That’s when I started taking clients. At the same time, I had dual enrollment — I was going to high school and taking college courses. I would go to high school in the morning, get to Hunter College by 5 p.m. for class, then go to work at the salon. When we reopened after quarantine, I also started doing nails. That whole time I was working, I was just saving, saving, saving, because I was only 16. I had no bills to pay. Then one day, the owner of the beauty supply store next to the salon told my mom they were trying to sell the business and asked if she’d want to buy it. She knew how much money I had saved [so she asked me]. I had no doubts, no hesitation. It clicked. In my head, I was like, If I do this, it’s really going to be a game-changer. And it was.
After we signed the lease [on what’s now Paris Beauty Supplyz] in summer 2020, I had to start thinking about things I wanted to change. I looked at the shelves and said, “I’m a Black woman. I live in a Black community. Why do I have to travel for what I need?” I made [the store] more accessible for the people that I knew were going to walk in. I also made it accessible to people that probably hadn’t even been in before. I wanted to create a space that everyone can be welcomed into without being judged. You have the opportunity to stand there for an hour if you want and find what works for you.