Today we’d like to introduce you to Shawntá Johns.
Shawntá, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m originally from Annapolis, MD. That’s where my journey in the hair industry began. I grew up loving to style hair and continue to be inspired by family members in the beauty industry. My father and brothers are self-taught barbers. I have a cousin in Atlanta and another in Maryland who are salon owners and a female barber cousin in LA, just to highlight a few. I feel I was born to be a Hair Stylist.
I began attending cosmetology school in 1995 however five weeks prior to my completion the school filed bankruptcy and closed its doors. Shortly thereafter, I discovered I was pregnant with my son and decided to leave the industry to raise my child. While working as an Office Assistant at an Alternative school in Baltimore, company layoffs bought me back to my dream profession. With the encouragement and support of my husband, I returned to cosmetology school at Paul Mitchell as a 40 something-year-old mom attending school with students who were my son’s age (scary). In December of 2014, I received my Maryland cosmetology license.
On January 1, 2016 I followed my husband to California and by March I was licensed and starting my journey Los Angeles. My focus was on my two loves Curly hair textures and hair extensions.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One of the earliest obstacles on my journey was the closing of the cosmetology school in Annapolis. When that happened, I wasn’t prepared. I had no backup plan and limited resources.
However, the biggest consistent roadblock has been a stable location. Once I’d completed cosmetology school, earned my license and found a great salon family in Baltimore, I shortly thereafter had to move across the country. Starting over in California has been challenging. I’m very close to my family, so being so far away is tough.
When we first moved to California, we settled in North Hollywood. I worked in Venice, Tarzana, Studio City, Hermosa Beach and for about a year, I had my own salon suite in Hollywood which I loved but ended up letting go due to the commute as we ended up moving to Long Beach. One thing I’ve learned in my short time here is that some people don’t travel too far outside of their community.
Needless to say, some clients from the valley may not want to travel to Long Beach so building a solid clientele has been tough. Luckily some clients have been consistent with me on this journey and I truly appreciate them. Now that I’m settling in Long Beach, I’m excited about building my community here.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
By Shawntá Johns, Curls and Extensions specialize in Curly Cuts and Beaded Row Extensions for all textures. Being a Curly Girl myself, I can relate to the challenge of finding someone who knows how to care for my curls and appreciate them in their natural state. Education is very important to me, I’ve studied the DevaCurl dry-cutting technique and I’m a Deva Inspired Stylist. I’m adept in six extension methods but focus on Beaded Row Extensions. I strive to help my clients feel empowered to rock their curls and maintain healthy curls at home.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My biggest cheerleader, my husband, Malachai Johns has been by my side through all the highs and lows. He encourages me to think big. I like to tease that he’s my husbandger, he definitely helps me focus on my business. He designed my website and other marketing materials as well. Russell R. Chapman, my son, just knowing that he’s proud of me is enough. My father, Ronald Ford deserves much praise, he was much first hair teacher. Makisha Lassiter, my cousin and salon owner has always inspired me to move forward in my hair profession. Rosilind Housley, my mentor and friend helped me discover my niche. I was Rosilind’s assistant when I started at her salon, Studio7 in Baltimore. She pushed me to realize my talents and use them. One industry professional, I connected with early on in California was Thirati Kulyingwattanavit. Thirati is an outstanding Makeup Artist. We’ve worked on countless photoshoots together. She’s connected me with some amazingly talented people. One person she connected me to who also needs mention is photographer Jose Fidelanderos. Jose has trusted me on many of his shoots. A special thank you to all the ladies in my family who let me practice different hairstyles on them.
- Website: byshawntajohns.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/byshawntajohns/
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/by-shawnt%C3%A1-johns-long-beach-2
- Other: https://www.vagaro.com/byshawntajohns
Photographers: Aneta Coufalova, Steph Flower, Jose Fidelanderos, Shahed Mohseni, Adrian Ong; Makeup Artists: Thirati Kay, Desiree Mojica, Myesha Taylor; Models: Arame Fall, Flaviyake, Lourvey Bourdan, Mary Kolende