MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Although the pandemic has had its challenges, it has also been a big opportunity for many entrepreneurs.
In the Mid-South, we saw a small business boom. Between 2019 and 2020, Memphis saw a 77% increase in the number of people who filed for business applications.
For one of those businesses, the pandemic was only the beginning.
For many in the Mid-South, the pandemic shut down was a come up especially for entrepreneurs.
“I am so grateful for that time,” said TaKeisha Berry Brooks, A Natural Affair CEO and Founder.
It allowed people to invest in themselves.
Brooks’ salon specializes in natural hair.
“I had been naturally knowing how to do hair, period, ever since I was like 12 or 13 years old. Took the cosmetology program in high school. Then when I graduated, I completed my hours. I was always on a quest to become a hair stylist,” said Brooks.
She opened A Natural Affair in 2011. When the pandemic hit, business bummed.
“It was very hard because you have to think about it. The salons were shut down. That means money stopped,” said Brooks.
Despite the money stopping, Brooks’ vision and dream for her company kept going. That time away gave Brooks the focus she needed.
“It gave me the opportunity to really sit down, brainstorm, and strategically plan how I was going to shift my business into another direction, including branding. It gave me the opportunity to brand, to trademark to protect my brand. It also gave me an opportunity to learn more about credit management, financial literacy,” said Brooks.
She has now expanded A Natural Affair, opening another salon in Cordova.
“It’s mind blowing. It’s mind-blowing. Every time I open up a space, it just gets greater and greater. My looks get greater and greater,” said Brooks. “I didn’t know I was going to become a natural hair stylist and I was going to have the top natural salon in the deep south. That was waiting on me the whole time. I had to become her, so I could become this.”
It is a new vision with an even greater purpose.
“Now, the position I’m in is just opening doors for other people,” said Brooks.
She also wants to open doors for her own daughters who have been in the salon and worked alongside Brooks.
“That was my time to spend with my girls while I was building an empire,” said Brooks.
It is an empire she hopes creates generational wealth.
“Generational wealth means a whole lot to me. If we create the blueprint for our future generations and we teach them while we have the opportunity, because time is precious, to continue to carry the torch, continue to teach our generation how to trust themselves and trust their visions,” said Brooks.
A Natural Affair salon in Cordova opens Saturday, April 2nd, to the public. For more information, click here.