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Hair her story


SHERIA BRATHWAITE

Hair her story

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SHANTEL JORDAN WAS the go-to girl for the latest hairdos at school. Her service was always in high demand and sometimes she had to play the role of a referee to stop schoolmates from getting into arguments about whose hair should be done next.

“At Springer we would do each other’s hair at lunchtime or for sports day or dress day. And people would argue and say, ‘I book you for lunchtime
or I book you before class’ and I would be rushing to get to class afterward,’ she said.

“Back then I use to ignore the talent but my mother encouraged me to do hair since my brother Seth is a barber and she is a stylist. When I finished school she warned me about ignoring my talent but I was into fashion and wanted to be an air hostess.”

Shantel was fascinated about becoming a flight attendant. She loved the idea of wearing six-inch heels with a polished, smart-looking uniform complemented with a hat or scarf. In her mind going to work would be like walking down a catwalk in the sky.

However, her fantasy did not work out because the company she wanted to work for, BWIA, was dissolved.

Nevertheless she still got an opportunity to work in the fashion world as a store manager at New Age Fashion, gained a certificate in small business management and managed another clothing store named Structure Clothing for seven years.

While at Structure Clothing, Shantel had a few customers who wanted their hair done. After that her clientele started to increase. But her passion was natural hairstyles because her mother was a natural hair specialist. Soon locks became Shantel’s thing.

Among friends, family and her clientele she is regarded as the “Melanin Dread Hairstylist”.

“The store was getting into difficulties and things weren’t working out and my mother kept telling me I am wasting my talent,” Shantel said.

“I went to a Proverbs 31 Virtuous women’s meeting and the speaker talked about the oil you have in your house. The speaker said that we have talents and we look all over the place to do fancy stuff or study things when you have the oil in your house.”

After that enlightenment, Shantel told herself it was time to register her business and take her talent seriously.

“My mother was pleased and allowed me to operate my business from her salon.”

Locks is not an easy area to specialise in but Shantel has developed her own unique skill. Self-taught and a woman who rocks the hairstyle, she said: “There is a big market for natural hair locally and internationally and I have tried relaxed hair. It damages your hair and is expensive to maintain.

“So for any lady to wear her natural hair and have her crown is a symbolism of royalty. With natural hair you really see the texture and goodness of a black woman or man in the pride they have when they are out.

“Wearing your natural hair also shows your connection with your roots. People get really sensitive and take to heart the pride of being black but otherwise wearing locks can also come out of the struggle to comb your hair.

“Some people don’t like the idea of their hair being pulled and locks have become the solution to that.”

The 28-year-old told EASY magazine she went between natural and relaxed a couple of times till she finally decided to grow her locks.

“From my heart I enjoy doing natural hair. It seemed a natural gift. I enjoy my clients . . . . Interacting with them is the best thing about my job. Finding out what they want and giving the care they need to make them smile. That is why I believe a salon is some place where people come to relax and relieve themselves of stress.”

In the future, Shantel would like to open her own hair educational institution to teach women about hair care, self-awareness and help them with empowering themselves. She said she would like to help young women understand the meaning of independence and aid them in facilitating the process.

“People always look down on certain jobs but without the garbage man where would the world be? Everybody is designed to do different things and need to understand the value of their contribution to life. So when people look down on the beauty industry I strongly object to that because what beauticians offer is important.

“I want women to stop seeing hair as a side job and realise that it can be a profitable business.”

In addition, Shantel said she was grateful to her mother who continually pushed her to realise her natural talent and taught her how to make Fancy Face Hair Designs out of it. (SB)

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