Becoming self-employed has many benefits. So many people seem to have this romanticized version of what being an entrepreneur consists of. Working from home or the beach and having more freedom is great, but creating a great atmosphere and a safe place for employees has been the main goal for Erin H. She has taken the life of entrepreneurship as an opportunity to pour into others, to build a very lucrative business for herself, and to keep her joy while doing it.
As I dived into conversation with Erin about entrepreneurship and what that looked like for her, I had an opportunity to walk through her childhood where she first piqued interest in doing hair. As a little girl, Erin learned how to do hair by watching her mom getting her hair done at home. She was fascinated when she saw the beautification of her mom being transformed. Just like a lot of young girls, Erin had a doll, and she would mimic her mom’s hair styles. She could recall how nice her mom stylist was to her and how that made her feel. A seed was being planted into Erin at a young age by acknowledging and supporting her work. It was those moments that changed her life and watered her gift. She was intrigued by what she saw and did what she could to figure out how to recreate it. Once she saw her mom get a sew in and was blown away. Doing hair, changed a young girl name Erin’s life.
Erin became a mom at an early age and that motivated her even more to do hair to support her and her baby. Erin also shared something with me about her journey that I found to be profound and a great reminder. She faced some challenges but didn’t allow it to deter her vision. A month before graduating cosmetology school, Erin broke her right wrist. She had to sit out for a year so that her wrist could properly heal. This made me think, a setback is only a set up for greatness. It is all about perspective. If Erin had not allowed her wrist the proper time to heal, she could have caused long term damage and not be where she is today. Erin’s journey shows her aspiration to do something great.
Erin knew that to build her business, she had to employ the right people that were the right fit for her vision; and she definitely wasn’t afraid to take the necessary step to create what she envisioned for her future. Being a business owner, whether the owner of a salon or a chair, you must know when to walk away. Often people in business sacrifice themselves for money, but it takes a lot to stand up for what is more important. Money will come and go but growing your business and creating your brand the right way may cause you to lose short term money, for long term success. Erin has set herself up for success. The way that she leads people speaks volume about her character and who she is. When Erin got her license, she walked into the business with a following that was loyal to her for many years from her home chair. She had a client base that was down for her since the very beginning and as her business continued to grow, she stayed faithful to her clients. In business, you have to take care of the people that takes care of you.
Speaking with Erin allowed me to see a young black successful business savvy entrepreneur who walked into the hair industry with a dream. Her dream was to create a space where stylists could come into work with serenity and peace; an atmosphere that was uplifting and safe. This was something she desired and saw a need. You can have the most sophisticated and upscale salon, but when the atmosphere is not right, none of that matters. What matters is the people, how they are treated, and how they feel when they walk into your establishment.
Erin also expressed the need for self-care and protecting her energy. That is something entrepreneurs have to consider. Often people measure success by money because that was taught for generations. Erin spoke about the need for placing boundaries in her life so that she was able to climb and maintain. What good is reaching a peak and falling off? She came to a place where she knew that she had to stick to her guns and not feel bad about not being able to be there for everyone. This statement may resonate with a lot of people because at some point we all had to learn this. Once Erin set boundaries in place, her love and passion for business grew more. She became even more creative and started her own wig line. As I was scrolling her Instagram page, I saw a post where she was offering her wigs as a service. I was very intrigued and eager to find out more. I’ve noticed that clothing companies are now allowing people to borrow outfits for events and return them. I was curious to know if this was something similar. Erin creates wigs and allow people to use them for weddings or day events. She also learned a technique where she makes wigs in less than one hour using a sewing machine.
I am so blown away by the creativity of young entrepreneurs; and the way that they are dominating the industry. They see a need and create solutions. They have also learned to craft their skill in a way that cuts down on time. This allows them to be more available to take on more clients. Erin is a trailblazer, and she is building up others to be as successful. What I admire the most about the upcoming generation, they are fearless; and even in an over saturated industry they bring their own ideas and start building a name for themselves. One of the many things I took away from my conversation with Erin is while she is building her business and brand, she never compromised who she is and what she stands for. Business is business and you do not have to give yourself away to do it.
Featured Image by Tavia Whitlowe