When Jessica Amos reflects on her career, she’s reminded of the saying, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” For the owner of Hair Studio 52 and The Salon Professional Academy, she’s found this to be true: When you love your job, your employees and your industry, you experience a joy that makes even a difficult day at work easier. Amos is on a mission to empower more men and women to join the field of cosmetology and realize the life-changing opportunities the industry offers.
In high school, Amos was discouraged from the (cosmetology) field by a high school counselor, an interaction she’s now realizing is common for young men and women who consider cosmetology as a career. She was initially thinking of becoming a math or science teacher, but decided to follow her heart instead.
“One day, I realized I didn’t need to follow what other people were telling me to do,” Amos says. “I loved my job, God gave me the talent to do it and it’s a blast. How many people can say their job makes them that happy?” Today, Amos has not only built a flourishing career as a stylist, but she purchased Hair Studio 52 in 2000, and The Salon Professional Academy in 2016, creating an exciting opportunity as an entrepreneur.
While the stylist-turned-entrepreneur says her story is equal parts luck and hard work, she says it is mentorship that played a vital role in transforming her into the business owner and stylist she is today.
“One of my first supervisors, Sally McGovern, equipped me with so much knowledge early on in my career. She was pivotal,” says Amos. “What she gave me then allowed me to grow, and pay it forward to young stylists today.”
After being given the gift of mentorship herself, Amos has established the same standard in her workplace. Today, she invests in her employees and inspires them to reach their full potential, ultimately leading stylists to experience a career with high earning potential and the respect of peers, family members and clients.
“This industry is all about customer service, including both the customers we serve and our staff,” she says. “We have to work hard to maintain our culture and standards while delivering a great experience to our customers. Sometimes, this requires coachable moments and constructive criticism to help our staff grow and learn.”
Though there may be difficult moments on the job, Amos says the positive far outweighs the negative, especially when a meaningful bond is made with a client.
“In this field, we often become an extension of a client’s family,” she says. “You’ll have people who confide in you and cry in your chair, because they trust you. They know we care for them, and they care for us in return.”
Equipping the next generation
Beyond creating a culture of mentorship and empowerment at Hair Studio 52, Amos is now leading The Salon Professional Academy alongside her business partner, Monica “Frankie” Soto. She shares that extending her expertise to educate the next generation felt natural—especially since she has so much passion for the future of this field.
“You can do so much with this education,” she says. “You can go into education, sales, management, fashion and so many other avenues with incredible growth opportunities.”
Making it her mission to advocate for the industry she loves so dearly, she offers a final, important reminder to anyone considering cosmetology as a career. “You have to have passion,” Amos shares. “You need to work hard and have good work ethic too, but it’s passion that gets you through the dark days.”
Tori Utley is a Rochester-area writer and entrepreneur.