We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendra Janel Harrison and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kendra Janel, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up I wanted to be a police officer or a teacher, but then my mom moved me to the boonies where I felt like civilization had taken a turn for the worst, but I learned to love it. When we first moved to Richards, Texas we would have to drive 30 minutes to an hour just to get our hair done and I never like it. So, when my mom hit me with the notion, “You can do it yourself because I can save my money.” I did exactly that. First, I stated with a regular Barbie doll I found in the garage and I stared braiding my hair and quick for anyone who would let me in their head. Then I eventually moved back to Houston when we would go Clips and Tips on Antione and Tidwell where eventually I became the shampoo assistant and shop cleaner for Cheraya Spencer God rest her beautiful soul. Growing up watching her (the best stylist I have ever met without trouble), her husband (which was a barber that was always getting the cuts together), her sweet Mom in the back doing manicured and pedicures. To see that as a young black girl I was over the moon just to be in the ambiance.
Fast forward I had been doing hair since I was around 10 or 11 years old so when I made it the 8th grade, I knew I wanted to be a hairstylist but I just was not serious about it because of all the bad I heard about being a hairstylist and not making a living so I kept putting it off like it was just a hobby. I then went to high school where I knew for sure I wanted to be a hairstylist so I begged my mom to let me take Cosmetology and when I graduated, I still did not believe in myself. Working all kinds of odd jobs Walmart, Office Depot, Road and Rail Car Porter, I even worked in accounting and that where I had to call it a quits and take a chance on myself and I quit my good paying good benefits job to work for ME. I cried many days thinking I would not be able to do it, thinking I would fail. BUT GOD! God had other plans for me.
So, I bucked down and just started networking. I would go to all kind of events just passing out cards and flyers. At one point I was pulling up on cars at top lights throwing business cards in their cars just telling them to check out my work and still do but people are crazy nowadays. But my business has been growing ever since I took that leap of faith.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My business is my baby and to see when I have come from to where I am going makes me proud daily, no it is not easy all the time but I was taught anything worth having sometime takes a little work and time. Not to mention the hurtles I must go through in my personal life like being homeless for 3 months and losing my baby. Some of the hardest things I have ever had to deal with in life but I had to pick myself back up and get back to the salon. Because I am a hairstylist first and I love everything about hair I use to just throw myself into work when I was going through challenging times in my personal life and I feel to be in this field you must care about your clients and their hair not the money because the money will come.
I have had to learn life is sometimes hard but you must find the positive and overcome the overwhelming thing called life.
When my kings and queen come to get their slay, I love for them to feel the positive homey vibes where they can just come unwind and be pampered.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love my city! Houston has always been home for me. I love to go to Kamp Houston off Westimere, the food, drinks, and the vibes are always there when I go. Or we would go to one of my most visited spots Crazy Frogs on 249 to have a few drinks, listen to music and dance a little bit. When we get there, I normally order one drink for us cause if you are with me, we are only drinking dark liquor. And it is a high chance it is Jack Daniel’s with pineapple & cranberry with a splash of sprite. Thank me later because we are going to call this The Ken. There are a few more spots but these are the ones I frequent the most.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
God primarily, my loving clients that has been rocking with me, my friends and all my love one, the late Cheraya (first mentor), the late Judy Heathcock (cosmetology teacher that passed away our junior year), Ms. Peavy (stand in teacher), Joy Adkins (Senior Cosmetology Teacher), all the ones that said and are still saying I cannot do this, and finally I would like to thank ME for not giving up on myself cause whew child it can get hard.
@fadairophotography.co Chasity Fadairo