Senior Cierra Mitchum hopes to one day own her own beauty salon or teach cosmetology. At Hutchings College and Career Academy, she can start working toward that dream and gain real-world experience while still in high school.
Bibb County students in Hutchings' cosmetology career pathway will provide services to the public in the new Salon 360, located on the bottom level of the Anthony Road school. The salon offers pedicures, manicures, eyebrow and eyelash services, and haircuts and styling for men and women, all for $30 or less, cosmetology instructor Latonia Walker said. Hair color and waxing may be added in the future.
Salon 360 is closed while schools are on holiday break, but it will be back in business Jan. 10. Hutchings CEO Cassandra Washington said there were a few customers for the grand opening Dec. 14, and a lot of people have been calling to get information and prices, Walker said.
The services are performed by second-year cosmetology students, who completely the cosmetology pathway last year and earned their shampoo technician certification from Central Georgia Technical College, Walker said. They are taking advanced cosmetology and cosmetology licensure and entrepreneurship classes this year and earning college credit.
First-year cosmetology students are being trained as assistants, and they will greet and prep clients before turning them over to the stylists.
"They know when they come through the door, it's all professional," Walker said. "Even if we're in the classroom, we're working. You're working to educate yourself to do better in the service. It has opened up their eyes about what work really is."
The cosmetology students practice on mannequins a lot, and working with actual people takes their training to the next level and helps them develop soft skills, Washington said.
"I think (Salon) 360 will now give that pathway that real-world experience, so that kids are truly graduating college and career ready and they’re ready to go to work," she said. "Sometimes if you are practicing without the real experiences, then you’re not really ready for the real world. That’s why it’s important that every pathway has some connection to that real-world experience.”
Martin, who's home school is Northeast High, said she's excited to gain salon experience, get a feel for the business and learn how to do different hair styles.
Salon 360 teaches students about customer service, critical thinking, professionalism and responsibility and helps them become stronger and more confident, Walker said. The skills they gain will apply to any jobs in their future, and the hands-on experience will rise their resumes to the top.
"They're very talented young ladies, and I'm very proud of them," Walker said. "I think every one of them will have a great career, even if it's not in cosmetology."
To find out more about Salon 360 or make an appointment, call 478-779-3722, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit salon360.setmore.com. The salon opens back up Jan. 10, and hours of operation are 8:15-9:30 a.m. and 12:30-1:45 p.m. Wednesday and Friday and 8:15-9:30 a.m. Thursday. Appointments must be made in advance, and only cash payments are accepted.