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SOUTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV) — In less than a month, a local 19-year-old entrepreneur is taking the leap into the small business world, all while setting an example for young girls.
Kaniya Slusher, 19, opened Major Beauty House salon in Dogtown on Nov. 1. The salon focuses on eye brow tinting and eyelash extensions, and Slusher said she plans to expand services down the road.
“I’m happy it’s not going how I thought it would, because it’s even better,” she said.
Part of her motivation stems from a troubled upbringing, where she often lived in various places due to her parents’ substance abuse. After deciding she wanted more for herself, she found a love for eyebrow and eyelash work thanks to a family member. Soon after, the next step was figuring out what it took to open a business.
“I didn’t have that family push that people would automatically assume that I have,” she said. “But I think that’s okay, I did it on my own and I would encourage others to do the same. You don’t have to let your current circumstances define what you do or how you do it.”
In October, she leased a space for the salon on Tamm Avenue in Dogtown. A month later, she opened her doors.
“My business arrived to me by being able to do what I love to do everyday,” she said. “So I don’t like to say I’m a small business owner, or I’m a boss, or this is how I got here. I just like to say I’m living my life and I’m doing what I love everyday.”
Slusher employs nine people and said their goal as a salon is to increase diversity in their clientele and in the area.
“We feel welcome here, but I want people to feel comfortable coming in here as well,” she said. “We want people to know we can work with different skin types and don’t want people to be self-conscious and afraid to come in.”
In addition to running her business, Slusher inadvertently found herself in the role of mentor.
Aspiring entrepreneur Reginae Jackson, 11, saw the salon on social media and made a point to meet Slusher. She said she sells accessories and purses after getting her business license when she was 10.
“We both want to go somewhere in life, we both live in St. Louis, we’re both trying to make a business out of something and we’re both just young ladies,” Jackson said.
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