This Women’s History Month, StyleSeat is proud to share women’s stories of empowerment in our “Because of Her” series. From our very own CEO and co-founder Melody McCloskey to a selection of Pros from all over the country, all of their narratives share a common thread of overcoming obstacles to become successful businesswomen. And what’s even more inspiring are the women in their lives who helped them along the way. In this blog, StyleSeat Pro Honey Andrade shares her story of becoming who she was destined to be.
We couldn’t imagine a name more fitting for Honey Andrade, especially when you take a look at the StyleSeat Pro’s profile. Every Client who sits in her salon chair leaves with hair that’s, well, laid like honey.
Andrade grew up braiding hair in her Boston, MA neighborhood, and she learned to make money from her skills at a very young age. When she relocated to Atlanta, GA as a teen, a bad salon experience propelled her to seek the education to become a professional hairstylist.
At 20 years old, Andrade was juggling work and parenting two young kids. She recalls the sacrifices made by her single working mom. But her family gave her even more drive and determination to make her dreams a reality. “I’ve never had to miss a parent-teacher conference, a school luncheon, muffins for moms or donuts for dads, and I’m still able to provide for me and them off of my profession. That’s priceless!” she says.
With 13 years of professional experience under her belt, she is now the proud owner of Hair by Honey salon in Georgia’s Gwinnett County. Andrade has used StyleSeat since 2010 to build her business, and has remained loyal to the platform. She explains, “Many more apps were up and coming, but none of them gave me the professionalism and the assistance that I needed. I’ve always felt like StyleSeat was my assistant. StyleSeat has had my back the entire time! Making it possible for my clients to love the fact that I get them in and out without them feeling rushed or incomplete.”
Andrade’s goal of retiring at a young age may seem impossible to most people, however, she’s firm about building a legacy that will allow her to enjoy the fruits of her labor. She’s also focused on the meaningful relationships she’s established since moving to Georgia and losing her mother.
She says, “I’ve realized how much family I have made, how many lives I’ve touched, and how many lives have touched mine. I’ve done weddings, baby showers… I’ve been invited as special guest. I’ve walked in rooms I never would have imagined hair could take me. In every one of those instances, there were always compliments from strangers about how much my clients adore me, why they have to get in my chair, or why they want to send their daughters or sons to sit in my chair. I realized that this is so much bigger than hair. I’ve become the person that I’ve always wished that I had growing up.”
Keep reading to find out more about StyleSeat Pro’s Honey Andrade journey as a stylist, the women who inspire her, and how she prioritizes self-care for herself and others.
On getting bit by the “entrepreneurial bug” at a very young age…
Since I was a toddler growing up in Boston, my mom braided all the little girls in the neighborhood’s hair. My hair stayed in braids. I learned how to braid at the age of 8 and was making money braiding hair starting at the age of 10 on my front stoop. By 12, I was buying my own school clothes — it literally was my thing and I didn’t even know it.
If you would have asked me what I wanted to be at that age, I would have told you a veterinarian. I was adamant about that all through high school. I had plenty other hobbies that took up a lot of my time. I even professionally danced for celebrities as a teenager, but there was never a time that I believed hair would be my profession until [my] junior prom day.
I had just moved to Georgia that school year and my mom took me to a local hairstylist to get my hair done professionally. It took the stylist four hours to do a simple style and when it was done, I absolutely hated it. I ran home, washed my hair, did it myself for prom, and I never took that chance again. That was the moment that I realized I was on to something. So I got an assistant job at a hair salon and I worked my senior year while I homeschooled myself. At the end of that year, I got pregnant with my first son! There was no looking back. This was going to be how I provided for my family. I was good at it, I was trained very well, and hair school was a breeze because I was already working in a shop.
On learning the foundation of being a top Pro…
I think that working in a salon [at a young age] with so many old-school stylists, there were things that were just mandatory when it came to customer service, respect for clients, and how to present yourself in that work environment. A lot has changed since then and I may not be the best stylist… actually I’m sure I’m not… but you can never lose with great customer service.
I’ve built relationships with my clients. I honestly pick and choose my clients after their initial visit. I’m an energy type of person. I’ve never once wanted to feel like I was at work, and out of 13 years I can count on my hands how many times [I] actually did feel like I was working. All because of the positive energy created between the client and I during their specific appointment time.
I would say that a lot of my business and how I run it is old-school — from the services to what comes with a simple silk press. I have people that call and ask me if the shampoo and conditioner is included, as if that should ever be a “thing.” So I guess I’m old-school at 31!
On “doing it all” but making time for self-care, too…
With everything that’s going on in the world, pressure has been extremely heavy wanting to genuinely care for clients in this time of need without being able to have that close contact. Just that “break away” on their day is truly a break away in my day. So the lack of those encounters and appointments has left a lot of us stifled.
When the world was shutdown, I realized how many essential workers, first responders, medical professionals, 911 operators, police officers, and teachers I had on my roster. Some still had to risk themselves on a day-to-day basis and didn’t get a break. They had to take the world head on when everyone was scared to even leave the house. At that point, I realized how essential of a worker I was in their lives. They still needed me! Sometimes masking all the way up and doing hair in my home for them. As much as that sounds stressful, it was therapeutic. Between my solid two days off that I take time for me and my family, I’ve been able to have fellowship with clients that I’ve made family.
On building long-lasting relationships with her Clients…
I sit back and I think often about how some of my clients started coming to me in elementary school, not even realizing I wasn’t too much older than them. Now some are in their last years of college or pre-med, some have children, and some are starting their lives. I’ve watched so many young girls and boys grow into amazing adults. I always feel so honored when they come back because I always wished I had a me when I was growing up.
So when I get a chance to talk to these girls and guys and get into their heads, I really try to leave a lasting impression that makes them comfortable enough to feel like they have someone outside of their immediate circle. I always feel great working with youth because it wasn’t too long ago that I was there going through the same things that they were going through, looking for answers.
With my older clients, I’m always timid the first time because I am so young. When I get the follow-up appointment, I know that it was half me doing a great job and the other half was them enjoying my vibe and trusting me with their hair. That’s honorable!
On her late mother being her biggest supporter…
When I didn’t have clients at all in a whole week, my mother was in my chair. My mom had beautiful hair that she never needed to get done. [But] she paid me like any other client. So even in her absence, she is my biggest push.
Along the way, I’ve had so many clients “mother me” and love me and my children like their own. It’s been many women with wisdom speaking life into me, pushing me in her absence unknowingly.
On how she hopes to positively impact her Clients…
I know that I’m not everyone’s “cup of tea.” I’m a strong, little firecracker at just 4’11” — I have strong beliefs in women and the power that we have. I have a strong past of trying to figure it out. But my clients, no matter how different they all seem, are exactly the same. Tough! I want them to feel at home every single time they sit in my chair. I want them to feel safe, secure, relaxed, and impressed.
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