'Parlor Retreat' to mentor aspiring hairstylists

Photo by Heather Middleton

Photo by Heather Middleton

By M.J. Subiria Arauz


A beauty school can help one obtain a cosmetology license, but it can't make a successful hairstylist, according to the owner of The Parlor Retreat Exclusive Salon, in Jonesboro.

Christine Morris said she has been in the cosmetology industry for 21 years, and though hairstyling is her passion, she has always wanted to guide recent beauty-school graduates in the right direction.

Cosmetology institutions, she said, don't go through the business portion of the industry. "The rest is on your own," said Morris.

Morris said she will teach recent, licensed cosmetologists through the Cosmetology Finishing Program, of the Harriet Tubman PTO Aftercare, a non-profit organization in New Jersey. The program will be taught at The Parlor Retreat Exclusive Salon, located at 202 South Main Street.

She said five participants will learn business skills, such as proper client consultation, appointment-scheduling, business management and professionalism.

Most recent graduates are hired in beauty salons as hair washers, or broom sweepers, she said. They don't get to cut or style hair right away. "This program will help them go against someone like me," said Morris.

Morris said she will also share some of her own beauty skills with participants, that relate to areas such as hair-cutting and styling, up do's, sculpting, eyebrow-arching, and eye-lash application.

After participants complete the course, she said, students will receive a certificate of completion and will be provided with job placement. Some will be hired at The Parlor Retreat, she added.

"I am currently the sole hairstylist here," said Morris.

The 49-year-old said she has advertised the program to local beauty schools.

The program, she said, was created through her partnership with the Harriet Tubman PTO Aftercare. "This is something they've added, something I developed through my partnership with them," she said.

She said the reason she chose to partner with the New Jersey non-profit organization was because of her fiance, John Wade, chairperson of the board of directors for Harriet Tubman PTO Aftercare. She added that she met Wade in 2009, on an online dating web site, www.blackpeoplemeet.com.

Morris said she shared her desire, with Wade, of molding recent graduates into business-savvy cosmetologists.

Wade said he will come to Jonesboro to choose the five finalists who will be eligible to participate in the program. Currently, about nine applications have been submitted, he said.

"We are looking for people who want to be entrepreneurs, and who want to give back," added Morris.

Wade said selected graduates will receive a scholarship, about $3,000 worth, from the non-profit organization, that will allow them to participate in the program. He said the program is still accepting applications, and those interested should call (770) 478-6166.

Candidates must meet certain qualifications, including that they be a graduating senior from an accredited cosmetology institution, and reside within a 5-to 60-mile radius of Jonesboro, said Morris. Interested individuals must also complete an essay.

Wade said the program is the only one the non-profit operates outside of New Jersey. "The mission of the Harriet Tubman PTO Aftercare is to encourage young adults to be successful, by providing them with a caring and enriching atmosphere that will promote their academics and social development," he said.

He said he is familiar with the Peach State because he lived in Riverdale for about 20 years.

Morris said business at her salon has been going well, because customer service is her priority. The salon, she said, has a no-wait policy and provides a quiet, serene and relaxing atmosphere for her clientele.

Alexia Price, a first-time customer at The Parlor Retreat Exclusive Salon, said she heard about the salon through a friend. She said the salon's welcoming atmosphere makes one feel at home.

When asked if she would come back for a second visit, Price responded, "Yes, this is my new home."