Southeastern Beauty Academy

Creating career opportunities in a quiet town—while giving free haircuts to veterans in Paintsville, KY

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00:04 I'm a firm believer that character is what determines success, it doesn't really matter if you’re the best colorist if you don't have a good work ethic or you don’t know how to treat people, you don't practice with integrity, there's a lot of things that to me, that's what determines success. We do have to have a great trade skill in this profession that we have to have the character.

00:47 It's wonderful to be talking with you today. So tell us a little bit about the South Eastern Beauty Academy.

00:52 Living in eastern Kentucky there's not a lot of opportunity here as far as industry, so you learn at an early age to create your own opportunity. And I always had a mentoring spirit, I guess. In 2008, I decided I wanted to open my own school.

01:12 And it was legislators saying we had a our Kentucky State Board of Cosmetology had a law in place saying that you couldn't do that. You can only have so many private schools in each congressional district. So with that being said, I couldn't actually they wasn't going to allow me to do that. So I had to make a decision to let my dream die or challenge the constitutionality of that in court.

01:35 And of course, I didn't have money to hire an attorney, so I had to represent myself. And that was something because I'm a hairdresser, not an attorney. That went on for about four years in court, but I won. And so we opened up in 2012, for being open six years I received a phone call from the governor and was asked to be to sit on the Board of Cosmetology. We have 100% pass rate with our state board exams for them to receive their license. And we have a 97% placement rate.

02:10 That's unbelievable. How inspiring.

02:12 I want all the students or potential students to know that it doesn't matter where you come from. It matters where you end up. And just because we live in a small community that doesn't have a lot of industry that doesn't determine your future.

02:27 Jeanetta, as part of your mission, you have there to inspire students, which I think is really outstanding. So where does the Inspire come from and how does that motivate you?

02:40 It's more they do learn how to do hair really, really good. They're very successful, but we teach them a lot of life skills and we kind of just get them ready to stand on their own two feet. And I actually let the students cut my hair for the first time every time they do a haircut I'm their first client. You know, I can rock a mullet. You know, if they give me a mullet I'm OK with it, but it kind of lets them know that, you know, if I can cut Ms. Jeanetta’s hair hey, I can go cut somebody else's hair.

03:14 So whatever we got to do to to get them to build confidence that that's -- we’re willing to do, you know, there's a lot more to character is what determines success. And so we build a lot of character here. I mean, it's really beautiful. It's like when you think about our role on this planet or why we're here, it has to be to help other people around us and using the skill sets we've been given, where we've been raised, how we've been raised informs all of that and what our heart is, you know, leaves us to do for other people. And it's just really beautiful to see you kind of paying this forward and continuing to bring other stylists along to on that same journey.

03:51 You're also teaching them kind of that spirit of entrepreneurship. And no matter what your circumstances are, you can create something out of nothing and you're an example of that. And I think that's really beautiful. You know, they can see it in you. And that in itself is inspiring as well as the curriculum and the encouragement that you give them along the way.

04:08 I opened up my own salon is very is a one chair salon. When I was 19, I had no clue. I didn't know what working capital was. I didn't know what start-up was. I had no clue about anything. And so what we have added to the curriculum here at South Eastern Beauty Academy when we get into the business chapter in our book, that probably consists of maybe ten pages. I take that to a whole new level. It’s usually about a month.

04:36 I teach them how to do a cost analysis. I teach them how to do working capital start-up. They have to do an executive business plan. They have to draw a salon out to scale blueprints. They have to list everything it will take to start that salon down to a bobby pin.

04:53 Well, I think that's a remarkable of investing in your students in that way because I mean, you're right, just because you know how to style hair doesn't mean that you know how to run a business and the things that small businesses struggle with the most are, you know, marketing and their finances. And those are things that are not necessarily intuitive unless you have training.

05:10 Yea, when you own a small business, you wear a lot of hats. You wear all the hats! Recently, I had Justin Prater, which is our branch manager here at Truist. He came in and did an excellent tax class, because in his profession, there's a lot of cash.

05:27 And they really need they've never really been taught the importance how you know you have to report income if you plan on buying a home and that was a wonderful class. And the kids, just they really enjoyed that. He talked to them about how important it was to have a personal check and a business checking separate and all that. So we take it to a little bit different level because running a business and doing hair is two totally different things, just because you have a license to do hair doesn't mean you know how to run a business. And because I went through a lot of hard knocks and bangs myself because I didn't know that I wanted to at least give them a good foundation before they leave.

06:04 I love the fact that the first time I met Justin, he actually came to my school because, you know, I do have a lot on my plate, you know, I do have small businesses. I'm very busy. I had some paperwork that needed to be done. He actually came to me and I was just like, I couldn't believe that.

06:23 And then when he came in and done the tax class, it was just, it's just like when you have children that you're a mom, you can tell the child something and sometimes  they don't really listen to them. But maybe the next door neighbor tells them the same thing it's like, “ohh”, you know? So Justin came, I mean, it was like everything that maybe I tried to say or get across to them in the past. They just they just soaked it up like a sponge. It was awesome.

06:49 So can you talk a little bit about how we read that you give haircuts to kids and to vets? Can you talk a little bit about that aspect of your program?

06:59 I believe with all my heart, the universe was set up that that you have to give to get. I think everything that you give, whether it's good or bad, it comes back to you. If you want someone to be good to you, you got to be good to somebody else if you want someone to encourage you that encourage someone else.

07:16 And every time that we can involve the veterans in anything we do, I try to do that and we did free veterans’ haircuts. That's the least we can do for what they've done for us. As you pass that on to your students, how many of them take that same philosophy and apply it to their own businesses and then multiply that in the way that they're giving back to their community?

07:35 Do you see that that continue with your students?

07:38 When they leave school and are very successful, not just financially, that they're involved in their community and that is one of the reasons I do what I do that is very rewarding, but the yes, my students do that.

07:55 What I love to is, I mean, again, we've been talking about this, but I just want to say it again, like in your business, you're not just training people to be a good cosmetologists, you're actually training them to be entrepreneurs like not just go to work in a salon, but to potentially run their own. And that ripple effect that you're having is really impactful because you're teaching them that one of the principles of running a business is not just cutting great hair and knowing your finances, two very important parts of running any sort of beauty business, but that being a part of the community is one of the measures of success of running a business.

08:30 And that is really powerful when you think about that ripple effect, that it's not just the impact you're having at the Beauty Academy, it's all of these other businesses that are starting as a result of your mentorship.

08:41 It's remarkable. You having sharing your story today brings me back to my childhood. And Jeanetta, we talked about our similarities from from being from Kentucky. But I didn't share this as well. Your story really resonates with me personally.

08:56 My mom went to a school similar to what you're teaching your students. She started her own salon, owned that salon for 30 years, and transitioned that business to someone else. And so I saw all the hard work, the dedication, the passion that she put in to that business.

09:14 And I will tell you, if you think about a salon, there's so much that happens in the salon that impacts that community. And those stylists know something that happens in the community before anyone else because of the connection that they have to that community and to those clients. And so I just want to say thank you for your passion, your inspiration and what you're doing in that community.