We had the good fortune of connecting with LaCoya Windham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LaCoya, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think the higher the risk the higher the reward. The lower the risk, the lower the reward. I took a risk back in 2013 when decided I wanted to move from the small town of Laurel, Mississippi to a big city such as Houston, Texas. At the time, I’d never traveled to Houston, but I knew that if I wanted to be a celebrity hairstylist and to accomplish big dreams, I had to take the risk. When I finally made the decision to move here, my dreams started to materialize. I went to cosmetology school and opened my first salon suite within 2 years. If I hadn’t taken a risk, who knows what I’d be doing right now.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a professional hairstylist. That’s always been my niche. I can remember back to being a toddler and cutting all of my little cousins hair off because I discovered scissors and I wanted to cut her hair like I saw my mother doing. I remember always doing my hair and my cousin Candice’s hair for school every morning when we were very young. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been into hair.
I approach each client with the intent to not only heal and grow their hair, but to be a listening ear. Each session should be therapeutic. My goal is to have my clients looking and feeling their best. Most of my clients always vouch for me saying that I grow their hair and that I have this soothing energy that they love to be around during their appointments.
My teacher Mr. Welford always told me I was a perfectionist. That was my first time realizing that I do like for my styles to look perfect and I will keep working on it until it is perfect in my eyes. Every little detail matters. That is what sets me apart. Everyone should have a stylist who pays attention to every detail for a flawless finish.
It was a breeze going to school, graduating, and getting my license. It was also very easy to build my clientele because of social media. Everyone told me that I’d have to start small and take at least 5 years to build clients. I did that within a year. I remember my first week at my salon suite I only had one client. The next week two, and so on until eventually I was booked every day. It was very challenging in the beginning but I stayed focused on the goal. I knew that eventually I would have the clientele if I kept going. That experience taught me to trust myself and never let anyone dampen my dream or goals, to believe in myself, and to always keep in mind that anything is possible.
I think the biggest challenge I faced while in Houston was getting pregnant. No one warns you that morning sickness could be so bad. It got so bad to the point where I could not walk or do clients hair. I couldn’t stand for more than a minute. It was horrible. The only thing I wanted was to rest and to be under the care of my family and friends. I gave up everything and moved back to Mississippi. That was the first time I ever tried so hard to fight something and I just could not win. I only stayed in Mississippi two months before moving back to Houston, but, this time it was to a homeless shelter for pregnant women. No one besides close family and friends knew about this. This is the first time I’m mentioning this so what better time than now? I knew Mississippi was not going to be the best place for me nor my baby so I had to make the ultimate decision to be in a very uncomfortable situation. The place was called Lifehouse and they welcomed me with open arms. It was the best experience I think I ever had being in a situation like that. For the first time I was around a bunch of women who I can relate to. We were all pregnant, single moms, and just needed to be around love. My house parents were the best. Mrs. Contina and I still keep in contact til this day. I used my time at Lifehouse to work and save up money before moving into my own place again. Lifehouse really played a major part in my journey and had they not accepted me, I don’t know if I’d be here in Houston living out my dreams. That experience inspired me to want to give back to organizations such as Lifehouse and to form my own nonprofit organization based on homeless pregnant women and single mothers.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We would definitely check out some of my favorite vegan restaurants such as korny vibes, sunshine’s. I am very diverse with eating so we’d also check out Lucy’s Ethiopian restaurant, Udipi, Caribbean Jerk Cuisine, The Golden Krust. We’d get us some smoothies from 713 Juice bar. We’d do a picnic at discovery green. There is this nice bar that is called Kiss that I think my friends would enjoy having a drink or two at and dine. Every time my friends come in town they want to go to Turkey Leg Hut and Breakfast Klub, and Prospect bar so those are amongst some other places we would check out. I’d also take them to see graffiti downtown and to take pictures.
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?
I would love to give a shout out to my family and friends for their love and support as well as Lifehouse Houston for playing a part in my pregnancy journey.