Featured Success Stories
With 22 years of experience as a hair stylist, Michelle Schofield was excited to open her own salon. In doing so, she knew she could best serve her clients while also providing a place to teach new stylists, giving back and inspiring others. Combined with a background in and a passion for cosmetology, Michelle knew she had the experience to make this dream a reality. What Michelle needed to learn, however, was the nuts and bolts of how to run a business. She came to Entrepreneur Works and took a class, learning about operations. Armed with this knowledge, she applied for her license, talked to the township where her business would be located, and reached out to an insurance company, allowing her to successfully structure her business and obtain LLC. "Entrepreneur Works helped me change from thinking like an employee to thinking like an employer." Michelle opened Ku’umba Hair Salon in Upper Darby where she employs another stylist and an intern. Together, Michelle’s team offers a variety of hair and beauty services to their clients. Michelle also gives back to her community, offering free haircuts and hairstyles to Upper Darby School District students in September before school starts. In opening her own business, Michelle faced challenges that are common to entrepreneurs, such as managing paperwork and maintaining a steady budget for paid employees. However, she has been able to meet these challenges, because the Entrepreneur Works classes helped her “understand the difference between owning a business and operating a business.” Now, Michelle’s favorite parts of running her own business are making her clients feel good about themselves, and networking with other professionals, taking classes to improve her technical, communication, and business skills.
Jafi Barnes and Karen Wilson know hair. Both professional hair stylists, the two have owned Natural Root Salon,which recently moved to Philadelphia’s Parkside neighborhood, since 2008. And the business has been growing. Natural Root Salon now counts five employees: four hair stylists and one hair assistant. The two also own a second Natural Root Salon in University City in West Philadelphia and originally owned Salon Ai Mei in Washington, D.C. Hair, it turns out, is the easy part for the entrepreneurial duo. Loving what they do also helps. The real challenge for both has been in being disciplined and learning how to manage their finances: The couple took Entrepreneur Works’ business skills course shortly after they secured the lease on their salon. Through the course, Jafi and Karen received help with budgeting, learned how to better manage their business, and also developed a solid business plan. Having been through the process, Jafi advises entrepreneurs who are just starting out to properly educate themselves on how to run a business. Talking to those who have been in business for a while is important: “Mimic people who have been in business,” says Jafi. Other key qualities that entrepreneurs must embody, he adds, are consistency and persistency. For more information on Natural Root Salons' products and services, check out the Natural Root Salons website andFacebook fan page! [gallery link="none" size="full" ids="370,369,368"]
Latasha Sampson, owner of Chocolate City Hair Studio & Spa in Southwest Philadelphia, may be running a successful business, but for her, commercial success has never been the most rewarding part of entrepreneurship. “What I really wanted was to do something for my community,” she says, smiling as she carefully flatirons a client’s hair. “I wanted to create something for minority women and employ people in my neighborhood.” Latasha’s newly redesigned and relocated salon and spa is sleek, stylish and indispensable, offering a full range of spa and beauty services and catering primarily to both men and women of color in the Philadelphia area. In January 2011, Latasha received a small business loan from Entrepreneur Works which allowed her to purchase furniture, equipment and design elements for her new retail space. During the early stages of Chocolate City’s development, Latasha took advantage of Entrepreneur Works’ business skills course, which introduced her to funding opportunities, critical resources and business strategies. Latasha describes the business skills class as critical to her success today. “I loved the class and I have definitely recommended it to others,” she says. “It really opened up business information and funding information that I wouldn’t have found otherwise. Entrepreneur Works played a very big part in the creation of my business. Without Entrepreneur Works I wouldn’t be here." To learn more about Latasha Sampson and Chocolate City, click here.