By Katelynn White
NASHVILLE, TN — The pandemic did not stop anything for licensed hairstylist and instructor, Jeremy Brooks, who has worked in the hair industry for 21 years. Although he has been doing hair for over two decades, he did not open his hair salon until early last year.
“I signed my lease on February 5. I had my contractor come in on March 1 of 2020, but then they shut us down on March
17. I had finally mustered the courage to be like okay it’s time for me to step out on my own, but then comes the pandemic. It brought me a little bit of fear, but also more determination.”
Before committing to being a full-time hairstylist, he was first a teacher. “I taught special education for 13 years and I loved that. I would teach during the week and do hair on the weekends. When I lost my mother in 2014, I told myself I was done with the special education part of my career. I left teaching in 2015 and decided to go with my other passion,” Brooks said.
Before starting his journey of owning a hair salon, he was shampooing hair at his cousin’s salon. “My cousin owned a hair salon in the mid-90s and after school, I would go to her hair salon and run errands for them. One day, my cousin got busy working and said can you go back there and shampoo a couple of my clients. The clients like me washing their hair and they started tipping me. Her clients started asking for me and so I stayed with it.”
The joy that came with opening his hair salon was short-lived and replaced with worry after being shut down immediately because of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because of the pandemic, the mayor did the mandate for the city, and they shut down all of the barbershops and salons. Anything that had to do with close contact.”
Brooks did not choose to give up, instead, he chose to listen to God and keep going. “I talked to the Lord and was like Lord what am I going to do? I could hear him say as clear as a bell in my ear to keep going, everything is going to be okay.”
As he persevered, he decided to view the hair salon’s reopening time as a blessing instead of an obstacle.“The beauty industry didn’t open until June, but it was a blessing because it gave me more time to get everything established and try to get in the groove. It takes a lot of work to open a business.”
Because his mentor educated him on saving, investing, and financial stability, the pandemic did not put him in debt despite his salon closing. “I began working at my mentor’s salon, and she said to me, Jeremy you do good hair, but when you open up a hair salon, I want you to know the business side also. That way you don’t open and close in six months. I listened to my mentor; I had a lot of money saved so everything in my salon is paid for. I don’t owe anyone! I paced myself when I prepared,” Brooks said.
Brooks detailed how his salon stayed afloat during a pandemic that caused other businesses to lose money. “I have other stylists that work in the shop with me. They paid booth rent so that helped the operation of the salon. I also set funds to the side because with any business you should set aside at least six months of rent and extra funds for utilities. I was also blessed through PPP and the SBA loans. I used other resources and that helped keep me afloat until I was able to reopen.”
Brooks contributes consistency and working on his goals despite feeling afraid, to his longevity in the hair industry, his newly-found success with his hair salon, and overcoming obstacles within the pandemic.
It has been a year since opening his hair salon, J Roshod Hair at 3119 Gallatin Pike. “Due to COVID, I reduced my daily clients to about five daily Tuesday through Saturday,” he said about rebuilding his clientele. “I know that it will increase after the pandemic is over. I have many clients who still have not returned yet and new clients who are wanting to book but again COVID has them hesitant to come in now.”
By Katelynn White