so much fun that they couldn’t stop talking about it.  Sometime in June of 2014 a light bulb went off and Althea realized that girls need to be empowered.  So Althea put her idea into action and in November 2014 Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa and Salon opened its doors in a truly unique location in Brooklyn, New York.

Here’s Althea’s story of how she went from being a social outcast to a successful entrepreneur.

Fresh as Daily Spa
Fresh as Daily Spa

My name is Alteaha Chase and I was born on March 17th 1979. My mother Joan LaRose is a teacher and my father Ashton Austin was a mechanic. My childhood was spent surrounded by family and friends. We lived in a large house that was shared by my mother and her three sisters and a friend. My mother and I occupied half of the top flat, we had one bedroom and another room that doubled as our kitchen and family room. Growing up I knew I was loved by both of my parents and my extended family; however, the words I love you were never said. You are beautiful and I am proud of you were rarely used. I attended Stella Maris Primary school then moved on to North Georgetown Secondary school (NGSS). At NGSS I would gravitate to people like myself; the shy easygoing, introverts.

Althea and Daughter Daisy
Althea and Daughter Daisy

My mother migrated to the United States from Guyana, South America in 1994 in search of a better life & in 1996 I followed. I left behind so many people who were instrumental my youth and with whom I had strong ties. Everyone that I identified with were now miles away. To say the transition was hard is an understatement. It felt more like a transformation. I went from living among family and friends to residing in a two bedroom apartment with my mother and then two-year old sister in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

I attended John Jay High School and the experience was overwhelming. Instead of being placed in the 12th grade, they placed me in 10th grade. I excelled academically and had the advantage of being ahead of my fellow students in all subject areas, but socially I felt myself shrinking. I was overwhelmed at the size of the school, the class structure and the mere pressure of trying to fit in. My accent caused some to laugh, my hair was not in style and I was not part of the “in” crowd with my store bought clothing. High school can be the turning point for my many students and I was a social outcast. Kids made fun of my accent & made me feel like an outcast. I cringed inside at the thought of going to school and what lay ahead of me on any given day.

The toll of being ostracized was becoming too much and I finally convinced my mother to allow me to take the GED exam. Since academically I never had any problems, I was able to pass the test on my first attempt. I began working and was able to establish a slight sense of belonging with some friends I was beginning to make.

Pedicure
Sisters enjoying their pedicure

Over the next few years, more of my family and friends began migrating to New York from Guyana. This was comforting because I know felt like I belonged. We would sit and reminisce about Guyana and tell our stories about the transition to the United States. As we talked, we all shared a common thread, the ease and uncertainty we felt when we first moved here.

It was at this time that I decided I wanted the experience of young people girls in particular moving to the United States from a foreign country to be better than what it was for me. ENABLE, EMPOWER & EDUCATE!!! This became my mantra from that point on & I began envisioning my dream of working with young women. At my mother church Greater AME Zion located on Lenox Avenue in Brooklyn New York I would start a small youth group where school ages girls would meet to discuss issues they were facing in schools our little group only lasted a few session but I was determined to reach more girls.

Fresh_as_daisy
Glitter and glamour

I enrolled at Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) I graduated with Associates Degree in Human service. I gained employment at Queens Children Guidance Center as a caseworker working with at risk youths and families. My job responsibilities included home visits & providing support and counseling to the families

I attended Lehman College where I majored in Social Work. In 2004 I graduated Magna Cum Laude and was on the Dean’s List. I was employed at the nonprofit agency YAI, as a Developmental Aide. YAI provides housing, counseling and a vast array of other services to individuals with developmental disabilities. In 2006, I accepted a position as a Social Worker Assistant with NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). My duties include interacting with clinical staff to provide support services to developmentally disabled individuals that live at home and in residential settings. I advocate for individuals who are disadvantaged and unable to speak up for themselves.

While continuing to work for OPWDD on a modify schedule, I applied and was accepted into the Advanced Standing Program at the Hunter College School of Social Work. I had the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful yearlong internship at Ackerman Institute for Family. I was a part of the Diversity and Social Work Training Program there I provide therapy to families dealing school difficulties, child and adolescent problems, marital issues, divorce, bereavement, learning disabilities, family violence, child abuse and incest, and chronic medical illness including AIDS. I would help family members work collaboratively towards solutions to their problems, and help them to harness and strengthen family resources.

