In the heart of Med City there is a haven for hair. Meet Shade Jordan, a visionary entrepreneur and the proud owner of Cashmere Lux, a cutting-edge hair salon that has become synonymous with beauty, diversity and empowerment. But her story doesn’t end there; Shade’s passion for hair care led her to create a line of innovative hair products that have been a game-changer for women of all shades and textures. As we step into her world, we are about to embark on a journey that celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship and the magic that happens when a Black woman follows her dreams and revolutionizes the beauty industry.
Q: Can you tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur? What motivated you to start your own hair salon and later create your own hair care line?
A: My journey has not been easy because I didn’t have a mentor that was experienced in the field I’m in. I found myself educating myself and traveling to network with like-minded people. I graduated cosmetology school in the 90s and worked for good salons to elevate my skills. I’ve always been devoted to any salon I worked for, but when I was fired in 2013, that woke up my entrepreneurial side to hire myself. I’ve always wanted to create my own product line. In the past I’d sold other companies’ hair care lines and was good at it. While obtaining my MBA, I took formulation classes. It didn’t come easy. I had to figure out where to start. From branding, logos, bottling and machinery to finding a mass distribution took time, but I kept pushing.
Q: Owning Cashmere Lux, an established hair salon, and launching a hair care line are both significant accomplishments. What were some of the challenges you faced along the way, and how did you overcome them?
A: The most significant challenge I faced opening Cashmere Lux hair salon was financial funding. I bootlegged my business from the beginning. Another challenge was the community trusting me with their hair care needs. I had to build my clientele to where it is now, booked out three weeks in advance. I overcame it by showing up. I promoted myself and was consistent. Having a good work ethic pays off at the end of the day.
Q: The beauty industry can be highly competitive. What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs, particularly Black women, who are looking to enter this field?
A: The beauty industry is competitive. First and foremost, get your cosmetology license or haircare braiding certification. Being knowledgeable in trichology will make you more respected by your clients and community. Find a mentor or coach in your field that can lead you down the right path. In my mentorship program, my mentees have learned book knowledge, hands-on styling and operation of a successful business. I love helping elevate others.
Q: Your hair care line is now available in Hy-Vee stores. What are your future expansion plans, and how do you envision your brand growing in the coming years?
A: When I created the Cashmere Lux clean beauty line, I wanted to be exclusive to my salon. As my clients started moving to other states, and they wanted my products, I started shipping to them. Yes, our products are available across the Midwest in select Hy-Vee stores in hopes to be in almost all 200 stores. We plan on being on Walmart online. God has led me this far, and I believe he will lead me globally. I envision creating jobs for my community in the near future.
Q: As a successful entrepreneur, you must have faced times of doubt or setbacks. How do you stay motivated and maintain a positive mindset during challenging times?
A: I’ve had many setbacks and failures in my life that some cannot come back from. I know it’s the love in my heart and that I find refuge in God that keeps my mindset strong. Even in my weakest times, encouraging others has helped me. My motto is “keep grinding.”
Q: Your story of growth and change is inspiring to others, especially to aspiring entrepreneurs from underrepresented backgrounds. How do you give back to your community and support other women in their entrepreneurial journeys?
A: My servitude to the community pretty much started with my husband (Gilbert) wanting to go into the middle schools and universities to cut students’ hair for free. I realized this positively impacted good mental health.
Q: Finally, what legacy do you hope to leave behind as a Black woman entrepreneur in the beauty industry?
A: The legacy I’d like to leave behind when people hear my name is that I didn’t let my past shape the future me. All the trials and tribulations built my character to be a good person. Build your brand on integrity.
In this powerful interview, Shade has not only shared her entrepreneurial journey but also left us with a profound sense of hope and determination. We celebrate her achievements and are inspired by her relentless pursuit of excellence. As we wrap up this conversation, we carry with us the reminder that the power to create change and shape our destinies lies within each of us, regardless of our background or circumstances.
May her story serve as a catalyst for change, encouraging more individuals to embark on their entrepreneurial journeys fearlessly and with the knowledge that, like this extraordinary woman, they too can make a lasting impact on the world. ::