Imagine a Salon that Works on Your Hair and Your Mind
By Shavantay Minnis
Haircuts and chit-chat go hand-in-hand when sitting in a chair at a barbershop or beauty salon. But what if that heart-to-heart talk was with a licensed therapist?
That’s just what Lashawn Harris and Lisa McMiller-Harris had in mind three years ago when they opened Upper Cutz Barbershop and Salon in Delray Beach Fla.
Aside from offering haircuts and treatments for both men and women, the couple also highlight Cutz and Conversations, a monthly gathering with a therapist that promotes healthy discussions around mental health and depression.
The idea for Cutz and Conversations had always been a dream for the couple, but the reality of working for, “yet another barbershop that closed its doors all too soon,” kickstarted the couple of cosmetologists into a search for property and business assistance to create a company that would combine their passions of hair and good mental health.
That search led them to lead consultant Jacqueline Ramirez of the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).
“Jacqueline was amazing, she played a major role in helping us secure the building, creating a financial plan and secure the funds that we needed to be able to run our business,” McMiller-Harris said.
Soon after the business opened, Upper Cutz Barbershop and Salon took their conversations with a therapist on the road, promoting mental health awareness in other small businesses, including FAU’s New Era Barbershop on campus.
And, even with the pandemic in the mix, the couple says they are confident for the future of cutting hair and promoting mental health. So, while the discussions have gone virtual, their business is still open for cuts and they are safely waiting the opportunity for their community to gather again.
“This is our first business,” McMiller-Harris said. “So, we know that having someone like Jackie and the SBDC at FAU on our team is crucial to our success.”