The place where she started is very much the same place she is now: in a manner of speaking that is.
Kathy-Ann Payne first tried her hand at hair braiding at age 14. Her place for experimenting was at school during the lunch period or any other downtime. Now, school and students still form a major part of her business.
This past back to school weekend the mother of two was busy from early morning till late night braiding hair of both primary and secondary students.
Last weekend she did about nine heads in one day.
“My busiest times are Crop Over and back to school. They are really crazy times as I try my hardest to accommodate everyone,” she said.
While admitting that there are way more fashionable styles and pride taken by students now in the way they look, the 32-year-old said she loves what she does and always strives to better the last job.
“I love what I do, that’s the truth. I like that when I am finished the person is satisfied. I go to YouTube and try to find new and different styles. The children and teens are just as stylish or more than adults. That is today’s reality… So my goal is to keep up with the changing times…”
She credits her sister Linda for teaching her the craft. Kathy-Ann says her personal standard is striving for total customer satisfaction.
“I take my time and perfect my art. I access the hair and do it to suit the texture etc… There are some styles I will complete faster than others but I am about delivering a quality service.”
But for the past 18 years, she has not done any heavy advertising either in the traditional media or social media.
“People call and say I see someone’s hair you do and I really like it. My business is where it is at because of my loyal and satisfied clients. There are people who see the end product and fall completely in love with it.”
Of great advantage to Kathy- Ann is her willingness to go to her clients wherever they are.
“When people hear that I am willing to come by them they absolutely love that. I am where I am today because of the convenience of the service I offer. My prices don’t change whether I come to you or you to me….”
The former Parkinson student said some parents are just too busy while others just can’t braid. She said her service is no different from laundry service, a nanny service or people who pick up students and take them to and from school.
“The world is changing so we have to change with it. We all have to adapt…,” she said.
Her client base is diverse since she has quite a few elderly clients as well. This is where her home delivery service is utilized the most.
Over the years, Kathy-Ann says, she has been offered opportunities to work at numerous salons for others. But that was not where she wants her journey to go. She does have plans to have her own salon in the very near future, but even when that happens she would still work out a schedule where she can be mobile.
“I was offered positions to work at salons but I always prefer to do it from at home or I would accommodate people and do it in the comfort of their homes.
She continued: “With my own salon I want to be able to offer people the luxury of getting their hair wash and treated in one location. I will make a way for my elderly clients who are a bit immobile. They won’t be left out. I cannot forget my day one and loyal customers even though I want my business to grow…”
But it has not all been smooth sailing for Kathy-Ann. A severe health challenge forced her to stop braiding for about two years.
“My thyroids first start to affect me when I was 18 but I had no clue what it was at that time. I was only diagnosed when I was 22. Then I was placed on strong dosages of medication.
“By this time it was affecting my heart. My heart would race a lot all the time. But the medication which was supposed to regulate made me sleepy and tired. Most days I felt like doing absolutely nothing…. It was a struggle…,” she said explained.
Her advice to those seeking a career in braiding is simple.
“Find your own uniqueness. There has to be something that separates you from the other hair braider. You must know each customer’s hair and you must know exactly what you are going to do with it cause people want quality.
“If you the person has a quality hair that doesn’t fit the style they want you to have to speak up. Be honest and upfront simply tell them… Offer some extra services as well. I freshen up around the edges and I also do dry shampoo washes,” she said.
Kathy-Ann’s other passion is designing clothing, something she has tried her hand at but hasn’t followed through on.
“I went to my cousin, who is a professional tailor, for a few lessons but hasn’t gone back since. However, it remains one of my passions. I also love housekeeping and do a great job of that as well. I consider myself to have gifted hands…”
But when all is said and done, when all the customers, young and old are satisfied and she enjoys her moments of pride for a job well done, the mother of two says the task of rearing two young minds remains her greatest accomplishment.
“Reanna and Rekiah are my most prized possessions. I am blessed to have given birth to two daughters who are way smarter than I when I was there age. I am big on the family because that is the way we were raised in an extended family.
“Our matriarch, my grandmother, Verona Richards pulls us all together. She is a God-fearing woman. I am forever indebted to my mother Almynde Herbert for all she has done for me and my sister Linda as well.
“I cannot forget my partner and the father of my children Chakia Yearwood who has stuck by my side all these years through thick and thin. He is always encouraging me to be the best version of myself…,” Kathy-Ann said. (IMC)
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