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Ahlore Hair Design Studio

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Felicia owner of Ahlore Design Studio was born and raised in Jamaica. Felicia moved to the United States in pursuit of a better opportunity for her family. She moved to Texas and New York obtaining a job in the corporate world while doing hair as a side job. Felicia then moved  to Pennsylvania starting her business as a hair stylist in East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania. With a blessing in disguise Ahlore Hair Design Studio was born. Here is her story.

What made you want to become a business owner?

In Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, there are excellent opportunities and I thought about doing hair one day, but I didn’t essentially see my dream until a lady decided to give me an opportunity. She saw me in herself and after talking with her and having a great connection we eventually met. She wanted to see if I would like to be in this type of business. She told me that “this is a gift.” I did not see that coming I just kept thinking that I was going to work and build my clientele and go on from there. My dad encouraged me to build first and then open up a shop but when the lady offered me this opportunity I jumped at it. And to be honest I did not have much money I had maybe less than a hundred dollars in my account. This is going from making fifty thousand dollars to having a mortgage and a car note and raising a child. So, there wasn’t much money left over. So, when I approached my father for help, I had to explain to him the reasons why I wanted to start this business. As a result, I had taken my jewelry and sold it and had enough money to start. 

When did you start your business?  And have you done any hair shows?

This September makes five years, I said this shop will be my birthday gift and it was. As far as hair shows people ask me all the time but my answer would be no because I am a perfectionist. When doing hair, I want every strand in place and at hair shows they work a lot with speed and I want my cuts to be precise, I want my weaves to lay in place and I want the same for my customers that I would want for myself. I don’t want my client to walk out of their with a hairstyle when I’m done and can manage it or it last long. I don’t want tracks falling out, I don’t want them to go to someone else to get it fixed, I don’t want anything like that. If I did a hair show it wouldn’t allow me to do my work up to my standards it would frustrate me. 

Besides Ahlore Design Studio what else is that you do personal or business wise?

My father always said It wasn't necessary to work two jobs and as a single mom sometimes you have to. I never had to because I had support from my family. I don’t do anything else outside my business because this is my life and I enjoy it. I get to meet all types of people from different areas. They talk to me about their problems and I get to educate young women who are going through issues. But aside from that I am a mom. 

" If this is your passion you have to eat, breathe and shit hair"

What advice would you give someone that would like to start their own business?

I am giving them the same advice my dad gave me. To jump into a business that you have no idea about is going to take you longer but doesn’t mean you won’t get to your goal. If this is your passion, you have to eat sleep shit hair. You will know when it is something that you love when you think about new creative styles all the time, when you do someone’s hair and knew you could have done better and you try something else. When you can see the persons face and know what would look good on them and make them smile. Sometimes in this business you give up more than you get. But first and foremost, get your license you will learn your ground work in the schools but once you get into a salon you will learn the fundamentals of hair. Choose a salon that you can get to on time, one that is in a appropriate area, select a person that has a good relationship with the community and you have to be a people person. Once you build up enough clientele it has to be a steady flow of people because those people are the ones that is going to keep your lights and money in your pocket once you have that then open up a business. 

What is Ahlore hair design studio and how did you come up with the name?

So, I sat down with my sister, and she came up with a lot of names and they were to ghetto for me. She came up with names like weave house, house of weaves and a lot of other crazy names. So, what I decided to make a name that sounds like another name but spell it in a different way. So, I told her I wanted to name is Ahlore and she said, “That’s Stank”. I told her I wanted to allure people in, but I am going to spell it in a different way. I spelled it A.H.L.O.R.E., it has no meaning and I have never looked it up or anything like that. I dreamt about it and thought about it and said that was the name I was going to go with. Everyone began to like the name, but the only problem was everyone thought it was a Caucasian salon instead of a black salon. With this salon I wanted to attract people that have problems with their hair and help bring the styles they like to life. Also making sure that this was the right location for my business. 

How do you wish to inspire young people?

Everyone undergoes trials and if I can reach one young person then I did a good job. Believe it or not there are some young women out their going through the issues that I went through. I did a pro bono and a young lady who was going through something, I told her to come in and get a makeover. So, I took the young lady who was not in good spirits and changed her hair and did her makeup. Sometimes when we go through an issue we change our hair thinking that the outside would make us feel better and sometimes it does. And then I had to explain to her just because I changed the outside doesn’t mean you will feel good all the time you still have to restore the inside. So, it makes me feel good knowing I can help someone. 

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