- August 30, 2021
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Lenise Robinson with Parlour hair salon
Title: Owner of Parlour, a multicultural hair salon on Hull Street in the Manchester area of South Richmond
Born: July 1978 in Trenton, N.J.
Education: Empire Beauty School, 2006-2008
Career: stylist, Image Enhancement Center, 2008-13; co-owner/stylist, Canvas the Salon, 2013-16; brand ambassador, Adiva Naturals, 2016-19; owner, Parlour, 2016-present; Mizani texture artist/educator, L’Oreal, 2020-present
Where in the metro area do you live?: Chesterfield County
Best business decision: “My best business decision was putting myself on payroll and hiring an accountant to help me understand the implications of the different tax entities available for my business.”
Worst business decision: “Jumping into a business partnership without proper legal guidance.”
Mistake you learned the most from: “I came into the beauty industry from a plush corporate job, with a nice savings, so I didn’t hustle to build my clientele and my brand as much as I should have. As a result, I faced foreclosure, but that propelled me into grind mode. I brainstormed to come up with creative ways to increase brand recognition, and got busy working, and the business began to flourish.”
What is the biggest challenge/opportunity in the next two to five years: “Solidifying my path to retirement, and making sure I can work because I want to, not because I have to.”
First job after college: “My first job after cosmetology school was in my kitchen. I was still working a full-time corporate job and hadn’t landed a salon job yet, but I still wanted to do what I loved until I did.”
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently: “I would have not allowed fear to cripple me for so long, and left the corporate world much sooner than 35.”
Movie or book that inspired you the most, and why?: “I don’t know that there’s a movie or book that has inspired me more than the women with whom I engage every day in my chair, my inner circle, and just Black women in general who go out and do meaningful work in their respective fields. They push through the expectations and the microaggressions and show up in excellence, and that has always inspired a sense of fearlessness in me.”
Favorite and least favorite subject in school: “Favorite: math — I’m a problem solver and critical thinker, and math allowed me to do both. Least favorite: science, which is ironic because part of being a great stylist is understanding the science of it. Maybe I just needed to learn the science of hair in school so I’d be interested.”
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Lenise Robinson with Parlour hair salon
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