Jessica Has been Deemed a "Hair Nerd" and She’s Not Ashamed To Admit it. She Love’s To Learn Many Methods & How To Teach Her Guests How To Achieve Their Dream Hair. Meet Raleigh Hair Salon Owner, Jessica Johnson
Q: Can you share with us why you chose to become a Hairstylist?
JJ: Actually, that was a funny accident. I was not the typical little girl who played with their Barbies hair when she was little, I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I finished high school, I worked in the service industry for a couple of years while I tried out a few majors in a local Community College. I traveled up and down the east coast for a few months, and when I was 20, I was living with a good friend for a few months while I figured out my next adventure.
While I lived there, I was flat broke and needed a haircut for my job interview. I decided to do it myself! 15 minutes later and I walked out of the bathroom and my roommate asked me who cut my hair? and how amazing it looked! I laughed and said I had just done it myself. She immediately screamed at me “You need to go to cosmetology school!.” And at 20 years old, I figured what did I have to lose? Fast forward 11 years later and that is still the most important haircut I will ever do in my lifetime.
Q: Tell us about what you specialize in when it comes to color and styles?
JJ: Dimensional color is my all-time favorite! Creating intentional movement in the hair for a seamless grow out. I have spent the last several years taking many continuing education classes across the US to find my way of creating my own niche.
Q: How long have you been in business?
JJ: I have been in the hair industry since 2010 and own my own studio since 2016.
Q: How did you come up with the name … The Copper Comb?
JJ: That was also a happy accident as well. I had the vision of what I wanted my studio to look like, but the name was the hardest part! I envisioned a name that not many had, could convey that I was a hair salon without completely spelling it out, but be transferable If I hired employees or a bigger business one day.
I was scrolling through Pinterest trying to find a name for my vision and I came across a woman who named her salon Crown and Comb and I loved how she incorporated “hair lingo” into the name without being direct. As I was scrolling, I was finding I loved copper accent pieces as well and realized it would make a great focal point for design. So, naturally the names morphed together and created The Copper Comb.
Q: 2020 was a crazy year for everyone, how did you do?
JJ: Wowza! That was a year for the books, especially for small businesses! Luckily, in North Carolina we were only shut down for 9 weeks, but 9 weeks is a lot of revenue to a small company.
I kept in touch weekly via email with my clients, talking about self-care, how to clean out the products under your bathroom cabinets, and a lot of styling videos for Zoom calls! It was a hit, so now I write monthly emails with loads of information on different topics.
My five-year-old son and I traveled around delivering color kits to client’s doorsteps for a few weeks. It was great to get out of the house and see a few faces from the driveway.
Luckily, I am married to someone who has an amazing logistics capability! When re-opening the salon, we had 48 hours to reschedule 9 weeks on client’s services. Instead of calling every client individually, I took a purely pragmatic approach to it. Wherever we left off I would pick up the entire schedule, move it out 9 weeks and set it back down. If the new rescheduled date was a conflict we would individually reschedule from there. That way I could put most of my focus on safety and sanitation at the salon. My clients really appreciated how fairly I approached rescheduling their appointments, but honestly, I think they were just happy to be able to come in at all!
Q: How do you keep updated on the latest hair trends?
JJ: Lots of continuing education! Just this year alone I will be in New York for 3 days taking an intensive color mastery class, I have taken hundreds of hours of on online education from hairstylists who are masters in their crafts, and I am already planning several more trips next year.
Q: What advice would you give to young women who want to purse their dream and start a business?
JJ: Don’t be afraid to be different! Some of the best business decisions I made were the ones that no other hairstylist was doing at the time. Also, hire an accountant! As a creative industry, our brains usually don’t have the capability to handle that level of math and paperwork. It is and forever will be the easiest check I will ever write.
Q: What's the greatest fear you've had to overcome to get where you are today?
JJ: Leaving my old salon and jumping into a solo career with a three-month-old baby was a doozy! I thought I was ready for what salon ownership was going to throw at me, but I don’t think you can truly prepare for it.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
JJ: Set boundaries, in a good way. As a hairstylist we hear about the good, bad, and ugly from every person that sits in your chair. It can blur the line of business owner and friendship sometimes, while I love my clients dearly and I would, and have done several things to be there for them. I also have to run a business to put food on the table and keep the lights on. Some clients won’t understand your side of the story and that’s ok. Most will be happy to accommodate the new changes as long as you prepare them for it.
Q: Can you tell us how you manage your work life balance?
JJ: I feel like that is a constant work in progress for my family. We have a rather unusual work schedules in my household and it will be inconsistent until my husband and I decide to retire. I have learned that I am a compartmentalized person. When I am at home, I am solely focused on my home life and at work I am 100% focused on work. It took me several years to learn a happy balance and it is still not perfect most of the time, but I recognize it and try to rebalance when I can.
Q: What would be the title of your autobiography?
JJ: “What’s the next big thing?”
11 Things About Jessica Johnson
1. What's your favorite family tradition?
We have two I love! Funny and slightly inappropriate birthday cards and no Thanksgiving food on Thanksgiving (We have had Chinese, Greek, Mexican, Random dishes).
2. What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee?
3. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?
4. What was the last book you really got into?
4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. A girl can dream, right?
5. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Both, you have to be as a business owner and mom.
6. What would your perfect vacation look like?
Hiking through the mountains with my family.
7. What’s your signature drink?
8. What would you sing at Karaoke night?
You don’t want me to.
9. What were you like in high school?
Nobody believes me, but I was a grungy kid in the early 2000’s
10. What was your favorite subject in school?
English and Home Ec.
11. Cake or pie?
Cake, hands down