Hair stylist and entrepreneur Lenora Leathers began her hair journey at the age of 13, with her mother being her first client. People began noticing her mother’s hair and Lenora gained popularity.
Using a vanity station and computer chair, she started doing her teachers, friends and community member’s hair. Her first job was at a hair store, and as people purchased hair, Lenora would style it.
Lenora wrote in her journal that one day she wanted to own a salon. She believed that this dream could be manifested and it always stuck with her.
For a while, Lenora worked in corporate America but didn’t feel fulfilled and wanted more control over her work. She got a feeling inside that it was time to move on to something bigger. She then began working as a stylist in a small suite in a salon with a few other girls.
Lenora’s desire to pursue a larger dream resurfaced. She was ready to grow and wanted to control her hours and create her unique atmosphere and vibe in her own salon. From there, Lenora built and created Savvy Salon. This was her first step onto her path of entrepreneurship.
As a Black female salon owner, Lenora dealt with many stereotypes and misconceptions.
Many Black-owned businesses face the burden of the stereotype of being unprofessional. Lenora worked hard to build a brand that would prove that Black businesses, specifically hair salons are professional, timely, welcoming and warm.
“I tune out noise and I'm big on always wanting to be better than your average salon,” Lenora said, “What can I do to make this salon atmosphere different from your everyday salon? What can I do to help women to embrace their beauty? What can I do to help women feel good about themselves and help them to feel valuable?"
When installing hair extensions, Lenora was sending clients to hair stores to purchase the hair. She realized that she could sell her product and customers could purchase hair from her business. Lenora then started her hair company, Hair by Lenora.
To welcome more clients and stylists Lenora also opened Savvy Blow Dry Bar. This is a place customers can get shampoos and styles in a comforting setting.
“The sky's the limit, you know, and I even say I go beyond the sky, I'm like whatever is above the sky,” Lenora said.
Lenora’s faith, family and dedication have brought her through her journey, with peace and joy, despite her struggles. Her husband Rick has been instrumental in helping shift her business to new levels. Working behind the scenes and doing Strategic Operations for her company, Rick has helped launch opportunities, such as offering customers salon memberships.
Lenora wants her business and brand to remind people how valuable, important and beautiful they are. She encourages us to tune out what other people are doing and focus on living within our unique purposes.
“I am big on pushing past procrastination, pushing past limits, setting goals and really trying to not only just achieve them but figure out ways to keep going,” Lenora said. “You know, I realize that when you limit yourself you're missing out on blessings. It all has to do with your thoughts, your mind, you know, your mind is extremely powerful.”