Small Business Series: Three Hairstylists That Everyone Should Know

For black women, in addition to being styled to perfection, our hair is always on point. From weaves to press and curls, tapered fades, and an assortment of braids, black women have always been ones to ensure that their hair receives the best of care. It’s not just the routine hair maintenance that keeps salons packed. It’s the camaraderie between stylist and client. It’s the trust that’s built. It’s the opportunity to be our most vulnerable selves when walking in, be filled will confidence as we strut out, and know that every visit will be just like the one before.

The following three hairstylists have each displayed passion for what they do, love for who they service, and immense gratitude. The first embarked on her hair care journey after a conversation with upper management went awry, giving her the motivation needed to pursue her passion on her own terms. Next is someone who turned her love of hair into a profession that would take her from the salon to styling for a major natural hair care brand to establishing a sacred space for mothers to be poured into. And the last, after working in a children’s salon for 15 years, saw a need for representation after it closed, and decided to open one of her own.

Tina Moore, Glamour Beauty Lounge

What’s your haircare story, and how did you open your salon, Glamour Beauty Lounge?

I was working as a sales associate turned website manager for about 14 years. During this time, I was also doing hair on the weekends and was making so much that the revenues began to meet. One day, my boss upset me, and I started looking up cosmetology schools. I was angry and realized that this couldn’t be life, so I took my savings and went to school. Once I started, I gave myself a year to finish and then start working on my business. So I started school in February of 2016, completed in February of 2017, and opened my salon with my cousin in November of that year. Part of the reason why COVID-19 has been such a struggle for me is that when you put everything you’ve ever had into something and don’t understand its fate, it’s challenging to manage. COVID-19 is challenging to deal with anyway, but it’s even more significant when you feel like your life is on the line. And I feel like my business is my life, it’s everything. It’s what I have given birth to. It’s what I have given my all to.

What are some of the Glamour Beauty Lounge’s services?

As I said, I am in business with my cousin, and she is a skin therapist. So she does the waxing, facials, and lashes, and I provide hair and makeup services. There is a beautiful yoni room for yoni steams that is set up for serenity and for women to become free. We also offer ionic foot baths for you to soak your feet and see what your body is detoxing from. Glamour Beauty Lounge is very vibe sensitive, so there’s no way you can walk in and not feel good.

In pursuing your passion, what has been your most significant or most memorable moment to date?

It’s not just one thing or one day; it’s many days. To see someone walk in and sit in my chair is rewarding every day. When someone wants to spend their money with you, and you do something they’re proud of, it’s a remarkable feeling.

What would you say has been the most significant impact you’ve had on your clients?

You already know that when you get your hair done, you’re telling your stylist all of your business and venting. So when you sit in my chair, you’re not leaving out the same, you’re leaving better. We’re going to talk it out, figure it out, I’m going to heal one of those wounds. Any of my clients will tell you that. I know what I give my clients, and they call me the “Gas Queen.” You’re going to come in and be comfortable with whatever it is that you’re uncomfortable with. Outside of treating their hair, I feel like I treat their hearts and their souls.

What is one thing that you want people to know about the work that you do?

I want people to know that hair is therapy; hair is friendship. I want people to understand that I’m more than just a stylist. I am someone’s therapist, their friend, their getaway. When you have three children and a husband at home, and the only time you can get away to be yourself outside of a mother and wife, you come to me. I realize that my job is sometimes to be that getaway or resort for an hour and a half. It’s like I serve a purpose where I can change a person’s day to the point where they don’t go home and yell or scream or do something irrational because they spent a few hours with me and felt relaxed. There is a preconceived notion that stylists are catty and gossip, but I want people to know that I do so much more for me and my work.

Who inspires you?

Outside of Jill Scott, I inspire me. I have always been the low achiever in school, never had straight A’s, and always packed with fear. So, to look back on where I came from and see where I am now, I am so overly proud of myself. I feel like I’m endless now. There’s no limit.

To learn more about Tina, follow her on Instagram @gbl_official_ and @the_lou_experience.

Rita Natasha, Express Yourself Wellness Salon

What started your hair care journey?

I’ve always had a knack for doing hair. Starting from when I was in grammar school, I would have my friends come to the house so I could braid their hair. It wasn’t until college that I knew it was serious because I turned my dorm room into a salon. I always knew that I would be doing this, and in 2013, I decided to go to cosmetology school.

How have you transitioned?

Now, I call myself a hair therapist, so my goal is to service the hair, but also pour into women about caring for their bodies from the inside out. You can get healthy hair growth by how you take care of your body. I’ve recently become the Creative Hair Director with Thank God It’s Natural (TGIN), and that ties into what I’m doing as well. It’s a natural product that I love and can recommend it to my clients.

