Loving Locks Empowers Natural Beauty

An outside view of LovingLocks.
Loving Locks exterior. Photo from @lovinglocks08 on instagram.

Loving Locks in Plymouth stands out as a community-focused hub for individuals seeking to embrace their natural hair through Sisterlocks® and other loc services. Founder and owner Janelle Wilson started the business driven by personal necessity and a vision to offer specialized hair care. This dedication recently earned the company the distinction of being named a 2024 Best Small Business by the Michigan Small Business Development Center, a recognition that celebrates its commitment to quality service and education.

Origin and growth

A customer getting a haircut.
Hair services. Photo from @lovinglocks08 on instagram.

Janelle Wilson’s journey into entrepreneurship was spurred by her situation as a single mother and student in need of a flexible income.

“Starting Loving Locks was an answered prayer,” Wilson shares.

She initially planned to balance her budding business with her studies, expecting a gradual client build-up. However, the demand for her services quickly outpaced her expectations. “The clientele grew faster than I could finish school,” she recalls, leading her to eventually focus solely on her business after the COVID-19 pandemic. This strategic shift allowed her to fully dedicate herself to her growing client base and their needs.

Community services

Loving Locks is known for its comprehensive range of services, which includes not only traditional loc maintenance but also classes, private suite rentals, and mentorship for emerging stylists.

Wilson identified a need within her community for supportive pathways for beauty professionals starting on their own.

“The space share chair rental provides a place for individuals starting their own businesses to build their clientele one person at a time,” she explains, emphasizing the entrepreneurial spirit she fosters at Loving Locks.

Mentorship and guidance

A person posing for a picture.
Janelle Wilson. Photo from @lovinglocks08 on Instagram.

Mentorship forms a core part of the business, inspired by Wilson’s own experiences receiving crucial advice during her early days. She credits her mentor and SBDC Advisor, Ms. Rita Hillman, with helping guide her business to success. “Ms. Hillman gave me hard-to-hear advice, which I followed,” Wilson notes, underscoring the importance of honest and effective mentorship, which she now extends to her own mentees.

Adaptability and future plans

During the challenging times of the pandemic, Loving Locks adapted to help clients maintain their hair at home.

“We implemented providing online classes, mentorship, and one-on-one coaching in addition to the in-person class sessions which I like to say made us COVID-proof,” Wilson states. This flexibility helped them continue operations when many similar businesses struggled to stay open.

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Looking ahead, Wilson plans to expand. “In the coming years, Loving Locks has our sights on enlarging our space with a larger classroom, more space share chairs available, more suites, and new classes,” she reveals, showing her commitment to growth and community service.

Community impact

At Loving Locks, the mission extends beyond just providing hair services; it’s about cultivating a community.

“We celebrate and nurture the beauty of natural hair while fostering a supportive and inclusive community for people with tightly textured hair,” Janelle Wilson emphasizes, encapsulating her business philosophy. This commitment is about “Empowering Natural Beauty through Education, Innovation, and Community.”

The personal impact of their work is vividly illustrated by heartfelt testimonials from clients who have experienced significant changes in their lives through their interactions with Loving Locks.

A notable example comes from Ann B., who expressed deep gratitude in her review: “Janelle is truly amazing and professional!…Her actions showed that she truly cared about me and my situation. Thank you, Janelle,” she shared, highlighting how Loving Locks goes beyond typical customer service to make real, positive differences in people’s lives.