My Birthday Wish...
Let me tell you about my past struggles and why this birthday is so important to me. I’ve sacrificed my happiness, felt trapped in dead-end jobs, was fired, homeless and displaced, suffered from postpartum depression, made stupid mistakes to keep from drowning in sadness...
My Introduction to Cosmetology
I remember being as young as 4 years old and attending beauty school with my mom as she trained to become a hair stylist. I grew up watching her make people look and feel beautiful. As I became older I was her assistant, I knew then I would never be a hair stylist. Well, that was one first of many sacrifices in my life, because I ended up doing hair anyway in order to make pocket change during high school.
In 2005 when Hurricane Rita hit Lake Charles, I moved to Baton Rouge where I worked at Piggly Wiggly as a cashier, living pillar to post with relatives and friends; although I had a roof over my head, I was lost. When our home was safe enough to live in again, I moved back to Lake Charles and ended up doing what I thought I would never do...I enrolled in beauty school!
At 19, I was more talented than I thought, winning styling competitions and gaining clients! To my surprise I fell in love with doing hair!
I FINALLY began to feel a sense of belonging. But it didn’t last long. I ended up failing the state board exam. I was so hurt and felt like a failure. Even my instructor was in shock, I thought she was teasing me...but no, I had failed.
Nevertheless, I pushed past the embarrassment and a month later I took the exam again and passed! My life was finally coming together! Nope...Although I passed the exam, I didn’t have many clients. I had no choice but to work various dead end jobs in order to make ends meet. I recall crying every single day on my way to work selling cameras at Best Buy. Every day it was the same routine. I’d dry my eyes and skip inside the store with a smile on my face, trying to hide my brokenness.
After many other dead end jobs, one day a friend of mine told me about a job opening at the salon she worked at inside of Walmart. I was hired on the spot, but still I struggled to gain clients. A year later my cousin in Houston was being deployed and offered me the opportunity to live in his home rent free for a year, I transferred from Walmart in LA to a Walmart in Houston the next day! I gained clientele immediately! It was like I was meant to be there; I was now 22 years old and my life had changed for the better! After about a year of doing what I loved in a new beautiful city, I was fired from the salon! It was all too good to be true.
Pretending to be happy was no longer an easy task. A former client noticed my pain and encouraged me, “Most of the people at the salon were there to see you. You should rent a suite, become an entrepreneur!” Why not!?
I was grateful that 75% of my clients followed me to a very small room at Alex Burton Salons. I wasn’t concerned with making a profit, I was able to pay my bills and that was enough!
GOD IS AMAZING!!!
My business began to grow and after a year I moved into a larger suite. I soon outgrew that space and after waiting some time, an even larger space became available. Life and business was great! My grandmother taught me about faith and I am so happy I stepped out on it.
My next, and GREATEST accomplishment was an unplanned pregnancy delivering me a beautiful little boy! Everything I had, I poured into my child - my most prized possession - the joy in my life. My business and my life had taken the back burner.
DEPRESSSION AND SACRIFICE
I used every dime I had saved, with the help of my parents and close family to pay my bills while I was out recovering. Made the tough decision to purchase a home; this ate up everything I had saved for retirement. Along with my greatest accomplishment came depression, anxiety, feeling alone, and the need to be wanted and accepted. With all that I had accomplished, I was still so broken. The love that I am able to give to this child is what has kept me going. MANY days the hugs that I ask from him are what I need the most!
Now that he is almost 4 years old and fiercely independent, I have more time and energy to pour into my passion. I called my realtor to look for a larger workspace, even searched the city myself but nothing came up within my budget. It would cost me at least an additional $2000 a month!
FAITH AND PATIENCE...
Although I was unhappy in my suite as it’s become cramped and non conducive, I’ve decided to practice gratefulness and patience.
TWO WEEKS LATER, the manager of my building tells me the suite adjacent to mine had become available and she would open the wall for me. The new space will only be an additional $900 a month! I can do that! Praise God!
The quote for the new space along with buildout, appliances, tools and supplies is roughly $10k.
My birthday wish...In order to get closer to achieving my goal, I am hoping to have the support of my clients, family and friends. I’m asking in lieu of gifts for my upcoming 32nd birthday on March 19th, a contribution of at least $100 (or whatever you feel moved to donate) toward my goal of creating a larger workspace to comfortably accommodate my clientele and provide optimal service. (As an incentive, for $100+ contributions, you will receive 25% off your next visit.)
I want you all to know how thankful I am to have come this far. I truly feel that I am walking in my purpose. I want the women and men that I encounter to leave my salon with more than just good service and a beautiful hair style. I know that God has a divine plan for my life, and I’m doing everything I can with INTENTION to be what I am called to be and share my gifts.
I’m very grateful for your help, from the bottom of my heart...
- Chachi Grant
- LaChounda Johnson
- Sydney Brown
- Robert Burrell Jr.
Sugar Land, TX