We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheryl Hambrick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sheryl, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Life is all about taking risks. As the old saying goes, “No risk, no reward.” My business is where it is today because of the risks I’ve taken over the past seven years. Sometimes I think back and say to myself, “Wow, you really just stepped out on a limb and did that!?” In 2014, I was in my fifth year as President and CEO of a successful government contracting business. We had contracts with the Navy and Department of Defense. I was following in my father’s footsteps and he was mentoring me as I learned the tricky world of government contracts. I was young, I was the boss, business was good and I was making good money but I wasn’t happy. I never really felt like I fit in that type of corporate environment. I’ve always known that I was meant to do something creative but I just couldn’t pinpoint what that specific thing was. The stress of not being passionate about my career was weighing heavily on me so much that I decided to walk away from my business after five years. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I just knew that I didn’t want to do that anymore and it was time to figure out what my true calling was. It was a tough decision but very necessary for my happiness and mental health. Initially, I thought that a career in the fashion industry would scratch my itch but after a few months into running an online boutique, it became clear to me that I was still not being fulfilled. I then returned to my original career in social work and while working as a Life Coach at a foster care agency, I began to deeply feel the sadness of not having any direction as to what I wanted to do with my life. I knew that I was not where I was supposed to be. I went to workout out with a friend one day after work and she could sense the stress and inner turmoil that I was experiencing. She asked me what was wrong and I began to tell her about how I was feeling lost and stuck. I was tired of jumping from career to career and I needed to find something that I was passionate about. This amazing friend, who knew I was obsessed with curly hair (I had been wearing my hair natural for two years at the time), suggested that I become a hair stylist that specializes in curly hair. As soon as she said this, it just all made sense. I’ve always had a thing for the beauty industry and had a natural knack for doing hair. As on point and eye opening as her suggestion was, I couldn’t help but to think about what people would say about me jumping to a new career again. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the money spent for me to go to college and grad school to pursue degrees in Psychology. Those thoughts weighed on me heavily. One day, I decided that I was going to just do it. I was going to walk away from a career again and pursue hair styling. I spoke to my parents about it and they were very supportive. That was all of the backing I needed. A few weeks later I started cosmetology school. That first day, holding the shears in my hand, hearing them slice the mannequin doll’s hair and watching the hair fall to the floor, I knew I had made the right decision! Upon graduating, I began working as an assistant at the top curly hair salon in Los Angeles. Everything was great! I was pursuing my passion and learning so much from some extremely talented artists. Three months into me working at the salon, we were informed that the salon would be closing its doors. I would be laid off in a matter of two weeks. I was devastated. I was just getting started and had so much to learn. After the salon closed, I began to search for assistant opportunities but nothing just felt quite right. My former coworkers were going into business for themselves, opening their own salons. One day it just hit me like a lightning bolt…”If they can do it, so can you. Open your own salon!” Crazy, right? Well, I followed that crazy intuition. I found a small suite in West Hollywood, created a professional hair styling page on Instagram and began to post my work from school and training at the previous salon. I figured that people would see my work, like it and would come see me. Well, my planned work. Steadily, my schedule began to fill up until one day I realized people were booking out a month in advance and then two. Social media and word of mouth allowed my business to flourish much greater and faster than I could have ever dreamed of. I am so grateful and happy that I took the risks of leaving a stable career, making a complete career pivot and opening my salon suite. I can’t imagine where I would be without The Curl Suite. My business is my baby. Showing people how to love their natural, beautiful curly hair is my passion and this is all possible because of some pretty risky behavior. I’m currently thinking about what new risks I want to take to propel me forward as I expand my business and possibly take it into a new direction. I would strongly encourage anyone reading this who is contemplating stepping out on faith to pursue something scary and new, to just do it! Your prize is just on the other side of the door.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I create art with hair…curls, specifically. I’m one of a very small collection of curly hair specialists in the Los Angeles area. I love educating clients about proper hair care and encouraging them to love their natural texture. An appointment at The Curl Suite is not just about walking out pretty. I want you to leave feeling confident about how you look and also about how to care for your hair at home. Getting to where I am was actually easier than I thought it would be. I just focused on providing the best service possible and enhancing my clients’ beauty and everything else just fell in line. I have been met with challenges but I try not to focus on them and just take them as lessons and move on. We cannot learn without making mistakes. I’ve learned that you cannot please 100% of the people 100% of the time and that”s okay! I’ve learned that if you do what you love, the money will come. Most importantly, we must continue to learn. Complacency is like poison. Never get too comfortable. Become a master in what you do and it will show in your work. I want the world to know that I absolutely love what I do and I pray everyone finds their passion, as I have.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is easy! We are going to eat! My favorite thing to do is to dine out, whether I’m with friends or alone. I love a restaurant with good vibes, good music and amazing food and drinks. I have a long list of restaurants that I keep and continue to add to. A few of my favorite spots are Mandela, Dama, Delilah, The Rooftop by JG (for it’s amazing views), Ysabel, El Compadre and Republique. We’re most definitely hitting up Fatburger.! I was born and raised in L.A. (westsiiiiiiide!!!!) so I know of a lot of hidden gems too. We would have to go to Taco Mama, a small little taco spot on the east side of L.A. on the same block where my grandmother lived for decades. The week would probably include a nice hike, a trip to the beach or pier and The Grove for some shopping and eating. There’s really so much to do in L.A. but most of the time would be spent eating.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to shoutout my amazing parents, George and Jackie, who have always been supportive of every crazy idea I’ve had. My sister, Sharon and all of my other cousins and family members who pour into me and speak so highly of me to others. My friend, Cassie who encouraged me to become a hair stylist. I would like to shoutout all of my amazing clients who have trusted me with their curls. I appreciate and love you all!