Beauty Beyond The Hair, a two-day seminar on African-American hair from business and technical perspectives, holds its inaugural event Jan. 27-28 in Atlanta. The primary purpose is to enhance how black salons operate.
Held at Like The River The Salon, voted one of the top 100 salons in America by AOL.com, participants are expected to gain appreciation and knowledge on how to run a salon, manage staff, market the business and grow clientele, as well as cutting-edge technical training in precision cuts and styles.
BBTH is the brainchild of Najah Aziz, who, after a 16-year corporate career, followed her passion in the hair industry. In five years, she built Like The River The Salon into a premier hair care destination in an over-saturated Atlanta market by implementing core principals seldom associated with black hair salons:
- a commitment to community service
- demanding complete professionalism from staff
- a no waiting/no double-booking policy
- building with talented, licensed stylists who buy into these core values
“I’m not afraid to say this event is designed for black hair care professionals,” Aziz said. “There are countless hair industry conferences and shows throughout the year that are not inclusive of us. I attend those events and I learn something from them.
“But they simply are not for ‘us.’ We have specific concerns that are ours only. The Bronner Brothers Show is almost a tradition, the No. 1 hair show for African-Americans in the business. But it is bigger than what Beauty Beyond The Hair is.
“BBTH is an intimate seminar where we can have lots of one-on-one interaction about the day-to-day issues we face and how to overcome them.”
Specifically, Aziz said, “This seminar was created to improve the overall functionality of black hair salons. We all have heard the horror stories of spending six hours at the salon or showing up and the stylist isn’t there or stylists working as individuals and not a team. It’s a broken model. Women are frustrated with how many black hair salons operate. We want to talk about that, share why that is not the way to go and change it. We’re building a new model.”
Aziz said many salons simply do business the only way they know how. “It has been passed down, basically,” she said. “I’m grateful that I had a long corporate America career because it gave me a different perspective on business and professionalism.
“Hair stylists are beautiful, smart women. But the perception is not what it should be because, overall, we have not handled business in a professional manner. That’s what it comes down to. I also want a black professional organization to come from this, somewhere we can come together as colleagues, not competition, and support each other and learn from each other and do things in community as a group. That’s missing in this industry for blacks.”
Aziz said Beauty Beyond The Hair will take place four times a year at her salon. It’s her way of giving back to an industry she loves.
“I want to inspire as many stylists as possible who are interested in truly growing their craft, their skills and their clientele,” she said. “They say the way to change the world is one person at a time. That’s how I feel about changing this industry that means a lot to me. We’ll do it one BBTH seminar at a time.”
For more information, visit www.beautybeyondthehair.com or call 404-941-7099.