Today we’d like to introduce you to Shantel Burgess.
Hi Shantel, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I got started at a very young age. As far as I can remember growing up in NYC, I’ve always been fascinated with hair. My hands were always in someone’s hair starting with my great grandmother at about age 7.
I would braid up her natural hair so she could wear it under her wig. Then escalated to my grandmother, mother, sister, aunts, cousins, and neighbors. My aunt Charlene was also a hairstylist, she did our hair as children. She inspired me so much. I would sit in the salon with her and watch her do her clients, then go home and practice the same styles. I just enjoyed enhancing the beauty of others.
By the time I was a teenager, my skills were so advanced that I got my first part-time hair stylist job at a salon. My teenage years rolled into adulthood and I found myself doing hair full time.
In the beginning, I did everything braids, perms, cuts, curling, and styling. My passion was hair braiding and enhancing natural hair textures which led to my niche. Although this was a passion, it became unfulfilling and I decide to change my direction to join the corporate world. After a decade in corporate America, I would occasionally continue hairstyling when I was available. With much success in my new venture, I still felt empty.
The entrepreneur in me missed the excitement of creating and being the boss. This inspired me to become a traveling natural hair care specialist. The opportunity afforded me to travel to various states including Alabama, Florida, Virginia, and Texas. I was stationed in Texas for about 6 months which turned into a year and then I decided to leave the company. I started my braiding business in San Antonio, TX.
Due to the attraction of a different experience. The adjustment has been slow since the pandemic, yet the people have made it feel almost like home. Thank you to all of my clients for supporting me in this journey. I appreciate you so much. Thanks also to my mom, sister, and brother who always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.
I love and miss them so much.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Honestly, it has been a bumpy road, yet I can appreciate the various experiences. Without these struggles, I would not be the woman I am. This world can be so judgmental, and this business is no different. People underestimate your abilities your knowledge, your appearance, and your creativity.
When I started in the industry, I had limited resources. I had to basically mimic a style based on a photo in a magazine. We didn’t have social media back then, so I would create a style just by looking at a photo. During those times it was stressful, especially if someone wanted a style that couldn’t be achieved on them.
Whether the issue was hair loss or hair texture, I found creative ways to inform them and provided other options. Hoping we could agree on something that works best for them. I believe this is the best method and it has worked for me over the years.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
For the last twenty years, I have been a natural hair care specialist with expertise in hair braiding. I am known for dealing with complex hair loss and various textures.
Being proud comes in many forms, I am proud of my longevity in this industry, proud of being an entrepreneur, sustaining my business during the pandemic and beyond, building and maintaining my clientele, relocating, my determination, and focusing on my goals.
My unique sense of beauty is what sets me apart from others. I will not allow my client to leave my business with a style that is not flattering or complementary to their overall look. It is my ultimate desire to make people feel absolutely better about themselves with hairstyles that complement their inner beauty.
How do you define success?
I believe success has many components such as risk-taking, persistence, confidence, dedication, consistency, focus, planning, goals, faith, removing all doubt, empathy, and excellent customer service.
Without any of these, you may just have money with no success.