Daisy2
Bling manicure

I graduated in 2007 with a Master’s Degree and a deep love and understanding of working and advocating for people that could not do so for themselves. My work is rewarding but there was always a burning desire within to work with young women migrating to a new place.

In 2008 I give birth to my most prized possession, a baby girl I named Daisy I envision a life for her filled with the things I never had the chance to experience. She would have the opportunity to experience the arts, the ballet, & museums.

We do a lot of mother-daughter activities and on special occasions I would bring her along to the nail salon where she would be treated to a manicure and pedicure. She loved the experience, but I began to notice that the service and environment were not kid friendly. As I continued to treat daisy to the occasional salon visit I found myself complaining about the lack of attention she was given and how fast the services was completed. It was as though her nails & feet were not taken seriously.

In August of 2013 I hosted a sleep over for Daisy and 6 of her friends, I recruited my younger sister, Crystal to help. We did manicures, pedicures and chocolate facials which they all loved. We ate pizza, drank apple cider in champagne glasses, and had girl talk. The girls talked about future plans and how they were going to make the world a better place. It was a life changing, fun experience and we had a wonderful time. After the sleepover I would constantly get calls from the other moms asking when the next sleepover was going to be. The girls had so much fun that they couldn’t stop talking about it.

Red Carpet Fashion Show
Red Carpet Fashion Show

Sometime in June 2014 a light bulb went off in my head and I realized that all girls from all walks of life needed to be empowered.  Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa & Salon was named after my daughter and with the vision of the life I have for her. Life lessons begin at a young age and are carried throughout life so why not start now. In November 2014 the doors of Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa and Salon opened.

ABOUT FRESH AS DAISY SPA

Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa is a hidden paradise for girls ages 2-14. Our Mission is Pamper, Empower and Educate young girls, build self-esteem, confidence and create employment. This wonderful establishment has hosted over 150 events since November 21th 2014, we continue to learn, grow and improve. Our Kids Spa offers Orbeez manicures and fun flavored pedicure such as bubble gum, watermelon, cotton candy, blueberry, strawberry. We also offer edible, colorful chocolate facials with cool cucumber eye patches. No two parties are ever the same.  Spa parties are unique, interactive, and fun. We have an incredible Cupcake Decorating Station that brings out the creativity in kids and adults. Your Spa party can also include a fancy fashion show where little Divas can dress up in pink tutu, boas, diamonds, pearls and walk down the red carpet to be crown fashion Diva. Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa has a full service children hair salon specializing in braiding, flat twist, cornrows, extensions and dreadlocks. Our all inclusive kids spa party center specialize in all themes, Monster High, Frozen, Princess, Pink In Paris etc.. Little Divas, and princesses can enjoy gorgeous glitter make up, fancy nail polish, and our signature pink champagne while being pampered in our comfy pink spa robes and slippers.

Purple choclate facial
Purple chocolate facial

Because we are extremely big on community involvement and family, for Mother Days 2015 Fresh as Daisy kids Spa  pampers all the mothers, and grandmothers of The Greater Saint James AME Zion Church on Lenox Avenue in Brooklyn New York. We also donated our time and service to pamper all the little girls of Thaddeus Stevens Public School (P.S 81) who made the Honor Roll. We are currently in talks with the Principle and Parent Coordinator at Granvill T. Wood Public School 335 putting together a date and time to pamper all the littler girls who attends that school and are currently live in temporary housing such as shelter, and foster care. Fresh as Daisy Kids Spa participated in 12th Annual Children’s Sport and Fitness Expo which was held at Boys and Girls School in June. We also attended the 6th Annual Juneteenth Family Fun Day in June which was held at Gershwin Park in Brooklyn New York.

Fresh as Daily

I am extremely happy that I have provided such an awesome place for her and many other little girls who come from near and far to experience our services. It is very important for little girls to see that adults that look like them can build, create and manage businesses.

I encourage any girl to follow their dream don’t matter what people may say. Work hard, dream big and be determine. Anything is possible if you just believe.

Visit www.freshasdaisy.com for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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