Beauty school owner has passion for natural hair care
By Puakea Olaisha Anderson
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — Shelia Everette-Hale has been styling hair since 1978. The Detroit resident opened Everette’s Natural Hair and Beauty School in downtown Detroit in 2000. At 60, the president and educational director of Everette’s dedicates her training to the women in her family.
Hale, the oldest of four, says her sisters were her first clients and that is where she learned how to provide natural hair services.
She migrated to California from Kansas as a child and received her first job as a braider. “A friend told me that her sister was looking for somebody who can braid. I made $100 my first week for a day’s work,” Hale told the Michigan Citizen. Hale says at the time she was working at a law firm as a secretary making $200 a week.
She realized braiding could possibly be more profitable. She took on another client.
“I said to myself, ‘If I make $100 this week, I am going to quit from the law firm,’” Hale said.
The following week when Hale went back to the salon she made $107 off that one client.
She knew then that “doing hair” is exactly what she wanted to do.
Hale, who moved to Detroit in 1974, says pride in natural hair care began in Detroit during the late ‘70s. However, there was no legislation to support natural hair care. Hale and colleagues then learned to work around inspectors, she says.
According to Hale, shops were being closed down because, at the time, the state did not support having natural hair services in salons.
Hale was solely interested in natural hair care and not cosmetology. Besides, obtaining a cosmetology license required 1,500 hours to complete and cosmetologists used chemicals when performing services. Hale thought it would be a waste of time to get a cosmetology license because it did not include natural hair.
She eventually obtained her cosmetology license in Michigan in 1995. Hale and friends, with the assistance of Taalib-Dine Uqdah, went to the state board to see if something could be done about allowing natural hair care services in salons. In 1997, then Gov. John Engler signed a bill that separated natural hair care from cosmetology. She opened Everette’s three years later.
Hale says she teaches holistic living at Everette’s.
“It’s all about the health of a person,” says Hale. “I like empowering these women and some men to take care of their families financially, run their own business and to set their own schedule.”
Everette’s program is 400 hours and students learn natural hair, health, beauty, business and history. Tuition is affordable.
For more information, Sheila Everette-Hale can be reached at 313.355.0352.