What is Natural Good Mommy?

Naturally Good Mommy is a project that I started after having my son. I developed a passion for mothers while hearing a lot of stressful stories from them as I did their hair. So I initially started giving a free hair service away to a mom every month. I would have people send in nominations, and then I picked a winner. But I realized that there needed to be a safe space for moms to come and relax outside of getting a free service. So I developed Self Care Sunday once a month. We do a sister circle where we talk about different issues, I bring in a therapist or life coach, who helps us practice different things, and there’s also yoga.

What has been the greatest impact you’ve had on the lives of your clients?

Teaching women to care for, love on, and be kind to themselves. It goes outside of the physical; it’s all about the self-work.

What’s one thing that you want people to know about the work that you do?

I want people to know that hair care is healing work; it’s a healing service.

Who inspires you?

Women inspire me. Whether I’m at the grocery store, or I’m watching T.V., and Oprah is on there saying something amazing, or I’m reading a book by Angela Rye, women are so dope.

How has being in the hair care industry changed you, and what’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself?

Before doing hair, I was a teacher’s aide for six years. My boss came to me one day and told me that they were eliminating my job and that I was going to going to do hair full time. I was crying about it, and she told me that I had to do it. I had my son, and there was something about not having the stability that made me go hard. And it made me do the work.

To learn more about Rita, visit https://ritanatasha.com/ and follow her on Instagram @rita.natasha.

Andria Guess, Classy Kids Salon

What is Classy Kids Salon’s story, and what led you to open a children’s hair salon?

Classy Kids Salon is currently in its second year. It was opened in May of 2018. My business partner and I saw a need for children’s hair care in the industry. We were already running a children’s hair salon that went out of business, so we found an opportunity to open our own.

What are some of the services that you provide?

We focus on educating the children and parents on their hair and providing a safe and comfortable environment for the children to come. Classy Kids Salon is full service, so we do offer regular shampoo and blow-dry, hairstyles, braids, and cuts.

In the two years that Classy Kids Salon has been in existence, how has it changed?

It’s grown. It’s only gotten better. Our confidence in the hair care industry and just stepping out on our own has manifested in our business. In two years, we’ve opened up a second location, which is just about unheard of. Most companies don’t see a profit until at least two years. But we saw it right away and decided to take it and double it.

Since opening, when did you realize that you were on to something?

Before we opened, we were booked for a full month in advance. That was when we knew that it would work.

What has been Classy Kids Salon’s most significant moment to date?

The greatest moment was opening those doors. It took a lot of hard work and uncertainties to even get to that point. We’ve always worked for someone and never had our own. So as business owners, opening the door and seeing our first client.  It’s one thing to do hair. It’s one thing to do an adult’s hair. But it’s another thing to do children’s hair, in a professional environment where you have to be the beautician, the mom, the cool aunt, and the nurse, if necessary. It’s not something that everyone’s cut out for, and for my partner and I to excel in such a niche field, it is a great feeling.

What has been the greatest impact on your clients’ lives?

Even though the business has only been opened for two years, my partner and I have been in the industry for over 15 years. We are at the point where the children that we serviced 15 years ago are bringing their children to us. They’re telling us about how they remember sitting in our chair, being told that they’re beautiful, and how it gave them the confidence. It’s not just about the children that we’re servicing today, but also the confidence that we instilled in their parents, which made them bring them to us so that we could repeat the cycle.

When you opened Classy Kids Salon, did you imagine the growth and exposure that it currently has?

Yes. I was confident, but not so quickly. We knew that it could work. We knew that it was a sustainable profession. You’re always going to need your hair done. There’s always a child that’s going to need their hair done. But I didn’t think that we would be able to grow so quickly.

What does the future hold for Classy Kids Salon?

Great things. I envision Classy Kids Salon would be a place for learning. Learning about the beauty industry, learning about this specific niche, and learning how to run a hair salon that’s productive professionally. The way that we run Classy Kids Salon is more productive than 90% of the hair salons that I’ve experienced, and I want to teach what I’ve learned. I want to be able to teach my mindset to today’s youth, and show them how to set up their business correctly, customer service, how to do their books, and how to be productive in a salon setting. I want to grow my company while increasing their understanding of how to be productive.

What is one thing that you want people to know about the work that you do?

It’s done with love. It’s done with care. It’s not rushed. We always put the child first.

To learn more about Classy Kids Salon, visit https://www.vagaro.com/classykidshydepark, and follow them on Instagram @classykidssalon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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