In the fall of 2015, Shawnize Burns made a decision to use her hairstyling talent to help others feel good about themselves and save money while doing it. 

In that moment she was excited, anxious and fearful of how to get started. At the age of 18, Burns knew that styling hair for others would afford her the opportunity to make extra money while in college, but she also learned that her talent would help college students save money, look and feel good.

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Goddess box braids on a client by Shawnize Burns. Courtesy of @shawnzyb.hair on Instagram. 

Now, five years later, Burns has a degree in childhood development and is a popular student hair stylist. While she takes appointments throughout the entire seven-day week, Burns is a dedicated hair stylist who still hopes to become licensed one day. 

“I am in the process of applying to cosmetology school to further my passion,” she said.

 Following nearly 10 years of practice styling her own hair, along with that of some close family members, Burns took inventory of her college classmates complaining about the cost of travel time and money for going to a salon to get their hair done for special occasions and even just regular maintenance for healthy hair. She decided to get organized by buying the necessary items to do the different styles and textures of hair, a styling chair and an everyday planner to share her talent and passion for styling and caring for hair with her classmates. 

During the time before she opened for business, Burns was a freshman in college. When she started her hair care business, she knew she wanted to continue her education and was determined to make enough money to put herself through school.

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Medium box braids on a client by Shawnize Burns. Courtesy of @shawnzyb.hair on Instagram. 

 “It was really hard being a full-time college student and entrepreneur,” Burn said. “I had to plan pretty much everything in advance — even something as simple as hanging out with my friends.” 

In the beginning, it was just about scheduling appointments around her class and study times. Burns said that hard work and sacrifice go into making her schedule work. 

“But to me, it was all worth it when I saw my vision help others to be a success,” she said. 

 A typical day for Burns begins with her planning out every detail down to the minute so she can get all of her tasks done. She makes it look easy, but she said it can take a toll on her and sometimes struggles with meeting the needs of her clients’ — whether traveling to them or making space in her day and apartment for the clients who come to her.

Ti’Andrea Fields, one of Burns’ clients, said she couldn’t imagine what she would do without her. 

“Although this was the first time she has done my hair, I will definitely be going  back to her because I love how it turned out,” she said. “She’s also very affordable and professional and that is something you can’t find, even in someone who has done this for years.”

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Pride month inspired knotless box braids on a client by Shawnize Burns. Courtesy of @shawnzyb.hair on Instagram. 

“Seeing the looks on my client’s faces after I do their hair makes me so happy and all my sacrifices all worth it. It makes me go even harder to accomplish my goals, just knowing that you helped someone feel pretty and confident is the best feeling in the world. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

“She is just so amazing,” Anece Smith, Burns’ best friend, said. “Watching her do what she loves and watching her clients love what she does is so awesome to me. I don’t let anybody else do my hair either.” 

To book an appointment, go to Burns’ Instagram page, @Shawzyb.hair, and click the link in her bio.  

Contact Ciana White at cwhite92@kent.edu.

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