Careers Inspired by Hair

These female entrepreneurs found inspiration in the ordinary—hair.

Images loading...

Her Natural Hair...

While a college student, Trinidad native Patrice Grell Yursik attempted to relax her own hair. But the smell of the chemicals got to her. So her junior year, she cut her hair short—and wore it naturally. "I learned that I had to love myself as I am—natural, black, Caribbean, and plus sized," she said. "It’s a beautiful thing, to see exactly what you were born to look like."

Photo Credit: Chuck Olu-Alabi

... Inspired Her Blog

She blogged to encourage other women of color to try going natural. The success of Afrobella put her on Ebony Magazine's Power 100 list. And, due to her influence, she got to work the Oscars' red carpet. But her best accomplishment? Changing how women think and feel about themselves.

Photo Credit: Krystle Rowry


Tabatha Coffey first fell in love with hair salons on trips there as a child with her mom. But it was from watching drag queens put on wigs at the night clubs her parents owned that she learned hair was transformational. "It was the object that brought the costumes, makeup and attitude all together," she said.

... Inspired Her TV Career

Now she's a bestselling author and the star of "Tabatha Takes Over," advising flailing businesses on Bravo. But what inspires her is the connection between a stylist and client. "I like making people feel good about themselves," she said.




Photo courtesy of Kzenon/

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kzenon/

Her Curly Hair...

Ouidad struggled to tame her curly hair—so much so that she eventually made a career out of it. 

Photo Credit: Ouidad

... Inspired a Multi-Million Dollar Company

Now, with Ouidad, she's built a multimillion dollar empire catering to curls—salons, products like shampoos and conditioners, as well as a book, Curl Talk. "My daughter Sondriel works with me in my NYC salon, and is just as passionate about curls as I am," Ouidad said. "Eventually she wants to run the business. That is so gratifying."

Photo Credit: Ouidad

Dog Hair...

While fostering a litter of black puppies, 20-year-old Susie Crary delighted in giving all 11 a bath. At the same time. "It was precious—and messy," she said, recalling how they slipped, covered in bubbles, on their attempts to clamor out. "Dogs are so sweet and submissive when wet." 




Photo courtesy of Kippy Spilker/

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kippy Spilker/

... Inspired A Dog Grooming Business

Now she operates a mobile dog grooming business in the Twin Cities, seeing an average of six dogs per day. "It's so fulfilling to take a furry, dirty mess and transform the dog back into its gorgeous self," she said.





Photo courtesy of Scorpp/


Photo Credit: Courtesy of Scorpp/

Lice-Invested Hair...

Gonne Asser's Dutch father taught her to love all of God's creatures. Including bugs. But when she and her two preschoolers got lice, all she could think about was how these bugs had nested, hid, and reproduced in their clean hair. 



Photo courtesy of tlorna/

Photo Credit: Courtesy of tlorna/

... Inspired Her To Become the Lice Lady

Seven years later, she launched the Minnesota Lice Lady to rid families and facilities of lice. "I discovered a use for my slight OCD nature—nitpicking!" she said.

Photo Credit: Tesha Pettit

A Headpiece...

While trying to finish 50 holiday headpieces before a trunk show on Black Friday, Summer Spence struggled to attach an elastic string to the end of a rhinestone band. So she tied it to a wire comb instead.

Photo Credit: Mark Lee

... Inspired Her Hair Accessories

With her comb concept, she launched the Ferroniere Band, an accessory that clips your hair in place—think messy buns or braids.

What Your Hair Says About You...

Stylist Vaso Spirou believes your hair influences your moods. That's why she chose to make her sister, Page, a buttery blond. "It made her feel youthful and helped motivate her to start a new chapter in her life," Spirou said.  "She is always happy now."

Photo Credit: Bruce Gilling

... Inspired Her To Open a Salon

Noted for her ability to tackle unruly hair, she opened her first salon, Salon Vaso, in Miami Beach. Over the past four years, she says her clientele has grown by 500%.  But it's that pure energy that develops organically between a stylist and a client that appeals to her most.

Photo Credit: Blue Ocean Photography

Facial Hair...

Reehma Khan learned to shape brows by threading while working in her mother's beauty shop in India. Then, as a teen, she worked on her own clients. "Women looked so stunning after a quick session," she said.

Photo Credit: Kelly Fajack

... Inspired Her To Open a Brow Bar

Now she owns s.h.a.p.e.s. Brow Bar, specializing in eyebrow threading, with 60 locations across America. "I feel so privileged to make every client who walks in feel beautiful," she said.

Photo Credit: s.h.a.p.e.s Brow Bar


Marathoner Dari Passarello's headbands pinched the back of her neck or slipped off. "I spent most of my work-outs distracted, readjusting my headband," she said.



... Inspired Her Headbands

She decided to make her own fashionable nonslip headbands. "When I got compliments from athletes in Central Park, I knew it was time to launch Sparkly Soul," she said.

Photo Credit: Robert Quailer

Their Red Hair...

One night, while Adrienne and Stephanie Vendetti sat at a Boston cafe, a redheaded girl approached them and asked how they applied their make-up. She expressed her frustration at finding "redhead friendly" items. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of How to be a Redhead, Photos by Kara Kochalko

... Inspired Their Web Site

They launched an award-winning web site, "How to be a Redhead," to teach women to embrace their natural beauty and rock their red hair. 




Photo courtesy of PixAchi/






Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking.

Related: 10 Careers that Bring Out the Kid in You

Don't miss out on MORE great articles like this one. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter!



Photo Credit: Courtesy of PixAchi/

First Published Wed, 2012-03-14 08:19

Find this story at: