Photo: Mary Lewandowski| MLive.com
For 6 years Aisha Gatlin kept running into a very frustrating problem in her beauty salon business — she couldn’t find stylists who knew how to work with Black hair. That’s a problem. As Michigan Live reported, Gatlin decided to open her own cosmetology school, in order to solve the problem. The Beautiful Luxe School of Cosmetology opened October 6th at Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor.
The beauty industry employs roughly 1.2 million people and all of them must have formal training to enter the field. Unlike traditional college degrees, beauty schools offer a fast track to career earnings, with programs that can typically be completed in less than a year. Still, that year will generally still cost well over $10,000 a head. That means every year beauty schools across the country, collectively, are taking in millions of dollars. Not only are beauty schools taking in millions but, as Gatlin continually discovered, they are not properly preparing stylists to cater to Black customers. Aisha didn’t stage a protest, she opened a school of her own.
Gatlin’s school is offering a program for $15,000, which trains students on hair, nail and skin care. According to Michigan Live, Gatlin is currently offering $2,500 scholarships and also hopes to connect students to additional financial aid opportunities in the future. According to Gatlin, the school can enroll a new cohort every three months. Not only has Aisha found a way to solve the issue of finding and cultivating talent but in doing so, is getting her share of the millions that are spent annually in tuition at beauty schools. Aisha Gatlin is most certainly deserving of a salute for her business acumen and courage.