By Amanda Hodges, Caswell County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director – The Caswell Messenger

On a Sunday afternoon, an appointment was made by Sista’s Touch Salon owner, Pennie Allen, me (Amanda Hodges), and two of Pennie’s newest team members, Anisha Hawley and Jazmere Mims.

The purpose of the meeting was to visit with these two new graduates from Piedmont Community College having recently completed their cosmetology program certificates to interview for this short article. It was a great way to spend some time on a Sunday afternoon as these two young professionals left me with a very positive outlook on the youth in our community.

These young ladies, no strangers to already working hard, are, at the present, gainfully employed at other part time jobs – one at McDonald’s and the other at CVS, but are beginning a big adventure into the world of being hair stylists too.

It was not your typical course of study as the two young ladies began the program and stuck with it through the COVID situation. We talked about how some classes just do not work via Zoom! Can you imaging trying to learn how to style hair without being hands on? Wow! Have our students had to endure some challenging times with online learning.

Aside from discussing the challenge of reaching the end goal of the program completion, we had a great conversation about how important it is to learn about your customers and how to provide the best possible service to them. It was very refreshing to see these young ladies so poised and professional as they shared how they became interested in this profession and how family members and friends are such a big part of their decision. Jazmere shared how both her mother and sister had been encouraging her to move forward with the training as they had experience in the industry. Anisha had initially thought she wanted to venture into the medical assistance field or criminal justice, but decided this was a better fit.

Assisting someone with their hair style and personal appearance is no light matter. Being able to communicate with the customer and deliver a style they are happy with is very important shared Anisha. It is very personal work, and sometimes things do not always go perfectly. Jazmere shared one instance with a customer wanting faux locs where she had to work carefully with the customer to be sure she understood how to care of the new style.

The ladies have plans for their careers. With the use of technology, they are already using both Facebook and Instagram to showcase their work and to provide an easier way for customer to book appointments with them. Jazmere is hopeful in a year or so she may be able to leave her part time job in food service and be a full-time stylist.

You may remember last year about this time seeing an article about Pennie Allen, the owner of Sista’s Touch Salon as we had a great visit about her new venture in opening the business. Now a year later in the midst of one of the most challenging business times ever, she managed to keep the business running, provided substitute teaching assistance at PCC and still continues to give back. Not only by hiring the youth of the county, but as a member of the nominating committee at the Chamber of Commerce, Pennie is assisting in the Chamber in recruiting new board members to the organization for 2022. Thank you for the dedication of folks like Pennie and the patience of the community as we all help our youth begin their careers and find their passions in the world.

And as a side note, when I was in visiting, to set up the meeting with Pennie’s new team, one of the customers in with her son struck up a conversation with me about living in Caswell. The patron shared how friendly everyone in Caswell is and how pleased she and her family are about their decision to move here from the Raleigh area to a more quiet and friendlier place. It gives you a warm and happy feeling especially during this time of the year when being grateful for all our blessings is appropriate.

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